The past year has virtually revolutionized the film industry more than anyone might realize quite yet. Once the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing, movie theaters were forced to shut down for virtually an entire year and countless films were forced to delay production and release dates for months on end. This cost the industry incomprehensible amounts of money as box offices around the globe couldn’t sell tickets and movie studios could not recoup their sizable investments. Thus, the Hollywood executives at the heart of the issue needed to find a new means of distribution that was immune to the virus plaguing the country while also generating some form of revenue as well. They would end up turning their attention to the multitude of digital streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, to distribute new films, and now Warner Brothers has signed an exclusive deal with HBO Max to produce 10 movies for the platform in 2022.
Streaming platforms actually benefited from the pandemic it would seem, as backwards as that may sound. As the vast majority of society was forced to quarantine and limit the spread of COVID-19, many of us turned our attention to these platforms to occupy our, now bountiful, free time. Netflix seemingly produced more original content last year than they ever have before, and several new films were premiered on HBO Max as opposed to theaters. This doesn’t seem like it’s going to change either as Warner Brothers just signed a deal with HBO Max to produce 10 films for the streaming platform next year. They are certainly no strangers to HBO Max either given the fact that they released Wonder Woman: 1984 via the platform last December, putting it on a relatively short list of major studio films to release last year.
As unbelievable as it may sound, movie theaters may be on the verge of becoming obsolete. The pandemic, and subsequent quarantine it inspired, forced society to adapt to a new way of living that they could’ve never expected, yet surprisingly have found comfort in. There are surely a countless number of reasons why this is the case, but, frankly, those reasons are irrelevant. What is relevant to movie studios and Hollywood executives is the demands of consumers, and consumers seemingly, and unsurprisingly, prefer the comfort of their home instead of a movie theater. Only time will tell if this shift is permanent, but this partnership between Warner Brothers and HBO Max will be the first test run of this new system of movie distribution.