WarnerMedia's decision to release Warner Bros.' entire 2021 film slate in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service simultaneously came in for a lot of backlash, with even some of the directors behind the movies publicly criticising the strategy.
The likes of Christopher Nolan (Tenet) and Denis Villeneuve (Dune) slammed the release plan, while Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins flat-out blamed the day-and-date model for the DC Comics sequel's underperformance.
Now, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar has admitted to rushing into things, acknowledging that more of a dialogue should have been opened up between the studio and the filmmakers involved.
“I will be the first one to say, and the responsibility rests on my shoulders, that, in hindsight, we should have taken the better part of a month to have over 170 conversations — which is the number of participants that are in our 2021 film slate," Kilar said during Vox Media's Code Conference (via The Hollywood Reporter). "We tried to do that in a compressed period of time, less than a week, because of course there was going to be leaks there was going to be everybody opining on whether we should do this or not do this."
"We said from the start that we were going to treat every single film as a blockbuster, from an economic perspective, for participants, that we were going to be fair and generous, we were going to do the right thing," he continued. "The good news is we did, and we worked our tail ends off to do that. And we’re now in a very good situation.”
It's worth noting that some movies, such as Godzilla Vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat, still did respectable business in theaters despite being available to watch from home, though the likes of The Suicide Squad and In The Heights definitely suffered.
It remains to be seen how Dune will perform when it opens domestically on October 22, but, despite what Kilar says here, the strategy would have to be viewed as yielding decidedly mixed results overall.