Last December, Warner Bros made a shocking announcement—every movie it releases in 2021 will debut on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day. But now the company is ready to confirm things will go back to normal in 2022. Well, almost—Regal will get some timed exclusives along the way.
It really shouldn’t be that shocking to see Warner Bros go back to theaters first and streaming and DVDs second release window. That’s the format that built the movie industry. But some might have hoped for one more year of simultaneous debuts, especially considering HBO Max’s high $15 a month subscription price. Same-day debut for new movies is a compelling selling point.
But while 2021 will see movies launch on the streaming service and theaters simultaneously (only for HBO Max to temporarily lose the film 30 days later), 2022 puts an end to that. Speaking to Recode, Jason Kilar (CEO of Warner Bros) said: “I think it’s very fair to say that a big, you know, let’s say a big DC movie … it’s very fair to say that that would go exclusively to theaters first and then go to somewhere like an HBO Max after it’s in theaters.”
But in a twist, Regal will get first dibs on Warner Bros movies in 2022. That means when The Batman premiers next March, you’ll have to watch in a Regal theater or wait up to 45 days for it to hit your preferred venue.
It’s sad news if you’ve come to prefer catching the latest movie from comfy couches in your home. But all good things must come to an end.