In what doesn’t come as shocking news, AMC Entertainment chairman and CEO Adam Aron said Monday that the No. 1 theater chain has inked a deal with Warner Bros, ensuring a 45-day theatrical window for the studio’s releases in 2022. Warners previously hammered out a 45-day theatrical window with No. 2 circuit Cineworld, and its U.S. counterpart Regal, earlier this year as the Burbank, CA studio was slammed by the industry and talent reps for its day-and-date theatrical-HBO Max streaming model.
The news came in a flurry of announcement by Aron during a call after AMC released second-quarter earnings, including the chain picking up eight older Arclight Cinemas leases, three of which are in L.A. (two of them — The Grove in LA and The Americana at Brand in Glendale — we already knew about).
“We’re especially pleased that Warners has has decided to move away from day-and-date releases and commit to theatrical windows as well,” said Aron. “We’re having conversations with other movie studios in Hollywood.”
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Aron said that studios’ experimenting with the theatrical window was as a result of the pandemic, adding, “We’re seeing the consensus that exclusive theatrical window is a good way to build major motion picture franchises.”
This past weekend, Warner Bros’ critically acclaimed James Gunn DC movie The Suicide Squad tanked at the domestic box office with $26.5 million, under its $30M-plus projection. The pic’s availability free to HBO Max subscribers is largely to blame, as well as the decline in fanboy sentiment with the franchise. There’s also some concern by a few that the booming Delta variant can be easily blamed.
Despite opening some day-and-date movies to $20M-$30M+, Warner Bros’ theatrical titles that were also available on HBO Max suffered sharp second-weekend declines at the box office. Most recently, Space Jam: A New Legacy plummeted 69%.