One Window Shuts, Another Opens – Why Warner Bros. Streamed
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.’s announcement in early December that it would send 17 films from its 2021 slate directly to its HBO Max streaming service the same day they debut in theaters shocked the entertainment world. Affected films include anticipated franchise tentpoles like “The Matrix 4,” “Dune” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy.”
Theaters traditionally have had a three-month exclusive “window” to run a film, after which it would be distributed to home video, premium channels, free channels, and then network television. Warner effectively shut the window between when a film is shown in theaters and when it is made available elsewhere.