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Warner Bros. To Stream All Its Films In 2021

Updated at 7:54 p.m. ET

Every Warner Bros. movie expected to come out in 2021 will now be streaming on HBO Max the same day it comes out in theaters. This includes In the Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squadand Dune. The movies will be available on the streaming platform for one month, after which they'll be pulled from the service while the movies continue playing in theaters.

The arrangement is in response to the closures and reduced capacity of movie theaters as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do," said Ann Sarnoff, CEO of Warner Bros. in a statement. "We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021."

This arrangement is intended to last for only one year.

Movie theaters across the country were heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In October, theater chain Regal temporarily shut down all of its 536 locations, affecting roughly 40,000 workers.

AMC Theatres officials accused Warner Bros. of "subsidizing its HBO Max startup," and said it would "pursue economic terms that preserve our business."

The movies on HBO Max will be streamed in 4k Ultra HD and HD. Consumers will get an idea of what that experience might look like when the oft-delayed Wonder Woman 1984 comes out on the streaming service and in theaters on Dec. 25.

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Nina Gregory is a senior editor for NPR's Arts Desk, where she oversees coverage of film across the network and edits and and assigns stories on television, art, design, fashion, food, and culture.
Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
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