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Could the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines across the country be the reason why Warner Bros movies are coming back to theaters? Find out the details here.

Warner Bros. movies return to theaters: Will this end HBO Max?

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on while vaccines continue to roll out across the globe, people are now reaching a time of reflection. With March 2021 came the one-year anniversary of the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdowns began shaking the lives of people all over the world last year. 

One of the biggest reflections shared by the public is the way people have adjusted to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. 

For some, the pandemic didn’t change life too drastically, as many of those who went into work to use their office simply switched to using their home computers, and other essential workers continued to do their jobs with masks on (with no increase in pay). This wasn’t the case, however, for those who were more severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 


For many people across the world, “adjustment” is a rather sugar-coated term to describe their life changes over the past year. Millions of people lost jobs, their passions, and the lives of friends & family. 

Entire industries, like the world of live music, were shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the people working in those industries were forced to find new ways to get by in the post-COVID world. 

Another industry shaken to its core by the pandemic was, of course, the film industry. However, certain adjustments were made, like AMC renting out their theaters to small parties and the uptick in drive-in theater patronage to keep the industry alive during the difficult time.

 One of the most drastic changes to the industry came when Warner Bros. announced its 2021 movies would release on HBO Max when they hit any open theaters in 2021. 

In theaters & streaming

Warner Bros. announced in late 2020 they’d release their movies via HBO Max the following year – the first being the long-awaited Wonder Woman 1984 which dropped on Christmas just before 2021 came to us.

Audiences took advantage of watching new Warner Bros. movies on HBO Max for the allotted time the company allowed them to stream alongside release dates. However, all things Warner Bros. are about to change.

Stopping streaming

Polygon reported this week Warner Bros. will stop streaming its new movies on HBO Max alongside theatrical releases in 2022. Furthermore, Warner Bros. signed a deal with the owner of Regal Cinemas making sure their films will run for at least forty-five days in theaters before they’ll be available anywhere to stream (legally).

In addition to the exclusive new deal, Regal Cinemas will screen Warner Bros. 2021 catalogue of movies alongside their 2022 releases in the coming year. The change in Warner Bros. releases has audiences wondering what has caused such a massive change in the company’s policies.

Why stop?

We can only imagine Warner Bros. will stop releasing their movies on HBO Max when they’re released as a result of vaccine rollouts across the country, seemingly indicating a drop in risk of spreading the coronavirus in movie theaters in 2022. 

This change comes alongside other examples of relaxed restrictions across the U.S. underscored by events like the stadium-filled 2021 Super Bowl and live music events planned for the upcoming summer.

Despite the seeming indication theaters will be filling up in 2022, it’s hard to say just what will happen with the growing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, as variants of the virus are covered in the news with each passing day.

Others wonder if when HBO Max drops Warner Bros. movies, the streaming giant will take a hit from lack of viewership. It’s hard to say just how HBO Max will be affected by Warner Bros.’ new policy, but we can only imagine HBO Max will do just fine without Warner Bros.’ new movies – the platform still holds exclusive rights to some of the most beloved series on TV, including Game of Thrones & Westworld

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