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Warner Bros. Just Dealt Movie Theaters Another Huge Blow

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Warner Bros. Just Dealt Movie Theaters Another Huge Blow

Struggling movie theaters had high hopes 2021 would be a turnaround year due to a strong slate of movie releases.

In the latest blow to the industry, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and its Warner Bros. studio unit said Thursday it will simultaneously stream its films next year on its platform.

What To Know: Warner Bros. said all of its films scheduled for theatrical release in 2021 will be offered simultaneously on its HBO Max streaming platform, Reuters reported. Some of the more anticipated films include "Mortal Kombat," the "Matrix" sequel and "Godzilla vs. Kong."

Theaters aren't finding any solace in Warner's decision to only stream new films for one month.

Related Link: AMC CEO Talks Movie Theater Reopening Plans: 'Monumental Step Forward'

Why It's Important: Warner Bros.' executives noted its decision is based on the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Warner Bros. expects movie theaters to continue struggling into next year.

"We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021," said WarnerMedia Studios and Networks chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff.

Stock Reaction: As one would expect, shares of movie theater giant AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE: AMC) suffered a harsh sell-off of more than 15% following the announcement.

Shares of Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) are down nearly 20%.

Imax Corp (NYSE: IMAX) was the least impacted as the stock was down 7.7%.

 

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