The eventual demise of movie theaters is growing increasingly close as more and more blockbuster theatrical movies, initially delayed by the pandemic, are giving up on waiting. They’re skipping theaters and going streaming instead.
Wonder Woman 1984 was the first major blockbuster to announce it will release simultaneously on streaming and in theaters. It arrives on both platforms December 25th. Now other movies are following suit. In particular Warner Bros., the studio behind Wonder Woman 1984, is making the move to streaming. They own HBO Max, and that’s where their movies will be available.
So what’s coming? These are the next group of movies which, after Wonder Woman 1984, we expect to go direct to streaming rather than waiting on movie theaters…
First is the new Denzel Washington thriller The Little Things. The movie comes from The Blind Side director John Lee Hooker and was scheduled for a January 29, 2021 release. Now it seems likely to go over to streaming.
Next there’s Tom and Jerry, the live-action movie based on the cartoon. It has a March 5, 2021 theatrical release date but is now looking to jump over to streaming.
There is also the biographical drama Judas and the Black Messiah, which doesn’t have a release date and stars Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield. It’s likely to end up on streaming now.
One of the biggest blockbuster movies headed towards streaming is Godzilla vs. Kong. Not clear on when that will happen, but insiders say it will. It’ll likely end up on HBO Max or possibly on Netflix. Netflix is rumored to be in a bidding war to get it.
Mortal Kombat is being considered for HBO Max streaming, though WB has decided for the time being to keep Kombat on its full theatrical release calendar.
Warner Bros. isn’t the only studio dealing with this massive movie streaming issue. Disney has been dealing with it, as evidenced by their streaming release Mulan, and now there are increasing rumors surrounding Black Widow as fans are clamoring for Disney to send it to Disney+.
Disney’s other entity, 20th Century Studios, might be sending the February 12, 2021, scheduled release prequel The King’s Man to Hulu (or the possible new Disney 18+) to streaming. Meanwhile the House of Mouse could be looking to bring their coming-of-age drag queen musical Everyone’s Talking About Jamie to Disney+ streaming. That movie is scheduled for a February 26, 2021 release.
Of course, Disney, on top of Mulan, also recently shifted Artemis Fowl and the upcoming Pixar’s Soul to Disney+ streaming. Now there are early talks that their live-action movie remakes of Cruella, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan and Wendy could completely bypass theaters and go directly to Disney+.
There are also big upcoming movies without a definite plan as of yet. Sony’s Cinderella remake and the Jared Leto-led Morbius have their theatrical release dates set but it is unclear whether these movies will also make the jump to streaming. Right now these are only rumors. They may have no choice as most major theater chains are expected to be bankrupt and out of business by January.
Like it or not, movie theaters seem to be over and streaming is the future. While governors dine at expensive restaurants, the general population is still locked in their homes and prohibited from going out. Even if the lockdowns were to end tomorrow, it’s not clear whether movie theaters would survive. Most are already on the verge of bankruptcy and there are no longer any big releases scheduled in the near term that might save them. Hope you’re ready to #JustStreamIt.