BOSTON (CBS) – Warner Bros. Pictures on Thursday announced that all of its 2021 film slate will stream on HBO Max at the same time the films play in theaters. The films include a new “Matrix” movie, “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Tom and Jerry.”

The studio described the move as a one-year plan.

It is just the latest blow to the movie theatre industry which has been crippled by the pandemic.

“We’re all scared. I think it’s perfectly fine to admit that,” said Ian Judge, the Director of Operations for the Somerville Theatre and Capitol Theatre in Arlington.

Capitol Theatre in Arlington (WBZ-TV)

Judge and his colleagues were furloughed during the summer. Somerville Theatre is closed until further notice and Capitol Theatre is only open selling popcorn and ice cream. Still, Judge says do not roll the credits on cinema just yet.

“I mean to sit in the dark and let a movie envelope you. I think that is magical,” Judge said.

BIGFish Communications CEO and Emerson Professor David Gerzof Richard agrees that there will still be a place for movie theatres after the pandemic, even if some do not survive.

“At the end of the day, people are going to want to emerge from their homes and get out and get back to a normal life,” Gerzof Richard said.

Deborah Jaramillo, the Director of the Film and Television Studies Program at Boston University, worries that shifting more movies to streaming programs could limit access to films for some people.

“You know, there are folks who don’t have the resources to subscribe to a streaming service at all,” Jaramillo said.
She also wonders if some of the large movie theatres last through the pandemic.

“The only way I think to get through this is to either be owned by a conglomerate or be super, super creative,” she said.

Louisa Moller