Patty Jenkins, Aaron Sorkin Respond To Warner Bros. Streaming 2021 Film Releases

Hollywood looks primed to compete and offer other alternatives for fans.


When Christopher Nolan responded to the sudden announcement that Warner Bros. announced its 2021 film slate would have simultaneous releases in theaters and on HBO Max by saying many in Hollywood "went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service," it could be read as an exaggeration.

But Nolan is far from an outlier in this sentiment, as revealed by a conversation Variety facilitated between Aaron Sorkin (whose The Trial of the Chicago 7 recently hit Netflix) and Patty Jenkins (whose Wonder Woman 1984, after many delays, will be coming both to theaters and HBO Max). While both of the accomplished filmmakers first and foremost expressed a shared sense of relief and appreciation for film fans having the ability to see new work while staying safe during COVID, they also articulated a skepticism that Warner Bros. announcement signals a major change for the industry.

"We're all scared that everything's going to change now," Sorkin said, imagining a future where movie theaters become glorified art houses. "I don't think that's going to happen. I think that for 4,000 years, nothing has replaced the experience of being part of an audience."

Jenkins agreed, saying, "When every single studio in town starts chasing the exact same thing, you're like 'Why doesn't someone differentiate themselves?" The WW1984 director further elaborated that "there's a sentiment right now that change is coming and there's nothing you can do about it."

Sorkin and Jenkins agreed that what comes next is figuring out how to challenge this strategy.

If Jenkins, Sorkin, and Nolan--who held firm on Tenet seeing a theatrical release this past year--are any indicator, if Hollywood woke up not liking this sudden shift in how Warner Bros. will rollout its new pictures, then they will likely figure out a way to respond. Compared to when COVID-19 began, it seems like the year ahead in 2021 may instead offer no shortage of ways to see all sorts of new movies as competition heats up. Who could have predicted that?

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