Warner’s message isn’t subtle – it tells creators and the public that its 2021 strategy is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic rather than a sign of long-term change. The company faced strong opposition to its plan Dune director Denis Villeneuve and PrincipleChristopher Nolan from, Villeneuve claiming that Warner was ransacking the cinema in the name of supporting HBO Max. A 2023 movie slate won’t satisfy these creators in the short term, but it could keep them from leaving the studio.
It won’t be exciting if you see same-day streaming as a chance for the movie industry to break with an old formula and the grip of movie chains. That said, Warner is also somewhat optimistic about the state of the theaters. Many theaters have been endangered or even closed due to the pandemic, and even AMC has warned it might run out of money. While it’s no surprise that the theater industry is rebuilding itself by 2023, the big screen debut might not be as big as it was before 2020.