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WarnerMedia’s Kilar: We Should Have Given Hollywood a Heads-up About Day-and-date HBO Max Premieres

WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar.
(Image credit: WarnerMedia)

While WarnerMedia’s recent deal with theater-chain operator Cineworld Group seemed to strongly indicate its return to traditional theatrical release windows, the media conglomerate’s chief confirmed the move in an interview with Recode

Discussing the bigger titles on Warner Bros.’ 2022 movie slate, including reboot The Batman, Jason Kilar said, “It’s very fair to say that that would go exclusively to theaters first and then go to somewhere like an HBO Max after it’s in theaters.” 

Cineworld, which operates Regal Cinemas, outlined a deal in which Warner titles migrate to platforms including HBO Max 45 days after they debut in theaters. But Kilar’s comments mark the first actual confirmation from the studio. 

Kilar, meanwhile, took a bit of a victory lap in regard to his controversial decision in December to release Warner’s 2021 slate day-and-date on HBO Max. He cited last week’s debut of Godzilla vs. Kong, which generated nearly $50 million in domestic box office, while simultaneously garnering HBO Max’s highest level of viewing so far, as evidence that the strategy’s merit.

“There’s no doubt that it was bumpy back in early December of last year,” said Kilar, who was vilified by a number of WarnerMedia’s creative partners, including filmmaker Christopher Nolan. 

Kilar did say that if he could do it all over again, he’d have given these Hollywood denizens a little more of a heads-up about the day-and-date strategy. 

“If I had the chance to do it over again, I think it’s very fair to say that we would have taken a couple more days to see if we could have had even more conversations than we were able to have," Kilar said.