Just weeks after its major announcement that Wonder Woman 1984 would be available to stream on Christmas Day, Warner Bros. Pictures Group has just announced that its entire 2021 film slate will be released on HBOMax for an exclusive one month period in the U.S. in tandem with the theatrical release.
That means, friends, that Dune is coming straight into the homes of excited fans. After months of being delayed due to COVID-19 theater closures, the Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi flick will debut on HBOMax and in theater simultaneously in 2021. So, while the official release date of Dune is not confirmed, anyone on the fence about upgrading to HBO Max should know that the time is nigh.
The highly-anticipated adaptation of the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name boasts a very good cast: Timothée Chalamet plays the young king Paul Atreides, and blue-eyed Zendaya plays Chani. Oscar Isaac joins as Paul’s zaddy, Leto, and Rebecca Ferguson as his fearless mom, Lady Jessica. Plus there’s Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Sharon Duncan-Brewster.
Other movies you'll be able to watch from home? The Matrix 4, new Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights, the new (and hopefully improved) Suicide Squad, LeBron James' Space Jam: A New Legacy, and Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark.
With this big, bold move, Warner Bros. is essentially declaring that its priority, at least for the next year — pandemic or no — lies with streaming. On the one hand, this is distressing news for movie theaters, who are already in dire financial straits due to months of closures and limited capacity seating. If movies are available from your couch, and included in a subscription you already have, why pay up to $20 to see them on the big screen?
But it's not that simple. This decision will also help make more movies accessible to a broader audience, which in turn may contribute to a more diverse array of voices and perspectives being brought to the big screen. And since HBOMax already boasts one of the best movie catalogues available, it seems like the goal is to turn the service into a major destination for film buffs, old and new. Watch out, Netflix!