Warner Bros. Keeps Working Backend Deals For Day and Date 2021 Movies

Who let the dogs out? Harley! WarnerMedia still under fire for their 2021 day and date releases

For those crying foul over Warner Bros. going day and date to HBO Max on all 17 theatrical releases in 2021 (see: Goodbye Theatrical Window – Warner Bros. Goes Day and Date on All 17+ Movie Releases in 2021: HBO Max and Theaters Simultaneously), the wheeling and dealing continues behind the scenes.

Warner Bros. has spent the past few weeks speaking to its partners, like LeBron James’s SpringHill Entertainment and director Jon Chu, to further explain its strategy, and lay out the argument that they will make more money this way. Though Warner Bros. believed it had the rights to release its movies to HBO Max without the consent of its partners, it has since adjusted their contracts to offer more favorable terms.

Warner Bros. Guarantees Filmmakers a Payday for HBO Max Movies – Bloomberg

Even the cast and crew of these movies will be getting touched up, according to the Bloomberg article. Normally they don’t receive spiffs from the theatrical release, so this is a bonus.

Strangely, Warner Bros. chose the route of announce first, deal with the fallout later. They wanted their announcement to go out without leaks, to be a bit of a holiday surprise perhaps. They are also planning on returning to normal terms once these 2021 releases are done.

We support day and date releases, just as we support reducing the theatrical window, so obviously we weren’t in the crowd dissing WarnerMedia for their controversial decision. If companies want to save money, our position is to do it with lowering film budgets and reduce the process of remaking successful films.

The one thing we do agree with is WarnerMedia should have negotiated with their business partners before they announced their plans. They contend they didn’t have to, which seems murky both ethically and legally, but we’ll see how this impacts them.

Parent company AT&T is trying to manage their debt load and this seems ill-timed on that front, but for subscriber growth, retention and future of HBO Max, this seems like a clever marketing move (see: Don’t Count Out HBO Max in 2021). Also, the pandemic is keeping a bunch of theaters shuttered more than open, so what is a studio supposed to do? Just keep delaying movies for years?

Don’t Count Out HBO Max in 2021

Hope all readers who celebrate enjoyed their Christmas. This morning I’m thinking more about HBO Max and their plans for 2021.

Forgive me for not crying for directors who have movies that will end up day-and-date releases in 2021 on HBO Max. Certainly not going to feel sorry for people like Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot who received millions, allegedly, in a back end deal.

It’s annoying seeing these creative people talking out of both sides of their mouths about what WarnerMedia is doing to all creative people and the beloved, sacred cinematic experience. Credit some of them for using measured words and being very careful, but for those who are saying they got screwed somehow by not being notified where their movie was going to appear, my response is: “boo-hoo.”

There are people who literally can’t put food on the table. Why should any of these people care about how much money a movie isn’t going to make because it’s not playing with a theatrical window?

And yet there are articles like the one quoted below from Hollywood Reporter which seem to suggest moviegoers like us — people who prefer to see movies in theaters first — think these creative types just don’t want to get with the times.

It has nothing to do with being luddites. We’ll break this down after the somewhat maddening quote.

Filmmakers and stars understand that there’s a pandemic to consider and a digital shift in the works. They know that streaming day-and-date or going without a theatrical release altogether will be routine for many movies going forward; they know the exclusive, weeks-long theatrical window was unsustainable. “None of us are horse-and-buggy people,” says an exec involved in the battle. “We go across all platforms when everyone is in agreement and up-front about it. No one is angry at the streamers — it’s these guys.”

Warner Bros. Under Siege: “No One Is Angry at the Streamers — It’s These Guys” | Hollywood Reporter

Nobody is angry at streamers? Didn’t Christopher Tenet come out and call HBO Max the “worst streaming service”? Seems like he’s being at least a little elitist toward streaming services. Particularly HBO Max.

And he’s wrong, as I already pointed out (see: Christopher Nolan Thinks HBO Max is the “Worst Streaming Service” – He’s Wrong). HBO Max might not have as many subscribers as Disney+, but I tend to believe a year from now, like CEO Jason Killar is saying will leave us with a different streaming landscape comparatively. With Amazon Prime Video and Netflix already at or over 200 million subscribers, those wells are pretty full. Wouldn’t expect to see as much subscriber growth for them as HBO Max in 2021.

What will make HBO Max a “success” a year from now? 100 million subscribers? Doubling the current subscribers? Or do they need to be at least half what Amazon and Netflix have? That would be well over 100 million subscribers.

This is where I think they’re going to convert like nobody else. Think about this for a minute logically. No other streamer has as many paid subscribers using essentially a different version of their streaming service like HBO does. HBO Max just needs to get 75% of the HBO subscribers on HBO Max in 2021 as well as have good growth from new subscribers. I’m sure they are hoping for much better retention than this.

This is why I think people that are saying HBO Max is a bust are short-sighted. They seem to be discounting or forgetting that HBO is a brand that has been around since the 70s. That’s a long, long freaking time. Way longer than Amazon or Netflix. The problem with HBO is they’re having to rebrand themselves somewhat (too many prior versions of “HBO”). They’re having to convert existing customers on cable who like subscribing to HBO that hey, we’re more than HBO now. We’re HBO Max. In some cases (many? I don’t know) they can actually get quite a bit more content to see on HBO Max vs. HBO.

This is the message that WarnerMedia needs to get right in 2021. Can’t say for sure if they will be successful in doing this, but if they are, do not discount all these HBO cable subscribers.

In fact, I think two streaming services to watch for growth in 2021 are HBO Max and Paramount+ (rebranded and expanded CBS All Access). I’m not sure what Disney+ is going to do with Hulu, but they are planning on investing a lot of $$ into their streaming game. Can’t count out Disney. Then there’s Apple TV+ which could very much be a sleeping tiger. Will they jump into the game with more activity or just buy a few movies and originals here and there? The here and there plan will not compete with Netflix.

Guess we are more optimistic about HBO Max. Would definitely not count them out. What do you think? Will HBO Max be one of the top three at the end of 2021? Or will they be trailing Disney+ in subscribers and momentum?

Goodbye Theatrical Window – Warner Bros. Goes Day and Date on All 17+ Movie Releases in 2021: HBO Max and Theaters Simultaneously

A bonus news post that we can’t wait until tomorrow to share. Maybe you’ve already heard the big news, maybe not, but Warner Bros. is going all in on day and date.

All in.

We already knew Wonder Woman 1984 is having no theatrical window in the United States, it will be released in theaters and on HBO Max (in 4K too!) simultaneously on Christmas, Friday December 25, 2020. International markets will get to see it about 10 days earlier in theaters, if they are open. If being the keyword.

Warner Bros. isn’t stopping with only one film being released this way.

Earlier today they announced plans to include every planned theatrical release film in 2021 with the exact same day and date simultaneous release for the first month. Watch it wherever you want: on HBO Max — no additional premium fee, included as part of the regular subscription — or in whatever theaters might be open. After 31 days, the movies will disappear from HBO Max and go into a theatrical window-like mode. That would involve a period of time where only theaters, then VOD and Blu-Ray and then presumably back on streaming again — probably HBO Max, but maybe other streamers.

The list of the 17 Warner Bros. movies is below.

The studio announced Thursday day-and-date releases for its 17-film slate, which will hit HBO Max for a one-month window that starts the same day they will be available in U.S. theaters. The studio’s 2021 slate includes projects such as The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Space Jam: A New Legacy. Other films include Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho.

Warner Bros. Smashes Box Office Windows, Will Send Entire 2021 Slate to HBO Max and Theaters | Hollywood Reporter

Feedback I’m reading so far are several pundits saying (again, sigh) this will be the death sentence for movie theaters, others liking this for HBO Max and many other opinions.

Clearly, Warner Bros. thinks 2021 is going to be too much like 2020 and they don’t want to keep pushing dates back, hoping, praying that the theaters will be open. They are going to promote the value of an HBO Max subscription. They lose money if they sit on movies, they lose money if they release films to a reduced marketplace .. the only way they seem to gain is by promoting their streaming service. And kudos to them for not going the Mulan route and trying to extract an extra $30 from subscribers.

Worked for us. We just reupped for six months at 20% discount.

The billion dollar question is how many of these movies will people opt to skip the theater and see at home instead? How many will see in both places — on the big screen perhaps first, and then rewatch on HBO Max in 4K.

Nobody knows the answers to those questions. If you read somebody say they do, they’ve got a shovel full of something that doesn’t smell good.

If we have theaters open in our area and have our A-List or Regal Unlimited subscription active, we’ll see the majority, if not every one of these 17 WB films, in movie theaters. However, over six months this last year the movie theaters have been closed in our area. If that’s the case, who knows how many we’ll have the opportunity to see in theaters.

Warner Bros. is saying their plans for 2021 are not permanent, but this could be a toothpaste out of the bottle situation. They would like to go back to adopting some kind of theatrical window, but in the pandemic times, without a vaccine in place (it’s coming!), they are letting people decide when and where to see their movies.

We like letting moviegoers decide where they want to see new movies. Make a customer a customer somewhere in your world is a good idea for any business. If you want to force customers to do something simply because that’s the way it’s always been is not a winning long term business strategy.

Will other studios that have streaming channels should do the same thing? Will this make having an exclusive in theaters for the smaller studios a marketing advantage?

Wow, so much to unpack here. What do you think of all this? Let’s discuss.

Disney Rumored To Be Sending More Movies Meant for Theaters to Disney+

It’s kind of odd that Disney, the studio who made the most money on theatrical movie releases in 2019, has been among the least supportive of theaters during the pandemic. It seems like like they’ve almost given up on theaters altogether.

They don’t say that publicly of course, but their actions during 2020 tell a different story.

Deadline hears that the uncertainty of the future theatrical marketplace has Disney looking at launching a number of its upcoming tentpole family films on Disney+ instead of the theatrical release bows that were envisioned when the films were developed and green lit. At this point, the films being discussed to make that pivot are Cruella, the Craig Gillespie-directed live-action re-imaging of the animated classic that stars Emma Stone her Emma Thompson; the Robert Zemeckis-directed Pinocchio that has Tom Hanks starring; and Peter Pan and Wendy, the David Lowery-directed film that has Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi set to play Tinker Bell.

Disney + premieres Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Cruella away from Theatrical – Deadline

As a fan of new movies being available theatrically — if not day and date, then small exclusive theatrical window is OK too — Disney isn’t helping theaters.

This got me thinking if they should? Maybe their strategy is smarter than it appears. Focus on supporting Disney+ which has had the best first year streaming channel launch of any company. The reality is they are literally stacked with great IP, so having a quality streaming channel stocked with a strong archive is a given, what’s not as clear is what new is coming to the service to keep subscribers paying?

Sure, there’s The Mandalorian, but they can only produce 8 episodes or so of that every year. What do to they do with the other 44 weeks of the year? A movie meant for theatrical release once every month or two would solve that problem.

Seems expensive to me, as some of the budgets for these movies are very high. They probably will be reducing the budgets for planned straight to Disney+ movies.

But what if the theaters rebound? Disney’s strategy seems to be that they can just redirect titles produced for Disney+ back to the legacy model. Again, I’m not sure they aren’t playing this smart. Obviously theater owners aren’t going to think that way, but studios hold most of the cards. They have the content that movie theaters are starved for.

Of Course AMC Will Screen Wonder Woman 1984 in Theaters

When we saw the announcement that WarnerMedia chose to release Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously in the United States, we expected to see that the big theater chains would show it. They’d be crazy not to.

#1 AMC has confirmed as much within 24 hours of the announcement.

AMC Entertainment said in a statement attributed to president and CEO Adam Aron that it “will show this eagerly awaited movie on our big screens all across our global network.”

AMC Responds to ‘Wonder Woman 2’ Streaming Move: ‘Atypical Circumstances’ Call For ‘Atypical Windows’

Regal #2 theaters are still closed all over the United States. Will they reopen in time for Wonder Woman? Unknown. We haven’t seen any quotes about how they will handle WW1984 in their theaters. They were strongly against day and date releases for streaming. They like the legacy theatrical window.

Cinemark #3 in most number of studios also hasn’t weighed in yet. Again, they would be foolish not to screen WW1984.

Either way, moviegoers will get to see this movie — if they want — before the end of 2020. In a year when new movies intended for theaters are rampantly being delayed or sold to streaming, this is a good thing.

Wonder Woman 1984 will be released at HBO Max and Theaters Simultaneously on December 25 – Where will you watch?

A bonus additional post today for this major movie news: WarnerMedia has announced they will be releasing Wonder Woman 1984 to HBO Max on the same day it’s released in theaters December 25, 2020.

International theatrical markets will get to see this nearly 10 days early.

“Wonder Woman 1984,” Warner Bros.’ sequel to the popular 2017 superhero film “Wonder Woman,” is going to HBO Max, the studio announced on Wednesday. The film will be released simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming service in the United States on December 25. It will debut in international markets on December 16.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is heading to HBO Max – CNN

HBO Max subscribers will be able to watch the movie for a month before it leaves the service. It will continue to play in whatever theaters are open and then go the VOD/PVOD route and, presumably, return to HBO Max and/or other streaming channels at a later date.

The next question becomes what theaters will this show in the United States? All theaters are closed in our area until December 14 when hopefully they’ll reopen. AMC and Cinemark, will they show a day and date release? I’m guessing that they will, but the CNN article is vague on those details.

This is an unprecedented move. A day and date release for a tentpole Warner Bros. movie domestically. Sure, the international market is getting a week plus head start, but this is a very curious move. We no longer have to see and hear speculation on what they are going to do with WW1984.

This will be an interesting test — at least in the current movie climate — to see how many moviegoers watch it on the big screen when they can see it on HBO Max. Will streaming viewing cannibalize theatrical viewing? In places where no theaters are open, of course it will, but this is a movie that screams to be seen on the big screen.

Will you be going to see this in the theater or watching it for the first time on HBO Max? If we can see it in a theater nearby, we will. If not, we’ll be watching it on HBO Max. What about you?

With Parks Closed and Theaters Crippled, Disney Plans To Spend (a lot?) More On Streaming

In 2019, Disney was the beneficiary of some 40%+ of all movie theater revenue. A year later and nobody, Disney certainly included, is making the kind of money they did last year at theaters.

Disney’s response? Let’s focus even more on streaming.

The article that is linked below doesn’t say they are abandoning theaters completely, rather that they wan to go “directly to consumers.” We’ll try to read the tea leaves after the jump.

Daniel will be responsible, in part, for making big decisions about Disney’s theatrical and streaming release schedules going forward. ″[Consumers] are going to lead us,” Chapek said on “Closing Bell.” “Right now they are voting with their pocketbooks, and they are voting very heavily toward Disney+. We want to make sure that we are going the way the consumers want us to go.”

Disney reorganizes to focus on streaming, direct to consumer

Disney is calling up the Netflix playbook.

They are going to invest a lot more into creating content. They have plenty of IP to draw from with Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and their own Disney offerings. Not to mention, they have Hulu for more mature content offerings (see: Hulu is the Adult/Mature Disney+, Just ask Hillary Duff), if indeed they can continue to invest more in that. I hope they do. They need to have an adult arm of the company to promote.

Will they keep Hulu doing what it does? In 2024, Comcast has already agreed to sell their remaining 33% Hulu stake to Disney. Disney needs to stay that course.

I’ve been surprised just how good Hulu is as a current streaming service. Have quite enjoyed it the past few months. I’d put it right up there with HBO Max, maybe a little ahead since they are on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. The deal Hulu has with Blumhouse is great for horror fans like yours truly.

Disney+ other than The Mandalorian, the Marvel movies and legacy content haven’t done too much in their first year. Let’s hope year #2 sees more content. Am not sure even with this announcement if it will, since it takes a little while to ramp up content. Netflix has the jump on everybody in this area.

While 2021 might not bring more worthy competition in streaming leaders, if the pandemic subsides sooner rather than later and full-on production without so many expensive COVID safety precautions, 2022 and 2023 could be extremely competitive. This is all good news for us streaming customers.

What does this mean for movie theaters?

Disney has not completely turned their backs on theaters, I mean if you look at the delays on big budget titles, that is clear. However, their actions since the pandemic began have shown they’re not embracing theatrical releases as they were pre-pandemic (see: Disney Diss? Rips Soul From Theaters To Be Disney+ Exclusive).

My guess with new production (not talking about films already on production slate and/or finished, game is wide open on those films) — and take it exactly as that — is Disney ratchets down the number of future big budget movie production and shoots for more medium to lower budget titles, with perhaps a couple huge budget movies a year (one at summer, one for holiday season), targeting more traditional theatrical first distribution. They can use these lower to medium budget titles to go straight to Disney+ or maybe even they embrace something like Universal has done with a three week reduced three week only theatrical window. Will they make that deal so they can justify having some kind of theatrical release? Chances are they’re watching what happens with the deal between AMC and Universal very closely and if it works out, they’ll try to get in on that somehow.

This all could change if the pandemic persists deep into 2021 and, god help us all if it worms into 2022. Disney (financially) can’t and won’t turn completely on theaters, because the money is too good, but it’s another sign that studios are not supporting movie theaters the way they might like them to anytime soon, if ever fully again.

AMC Reopening More Theaters – Shortened Theatrical Window Cited as Key Competitive Advantage

Maybe we will be able to watch new movies being widely released in theaters, after all. This is in encouraging news, thanks to AMC. They will be opening a local theater next Friday 10/16 (pictured above). Just in time for Honest Thief starring Liam Neeson. We’ll be at least a week behind watching War with Grandpa, but hey, just happy to have another theater reopening nearby.

AMC is very determined to open more theaters in Washington State (pictured above), a state that only had one Regal Cinema open the last month and no AMCs reopened in our area.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc AMC.N, the largest theater chain in the United States, said on Thursday it expects to open more locations in Washington state and have more than 520 theaters open in the country by mid-October.

AMC to open more cinema theaters in the United States | Reuters

Props to AMC for continuing to open new theaters, despite the #2 closing all of their US theaters (see: “Facing situation where it is better to be closed than to be open,” says Cineworld/Regal CEO – Could be 1-2+ months before they reopen)

They estimate by October 16, nationwide 520 locations will be reopened. That means an AMC theater in the United States is likely be open near you, unless you live in New York and some cities in California.

Also found it interesting that AMC is crediting their industry maligned (by others) deal with Universal. AMC’s CEO explains (emphasis mine):

Aron pointed to the historic deal AMC reached with Universal Pictures in July as a reason the company is in a position to keep its theaters open. The agreement shortened the time that Universal’s films had to be shown in AMC theaters before moving to on-demand streaming from 90 days to 17 days.

“We get a cut both of the theatrical revenue and the home revenue. That’s an agreement that AMC has struck,” Aron said. “Our competitors have not yet struck that agreement.” 

AMC CEO: Keeping movie theaters open is ‘the right decision’ even as rival Regal shutters screens

Regular readers here already know we’ve gone against popular opinion (multiple times now) celebrating the inevitable reduction of the theatrical window (see: Good deal – AMC strikes historic deal with Universal to shrink theatrical window to 17 days) and it’s encouraging to see AMC’s newfound enthusiasm (perhaps borne out of financial desperation, but who cares?).

We’ll continue to support a reduced — and in some cases eliminated — theatrical window. Day and date releases can still make money for cinemas. They have to accept that and understand their customers — passionate moviegoers like us — want to be able to watch movies where we want, when we want and as often as we want. Those that cater best to their customers deserve financial fruits. Those that don’t? Goodbye and good riddance.

I didn’t expect Regal (#2) and Cinemark (#3) to be giddy about AMC’s deal, but thought they eventually would begrudgingly follow suit.

To their financial peril, it seems, that hasn’t happened yet.

Also, other studios besides Universal haven’t cut the same deal leaving Universal and AMC going it alone. If the movies do well released under this shortened window watch how long it takes other studios and the other two major theater chains to cave.

Then again, this is 2020 and box office revenue is beyond strained. This could also go the opposite way with AMC going out of business in six months, bone dry empty on operating income and Universal forced to go back to the more traditional deal.

We’ll know truly how important this deal is when a major movie is released under this deal. That test case will be F9, currently scheduled to be released May 2021. I don’t see Regal passing on the ability to show that tentpole film.

Our history covering AMC since the pandemic is revealing. At first AMC took a much more aggressive position with Universal on the Trolls World Tour launch and maintaining the established lengthier theatrical window. They once vowed not to show any Universal movies period (see April 29, 2020: AMC Titanic May Just Have Struck Studio Iceberg – They Will No Longer Play ANY Universal Movies).

Good seeing they changed their minds.

It’s not about what has been the standard in a dynamic business, it’s about what is and what will be the new way of doing business. A good, healthy business adapts, grows, and keeps up with the times. It seems AMC is embracing change now. At least being more welcoming toward it. Props to them. And hopefully enough business to stave off bankruptcy.

At least they aren’t taking their ball and going home for 1-2+ months like Regal is doing. They’re trying.

Maybe it’s time we consider buying an AMC Stubs monthly movie subscription? It’s not unlimited like Regal and AMC doesn’t have as many theaters as Regal in our area, but it’s moot when Regal is closed everywhere and AMC are open.

“Facing situation where it is better to be closed than to be open,” says Cineworld/Regal CEO – Could be 1-2+ months before they reopen

As mentioned Saturday (see: Cineworld To Close All 543 Regal Cinemas After No Time To Die delay, says Variety sources), Cinemark is closing all Regal Cinemas. This has been confirmed by the company and is scheduled at the end of business this Thursday 10/8/2020.

“Might be a month, might be two months (before we’ll reopen),” says Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger in CNBC interview (see video interview for full context below).

Mooky gave an interview this morning explaining why they chose to close all the theaters in the United States and James Bond being delayed is only one of the problems. It’s not being able to open theaters completely in the two biggest movie theater states: New York and California. This is a main driver in the decision because studios want those major markets more fully open before they release their biggest budget movies (Black Widow, No Time To Die, Wonder Woman 1984, etc). California is about 50% open and New York is still shuttered, despite indoor dining, bowling alleys, casinos being allowed to open.

After hearing what Cineworld main man Mooky has to say, credit two state government for not determining it’s safe enough to allow them to reopen. Maybe it’s not safe enough in those two states, but we’ve made the same observation before that casinos clearly are at least equally as high risk as movie theaters — and yet they’ve reopened.

On the subject of new movies, this is more complex and deserved some better interview question than the interviewer was informed enough to ask. I mean, talk about lobbing clueless softballs.

Yes, they aren’t getting the big budget movies because studios are delaying those titles. We’ve pointed out specific movies Cineworld/Regal should have shown recently while they were open like Bill and Ted Face The Music, but chose not to do so because it was a day and date release. I wish more news articles and reporting would highlight this important detail, but it’s continually left out as if it’s almost completely the fault of the studios and government for why movie theaters don’t have more new movies playing.

It’s not. It’s part of the theater chain’s fault, too, why they don’t have more new movies.

What about Mulan? Why wouldn’t Mooky and his team talk with Disney about Mulan? It was released internationally, but only on Disney+ plus an additional $30 in America. A few weeks later, it doesn’t require the Disney+, it can be watched on PVOD. This should have had a US release as well. Doesn’t sound like the movie performed that well, but certainly Regal could have worked out a deal with Disney to screen that movie. Somehow, some way — and I’m betting it’s because it was day and date release — that they didn’t.

I just wish somebody else in all this reporting and interviewing would ask the logical question, “if you temporarily ignore the theatrical window and embrace more direct to streaming titles you can show plenty of new movies, so why won’t you try that?”

Maybe some day someone with a microphone will ask execs like Mooky these hardball questions. Cineworld/Regal is the same company who has vowed never to show movies that don’t respect the theatrical window and yet he is whining about being like a grocery store without groceries? Terrible analogy for those who deep dive the facts.

Again, they don’t have to stick by whatever the temporary decision they make with the theatrical window once the pandemic is over. They seem to feel if they violate their principles, if they make an exception during these times they won’t be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Putting all that aside, it seems like Cineworld/Regal might have hung in there, if they could have gotten New York theaters open and more like the 90%+ theaters they wanted in California. That would have given studios more incentive to stick with the November releases. That’s all spilled milk we can’t cry over. Now we’re looking at them more realistically reopening around Christmas.

Stick a fork in 2020 at the movie theaters in the United States. It’s game, set and match — for you know what.

Disney lost “nearly $5 billion” in third quarter, decides to release Mulan to Disney+ for additional $29.99 on September 4

Hold the swords, King Arthur!

We’ve got a rare 5th post of the day for some exciting news coming down the pipeline concerning the other shoe besides Tenet in the “when will it be released” camp.

Talking Mulan (FIRST LOOK)

Mulan has a reported ~$200 million budget and, after hemorrhaging billions of dollars in its various business interests in Q3-2020, will be streaming for $29.99 and whatever theaters are open — and will show it — under lack of honoring the theatrical window on September 4.

The news of the release came as Disney released brutal quarterly results that showed the extent to which the company’s media empire was ravaged by the pandemic. The company reported that it had a net loss of nearly $5 billion in the third quarter this year.

‘Mulan’ is finally heading to Disney+… for $30 – CNN

To my understanding, unless something changes (entirely possible), Regal Cinemas will not be showing Mulan under these conditions. They are sticking by the “must respect the standard theatrical window” requirement. So, when and if Regal Cinemas open later this month, Mulan will not be part of the offering.

Curious, I surfed over to Regal Cinemas website to see if Mulan was showing as a “coming soon” movie? Nope.

AMC? Who knows, they recently cut a deal with Universal to reduce the window for them and Focus Features to 17 days including at least three weekends. I read mixed reviews on that decision, but I liked it (see: Good deal – AMC strikes historic deal with Universal to shrink theatrical window to 17 days). We are in the minority I think on that perspective.

Cinemark is the only other giant player and they seem to be following Regal’s plans regarding not showing movies that don’t respect the standard 90 day theatrical window.

Streaming to VOD dates haven’t been pushed around that much (at all?), so I think it’s fairly safe to assume Mulan will be released on September 4, as Disney announced. What sort of theaters are open and screen it? Whole other enchilada.

Will Disney+ subscribers pony up another $30 to see Mulan? If you’re a subscriber, will you? Unless our grandchildren really want to see this movie badly, like they wanted to see Trolls World Tour, I don’t think we’ll be breaking out the plastic for this one.

I think what has me pausing is just how darn fast Scoob went from VOD to available on HBO Max. I mean it seemed like only a few weeks later. Don’t know the specific amount of time, but it might have been less than the 17 days!

Why pay $30 for Mulan, if a few weeks later it appears on Disney+ for $0 extra? I think this is a problem if there is no reasonable VOD streaming window. The other part of this decision is will we be able to buy it for $30, or is that strictly rental only? Buying and owning the movie for $30 doesn’t sting as much as renting it, only to see an appearance for $0 extra shortly later.

We’re just speculating on when Mulan will move away from $30 price at Disney+, but it’s an intriguing move considering the movie’s large budget. Does Disney need to do this out of financial necessity or is it trying to throw customers a 30 dollar bone?

Your comments, as always are welcome. Will you be paying an extra $30 for Mulan on Disney+ or waiting out the inevitable release without the extra VOD fee?