Warner Bros.’ strategy of releasing movies to theaters and HBO Max on the same day is very popular with consumers, according to a new survey

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‘Wonder Woman 1984.’ Clay Enos/Warner Bros.
  • A new survey suggests Warner Bros.’ HBO Max movie strategy is popular among consumers.
  • Another survey found that respondents would be more likely to subscribe to Paramount Plus if they could watch new movies.
  • It could mean big changes for how studios release movies even after the pandemic.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When Warner Bros. announced in December that it would release all of its 2021 movies simultaneously to theaters and on parent company WarnerMedia’s flagship streaming service, HBO Max, it rocked Hollywood.

But a new survey suggests that the strategy is very popular with consumers, which could have a lasting impact on how movie studios release films.

A Morning Consult survey for The Hollywood Reporter of 2,200 US adults, conducted from February 25 to February 28, found that 90% of respondents who subscribed to HBO Max would be more likely to subscribe to a streaming service if they included new movies made available to stream the same day they arrived in theaters (at no extra cost to subscribers). 64% of respondents who did not currently subscribe to HBO Max said the same.

It’s good news for WarnerMedia’s plan. Warner Bros. movies will stream for one month at no extra cost before they leave the service for an exclusive theatrical run, including blockbusters like “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “The Suicide Squad.”

But it’s also a potential game-changer for Hollywood in general. Media companies like WarnerMedia, Disney, and ViacomCBS have reorganized around their streaming businesses and the success of that strategy could determine how these companies release movies even after the pandemic.

Disney, for instance, announced on Tuesday that its streaming platform Disney Plus had surpassed 100 million global subscribers in just 16 months. The Disney brand obviously helped with that, as did blockbuster TV shows like “The Mandalorian” and “WandaVision.” But the company has also released tentpole movies like “Mulan” and Pixar’s “Soul” straight to the service, the former for an additional fee and the latter at no extra cost.

These studios are likely to make decisions on a movie-by-movie basis in the future, as the pandemic has shattered the traditional theatrical window. Universal has struck deals with theater chains like AMC Theatres, the world’s largest, to shrink the window from the typical 75 days to in most cases just 17, at which point the studio can choose to release movies to digital-rental platforms.

And while Paramount is not following Warner Bros.’ day-and-date strategy, some Paramount movies will debut 30 days to 45 days after they arrive in theaters on parent company ViacomCBS’ new service, Paramount Plus. Those include the long-delayed films “A Quiet Place Part II” and “Mission: Impossible 7.”

Another Morning Consult and Hollywood Reporter survey of 2,200 US adults, conducted from February 18 to February 21, found that only 29% of respondents were likely to subscribe to Paramount Plus. But 35% of respondents would be more likely to subscribe to the service to watch “Mission: Impossible 7.”