Warner Bros’ gamble of releasing films in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously is paying off. While the decision may have lost them Christopher Nolan, it won the streaming platform 17.2 million subscribers. HBO Max doubled its number of activations partly due to the release of “Wonder Woman 1984.”
The latest installation of the DCEU was the first film to be released in Warner Brothers’ new distribution strategy.
AT&T, who owns both Warner Bros. and HBO, had a five year goal of 50 million domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers. Well it’s still year one and they are already up to 41.5 million thanks to the recent surge. Those with preexisting HBO subscriptions can add on HBO Max at no extra cost but if you are looking to just pay for HBO Max it’ll cost you $15 a month.
HBO Max initially struggled to be easily accessible upon its initial release. It wasn’t available on Roku until December of 2020. Following months of negotiations, Roku’s 46 millions users gained access to the streaming service. Prior to the deal, users were advised to stream from the website and connect their laptops to their TVs via an HDMI cable. HBO Max is now able to tap into an entirely new market. Those who didn’t want to stream from their computers can now use their preferred streaming stick.
It will be interesting to see how many subscribers stick around after Warner Bros. pulls their films from the service. As part of their distribution plan, films that are getting simultaneous theatrical releases will only be streamable for one month. “Wonder Woman 1984” is no longer available on HBO Max, despite its Christmas Day release. After it finishes its run in theaters it will have a DVD/Blu-Ray release before returning to the streaming platform.
HBO Max is counting on Warner Bros. 2021 lineup to entice subscribers enough to stick around. Blockbusters such as “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “The Suicide Squad” and “Matrix 4” should keep fans interested. While “Westworld” co-creator Lisa Joy‘s “Reminiscence” and the long awaited “Dune” should get award buzz next season.