• Market Crumbs

Warner Bros. Encouraged By Its Hybrid Distribution Model

Image via Warner Bros.

2020 has undoubtedly been a horrible year for the film industry and movie theater operators as a result of Covid-19.

In a bid to salvage what it can from its 2021 film slate, Warner Bros. Pictures announced earlier this month that it will simultaneously release all of its 2021 films in theaters and on its HBO Max streaming service in what it calls an "innovative, hybrid distribution model."

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

Last week saw Warner Bros. Pictures put its new model to the test with the release of Wonder Woman 1984. The film brought in $16.7 million in box office sales, making it the top post-pandemic domestic opening weekend for any feature film. Wonder Woman 1984 has now brought in more than $85 million globally since its release.

WarnerMedia said more than 10,000 private movie theater rentals were booked as only 39% of cinemas in the U.S. remain open at limited capacity. Wonder Woman 1984 is available at more than 2,100 theaters nationwide compared to 4,165 theaters for the first Wonder Woman film.

Nearly half of HBO Max subscribers viewed Wonder Woman 1984 on its first day of streaming as the platform saw total viewing hours more than triple compared to a typical day over the previous month.

"Wonder Woman 1984 broke records and exceeded our expectations across all of our key viewing and subscriber metrics in its first 24 hours on the service, and the interest and momentum we're seeing indicates this will likely continue well beyond the weekend," WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer executive vice president Andy Forssell said.

Despite topping the ranks of post-pandemic films, the total is a steep drop from last year when Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker brought in more than $32 million on Christmas Day alone.

"This is a very weak theatrical opening," movie consultancy FranchiseRe principal David Gross said. "With more than half of North American theaters closed and the pandemic surging, the majority of moviegoers and fans have little choice but to watch the film on television. Early foreign openings have been weak as well."

Regardless, Warner Bros. Pictures viewed the film as enough of a success to announce it will fast-track development on the third installment of the Wonder Woman franchise.

With the first test of its new hybrid distribution model complete, Warner Bros. Pictures will now prepare for its full 2021 film slate to follow suit.

Miss our blowout Black Friday offer?

You’re in luck! We’re bringing back 50% off any TrendSpider plan for the rest of 2020.

Don’t sleep on this offer, we won’t be bringing back price cuts this steep, possibly ever.

Sign up here

Leftover Crumbs

  • Tesla is heading to India. Tesla will "start operations" in India in early 2021, according to Indian Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari said Tesla will begin operations in the country with sales and then potentially expand to assembly and manufacturing depending on the local response. Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted "Next year for sure" in October when asked about Tesla coming to India.

  • AT&T recovers from Nashville explosion. AT&T announced it has restored the majority of its services following the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville. "Our mobility network is now operating normally, nearly all home internet and video customers have been restored and our business customers are back online," AT&T said. The facility includes connection points for regional internet services as the blast caused service disruptions across parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.

  • BlackRock looks for VP of blockchain. BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, has posted a job listing for a VP of blockchain to "drive demand" for the firm's offerings. The job listing says applicants must devise and articulate fundamental valuation methodologies for crypto-assets as well as articulate the technological foundations of blockchain technology. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said earlier this month that bitcoin has "caught the attention" of many and could evolve into a global market asset.

  • Novavax begins vaccine trial in the U.S. Novavax announced it will begin a late stage trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the U.S. and Mexico with the goal of enrolling 30,000 participants. Novavax is expected to get the results of its trials in the UK in the first quarter of next year. "With the Covid-19 pandemic raging around the globe, this trial is a critical step in building the global portfolio of safe and effective vaccines to protect the world's population," Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said.

  • Ceiling fan recalled as blades can fly off. The Hampton Bay 54-inch Mara Indoor/Outdoor fan is being recalled after the manufacturer says it received 47 reports of incidents where the fan blades detached. The fan's distributor, King of Fans, said four incidents involved property damage while two involved consumers being hit by the fan blade. More than 190,000 of the fans, which were sold at Home Depot between April and October of this year, will be recalled.