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Post #1

Date: February 5, 2021

“Back on November 18, 2020, Warner Bros. announced their tentpole super hero flick WONDER WOMAN 1984 (left) would open simultaneously in America’s movie theaters and on HBO Max (launched last May) on December 25.  A startling decision—totally eliminating any theatrical exclusively which had been a vital distribution component before pandemic considerations.

A stronger and more controversial move was made on December 3.  The entire slate of Warner’s 2021 releases will be made available “day and date” on both viewing options.

It is really difficult to discern who is winning and losing here because the COVID dynamic has been devastating to movie theater operations and film distribution.  But a sincere blow to theaters would be if the Warner distribution pattern becomes the norm beyond 2021 (for them and other major companies).

What should be up for current discussion is the value of the entertainment that Warner Bros. is supplying.  Judging the most recent releases,  the viewing public is the loser—regardless of where they watch it.

WONDER WOMAN 1984 is a below average escapist effort about “dealing with your wishes.”  With the exception of a decent opening sequence, my wish was that WW84 ended far quicker.  Second rate in almost all departments.

On January 29, THE LITTLE THINGS became the first of the 17 movies Warner Bros. is distributing during 2021.  An inauspicious initial offering about catching a serial killer.  It is dull, boring and an embarrassment for the talent involved (Oscar winning actors Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto).

Going forward, maybe JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (right, starting February 12) will be a distinct improvement.  Circa 1967-69, it covers the betrayal of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), Chairman of the Black Panther Party, by an FBI informant (LaKeith Stanfield).  This was a very interesting plot thread in the excellent TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (shown in theaters and on Netflix last fall).

Other upcoming titles:  TOM AND JERRY (on 2/26) and GODZILLA VS KONG (on 3/31).  A coin toss…could easily be awesome…or awful.

A better evaluation of the consequences of this experiment by Warner Bros. will be had when “things get back to normal.”  Personally, I believe the theater industry will successfully rebound.  Movie fans will come back to theaters.  Perhaps slowly—as the trepidation of assembling in an auditorium diminishes.

Distributors will again acknowledge the advantages that an exclusive theater engagement can provide…and create films which will inspire attendance.

That’s the way I see it.

Barry Steelman”

Click here to read more about Barry Steelman!

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