The Independent Cinema Alliance (ICA), a trade association representing the interests of independent movie theater owners and operators in North America, has expressed its support over Warner Bros.’ decision to keep Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters by releasing the film simultaneously in the home through HBO Max.
The ICA labels the studio’s decision as a “pandemic model” that does not reflect a long-term shift in the studio’s distribution strategy.
“We are extremely grateful for the extraordinary and unrivaled support and leadership from our valued industry partner Warner Bros.,” said Byron Berkley, ICA President. “After boldly launching the Labor Day reopening of movie theaters across the country with their release of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, Warner Bros. has again shown their unwavering commitment to theatrical exhibition by virtually saving Christmas for our industry, keeping Wonder Woman 1984 on December 25th.”
Warner Bros.’ decision to implement a day-and-date simultaneous release with HBO Max on Christmas Day comes on the heels of Universal’s deals with AMC Theatres and Cinemark to dramatically shorten the theatrical exclusivity window. Other studios, such as Disney (Hamilton, Mulan, Soul) and Paramount (The Lovebirds, The Trial of the Chicago 7), have removed upcoming titles from the schedule entirely in favor of launching them on home entertainment Video on Demand (VOD) platforms instead.
“ICA intends to take this crisis as an opportunity to project a bright future for our industry,” added Brian Schultz, Chairman of Studio Movie Grill. “We know the critical importance of storytelling in this very challenging time. Together we will set an example of flexibility, innovation and partnership for the greater good, bringing incredible films to our guests, the way they should be seen on the big screen as a shared experience.”