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AMC Says WarnerMedia’s Decision to Stream New Releases on HBO Max Makes it Harder to Stay Afloat in 2021

Stephanie Sengwe

It’s no secret that movie theaters have taken a major hit this year. Even though there are open at limited capacity in some states, the industry as a whole is just not raking in the same amount of money they typically do. For AMC, 2021 is looking really bleak financially and WarnerMedia’s decision to debut their entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day is not making things any easier.

“A significant spike in coronavirus cases, together with delays of major movie releases or the direct or simultaneous release of movie titles to the home video or streaming markets in lieu of theatre exhibition, have led to theatre closures, prevented the opening of theatres in major markets and have had, and are expected to continue to have in the future, a material adverse impact on theatre attendance levels and our business,” AMC said in a statement.

“These challenges have been exacerbated by the announcement by Warner Bros. that its entire studio film slate for 2021 will move to simultaneous release, which may result in other studios adopting a similar strategy.”

In order to “remain viable” through 2021, AMC needs $750 million reports Deadline. If attendance doesn’t increase in 2021, the company risks going under. With WarnerMedia giving people the option to watch big films such as Godzilla vs. Kong and The Suicide Squad from the comfort of their homes, it is highly likely that theater attendance will remain dismal.

When WarnerMedia made the game changing announcement on Dec. 3, AMC was one of the first movie theater companies to lash out at the media conglomerate. “Clearly, WarnerMedia intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up,” AMC’s Adam Aron said in a statement.

“As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business. We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject.”

In addition to Godzilla vs. Kong and The Suicide Squad, films such as Space Jam: A New Legacy, Dune and Matrix 4 will also be available on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters.

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