Peter Kafka at Recode talked with WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar about the upcoming plan to release movies in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on the same day:
Peter Kafka: Big picture: This is exciting for consumers, and something many of us have wanted to see for a long time. How do you give it to consumers in 2021 and then put the genie back in the bottle after we’ve got a widely distributed vaccine?
Jason Kilar: If I could predict the next 30 days, I could probably give you a better answer of what 13 months from now is going to be like. But when it comes to what we think is the right thing to do, right now […] we’re really happy with it. In terms of beyond 2021, we don’t know. I think your question is very fair, but I don’t have an answer for you, beyond, “We should obviously check in this time next year”.
Peter Kafka: But you are a long-term thinker. And you don’t have to think far out to think about 2022. Should I expect, as a consumer, that I’ll be able to do variations on this going forward?
Jason Kilar: I have no grand pronouncements. I appreciate that you’re in search of one.
They haven’t worked out any actual deals with the theaters yet, so my guess is they’re honestly waiting to see how much control they’re able to exert over the theater owners while the pandemic runs it’s course. If WarnerMedia can convince the theaters that they’re lucky to be getting anything in theaters right now, and the theater owners don’t throw a fit, this could not only continue long term with HBO Max, but Disney+, Peacock, and Paramount+ could get in on the fun, too.