Warner Bros. Exec Thinks Theatrical Windows Still Important To Streaming

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar says the movie industry is in "experimentation mode."

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WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar says the movie industry is still in "experimentation mode" on theatrical windows, according to Variety. Speaking recently at the 2021 Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, the executive's comments adds a bit of clarification and also an asterisk to the sudden announcement from Warner Bros. in December that it will put its entire theatrical line-up onto HBO Max.

Warner and Kilar's stance on exclusive theatrical release windows, it should be noted, is in stark contrast to Netflix and product chief Greg Peter's view: The latter recently predicted that these exclusive windows will go away because "it's what consumers want." And so, it seems that the next battle playing itself out in the streaming wars is a competition in navigating what role release windows will have in getting in front of audiences.

"Is theatrical attendance going to have a crazy resurgence because people have been cooped up for a year?" asked Kilar. "I could easily see that happening. And we will be there to serve them in that situation, and proudly so. When you look at our development pipeline, we absolutely are developing movies for theatrical exhibition."

Kilar added that he feels it's "too early to tell if things have changed on a permanent basis" and that no matter the destination, if a film has an "event-worthy story… people are going to show up, the fans are going to show up worldwide."

While Kilar did not elaborate with any specifics on what variables Warner is keen to experiment on with release windows, he did also mention plans for a price-reduced, ad-supported tier of HBO Max expected to launch soon.

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