When it was first announced that Warner Brothers would be releasing all their 2021 movies to theaters and to livestreaming on the same day, I said that I thought it was a mistake on their part. I still say that, and I think the guys wearing suits and sitting in offices are starting to realize it, too. Jason Kilar, the CEO of Warner Brothers parent company WarnerMedia, recently lamented how the decision had alienated some of Hollywood’s top directors: “There’s no doubt that it was bumpy back in early December of last year. If I had the chance to do it over again, I think it’s very fair to say that we would have taken a couple more days to see if we could have had even more conversations than we were able to have.”
I expect they’re also regretting the decision on the financial front. (The other is a financial matter, too, or will be if those big name directors choose not to work with the studio anymore.) GODZILLA VS. KONG is a kaiju-sized hit, and that is in spite of it being released during the pandemic and in spite of it being simultaneously available for livestreaming. Doubtless Kilar and the other suits are thinking about all the money they *could* have made from exclusive theatrical releases.
They should have said they’d release all their movies for the first half of the year to theaters and to livestreaming on the same day, then waited to decide about the second half of the year. They jumped the gun. And it’s gonna cost ‘em.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Warner Brothers back off that promised pledge for simultaneous release before the year’s out. If they do, you heard it here first.