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AT&T boss John Stankey defends Max Theatrical-HBO strategy; – Deadline

Despite industry dust over WarnerMedia’s controversial 2021 theatrical release strategy – HBO Max, according to AT&T CEO John Stankey, the move was “the right choice,” essentially “using the unfortunate set. of circumstances surrounding the pandemic for an opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons.

Asked this morning during the Q4 earnings call on the strategy’s long-term outlook, which began last month with the release of Wonder Woman 1984, Stankey launched into a defense. Although no audience figures have been revealed on WW1984 on HBO Max against its global gross of $ 148 million and above, AT&T reported that HBO Max subscriptions doubled in the fourth quarter to 17.2 million from the third quarter, largely due to WW1984.

HBO Max activations double in Q4 to 17.2 million, spurred on by “ Wonder Woman 1984 ”

“As we stated on delisting, we felt like we had a little bit of a mess here that needed to be used more effectively,” Stankey said of WarnerMedia’s film to take its full 2021 theatrical slate. and make it the day. and-date in theaters and on the nascent HBO Max streaming service at the same time.

While it was perceived that HBO Max’s day-and-date theatrical release strategy for the Warner Bros. 2021 slate set was indicative of the studio burning the house to stay warm, especially since it launched its streaming service, Stankey pointed out to the conglomerate. foresight in forecasting the theatrical market.

“The data points have arrived and are consistent with the assumptions,” Stankey said.

“We took a step back and thought about the theatrical activity. No one went to the movies in 2020. It was a pandemic. Just like nobody got on a plane, nobody went to hotels, nobody went to restaurants. All of these businesses have had a bit of dislocation because of it and the theatrical business has had a bit of dislocation, ”added Stankey.

“You saw that other studios continued to launch snowplough launchers in the second half of the year, which supports our point of view. We’ll see a crowded theatrical field in late 2021 and early 2022, ”said Stankey,“ We ​​don’t think that by magic just because there’s more content in theaters at the same time, it’s going to increase. dramatically the movie population at this time, ”Stankey said.

He added: “In some cases maybe the media and press dynamics were a bit oversold or intense on both ends of the spectrum in my opinion. We told you that when the team decided to make this move, it was appropriate for this moment. The team made the call. It was a bold and aggressive swing, it was done with a lot of thought into what needed to happen with the subscriber base.

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