When Warner Bros. announced that “Wonder Woman 1984” would land on
the streaming service HBO Max on Christmas, the same time it
debuts in theaters, many expected it to be an isolated experiment
in response to an unprecedented pandemic.
Instead, the studio will deploy a similar release strategy for the
next 12 months. In a surprising break from industry standards,
Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate — a list of films that includes
“The Matrix 4,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” remake, Lin-Manuel
Miranda’s musical adaptation of “In the Heights,” the “Sopranos”
prequel “The Many Saints of Newark” and “The Suicide Squad” — will debut both on HBO Max and in theaters on their respective
release dates. The shocking move to release movies day-and-date
underscores the crisis facing movie theaters and the rising
importance of streaming services in the wake of a global health
crisis that’s decimated the film exhibition community.