I’m still waiting for evidence Warner Bros’ dual release strategy was a successful one because if one were to judge by the returns for Tenet (which might have had something to do with Christopher Nolan releasing his next movie via Universal), Wonder Woman 1984 (which supposedly had a budget around $200 million, yet earned almost $167 million), The Suicide Squad, Cry Macho (the western starring and directed by Clint Eastwood earned just over $14 million and while I don’t know it’s production costs there’s no way on Earth that it’s in the black), The Matrix Resurrections (which has only been out for less than a week though is underperforming, especially compared to Spider-Man: No Way Home, despite being released five days earlier in Mexico) failing at the box office.
And speaking of box office, I understand that the pandemic has changed the metrics that studios are working with to determine if a movie is profitable (in the past 2x production costs was a break even point though didn’t necessarily make a movie successful because promotional costs can easily add millions more; in some instances even as much as the movie itself cost to produce).
Nowadays? Studios seem to be working with the 2x metric, which makes Dune a success (though by no means a huge one. In fact, a relatively small budget of $166 million is it’s saving grace in if it were to have cost $200 million it would have likely not have made a profit using this metric (having earned almost $394 million during it’s theatrical run).
Now, I don’t doubt that first run movies launching simultaneously on Warner Media’s streaming platform, HBOMax, might have pumped up subscriber numbers but it’s akin to a drug high in that it’s likely to not only prove fleeting, but unsustainable (especially when first run movies no longer premiere on the streaming service).
What I find particularly interesting is that piracy is apparently no longer of any longer a concern for Warner Bros; and while I have seen no figures about such things I wouldn’t be shocked to find their movies are among the most pirated because that seems like a logical result of a strategy that seemingly encouraged it.
Either way, based on the examples I’ve sited, Warner Bros sacrificed their 2021 production slate to buttress their streaming channel, HBOMax, which sounds like a failure to me as someone who appreciates the theatergoing experience.