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The Matrix 4, Dune to be released via streaming in 2021

The Matrix 4, Dune to be released via streaming in 2021
Warner Bros announces that its entire 2021 movie slate, including The Matrix 4 and Dune, will debut on HBO Max at the same time as in cinemas in the US.

Warner Bros has announced that its entire slate of big-screen releases for 2021 will be made available on HBO Max at the same time as each film is released in cinemas.

The controversial news follows the studio's decision to release Wonder Woman 1984 for HBO Max subscribers in the US - at no additional cost - on Christmas Day.

With coronavirus still raging around the world, and particularly in the US, the cinema industry finds itself on its knees, prompting Warner Bros to take a bold pre-emptive measure with its 2021 movies.

Every film will still get a cinema release but will also be dispatched on HBO Max - again, for no additional fee for the first month - on the same day.

Movies covered by the move include The Matrix 4 (December 22, 2021), Timothee Chalamet's Dune (October 1, 2021), The Suicide Squad (August 6, 2021) and Elvis (November 5, 2021).

"We're living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group," said WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff.

"No-one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the US will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021."

She added: "With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theaters or aren't quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films.

"We see it as a win-win for film lovers and exhibitors, and we're extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working with us on this innovative response to these circumstances."

Warner Bros has yet to confirm whether similar arrangements will be put in place internationally, although in key markets such as the UK, where mass vaccination against coronavirus is imminent, traditional cinema releases are likely to be followed by accelerated delivery to on-demand services such as Sky Store.

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