Regal Owner Reacts to Warner Bros.' Streaming Move, Looks Forward to Deal on “Proper Window and Terms”

Courtesy of Cineworld

Cineworld in London's Leicester Square

"WB will look to reach an agreement about the proper window and terms that will work for both sides," Cineworld said in a statement.

Regal owner Cineworld Group has reacted to Warner Bros.’ move to shift its entire 2021 slate of films for a simulataneous release on HBO Max and in U.S. theaters by looking beyond the pandemic to an eventual agreement with the Hollywood studios on windowing.

“Cineworld was aware of WB’s plan to release Wonder Woman directly to its streaming service, which has been announced at a time when our cinemas remain closed in the US (Regal) and UK (Cineworld)," the UK-based exhibitor said as it painted the backdrop for Warner Bros. choosing a day-and-date release for all of its 2021 features.

Cineworld then looked the promise of a coronavirus vaccine and the return of audiences in big numbers to the local multiplex post-pandemic. "This will generate significant relief for our industry and enable our cinemas to make a great comeback," the exhibition giant said.

Cineworld previously criticized Comcast-owned NBCUniversal's Universal Pictures for pushing ahead with a premium VOD rollout of Trolls World Tour amid the pandemic. But Warner Bros. shattering the theatrical window with its HBO Max bet has shifted Cineworld's negotiating stance.

"We believe that at such a time WB will look to reach an agreement about the proper window and terms that will work for both sides. Big movies are made for the big screen and we cannot wait to reopen our cinemas in Q1 in order to offer our customers, as always, the best place to watch a movie," the company said.

Cineworld has faced steep quarterly losses and revenue drops amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, which led to cinema closures worldwide and the delay of Hollywood tentpole releases to 2021 or a move online to streaming platforms.