Warner Bros. Pictures announced on Wednesday a trio of theatrical release dates, most notably for the Mad Max prequel Furiosa.
The post-apocalyptic thriller, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy, will be released on June 23, 2023, with the Looney Tunes, live-action–animation hybrid Coyote Vs. Acme following on July 21 and the Color Purple music being released on December 20 of that year.
The announcement from Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich positioned the three films for theatrical releases, even as the studio has decided to simultaneously release its 2021 slate on its HBO Max streaming service.
The new release strategy helps clarify Warner Bros.’s stance regarding theatrical and streaming releases in the near future.
The studio came under fire early this month when it announced that all 17 of its films slated for release in 2021 would appear on its HBO Max service at the same time as they premiered in theatres.
Though the move was intended to shore up subscriptions for the fledgeling service, which has failed to live up to subscription expectations so far.
AMC Theatres blasted Warner Bros. decision, which sent its stock tumbling and could seriously damage the prospects of recovery for theatres if viewers can watch the new releases in the comfort of their homes on opening day.
Critics feared the strategy could irreparably harm theatrical distribution for a streaming model that still isn’t a proven money-maker.
Others questioned whether HBO Max would continue to simultaneously release films if theatres were able to rebound following distribution of the new coronavirus vaccines.
On Tuesday, Deadline reported that Legendary Entertainment, which financed 75 per cent of the upcoming Dune and Godzilla Vs. Kong releases were negotiation with Warner Bros. to get Dune to move back to an exclusively theatrical release since it’s expected to debut after herd immunity has been achieved thanks to the vaccine.
Godzilla Vs. Kong, which will be released in May, may still be a dual theatrical–streaming release, but the studio is negotiation to get a larger payday over fears that the lack of theatrical profits will hurt Legendary.
Warner Bros. has said its HBO Max strategy is only intended for 2021, and the new 2023 releases seem to cement that.
Anya Taylor-Joy, who recently starred on the acclaimed Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, will play the title character in Furiosa.
The character was introduced in Mad Max: Fury Road and portrayed by Charlize Theron, who received widespread acclaim for helping to revive the franchise.
The film will bring back longtime Mad Max director George Miller while adding new cast members Chris Hemsworth and Watchmen’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Miller wrote the screenplay and will produce it with Doug Mitchell.
Coyote Vs. Acme is based on the iconic Looney Tunes character and his never-ending battles with the Roadrunner.
The film is written by Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn, Jeremy Slater, Jon Silberman, Josh Silberman, and Samy Burch, and it’s based on the humour piece Coyote V. Acme by Ian Frazier.
The piece was originally published in the New Yorker and imagines an opening statement delivered in court by an attorney representing Wile E. Coyote as he sues the fictional Acme company for selling his numerous fault gadgets and explosives.
The Color Purple is based on the Tony Award-winning musical, which was adapted from Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film.
The movie was a critical and commercial hit and helped launch star Whoopi Goldberg’s career, while also featuring strong performances from Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey.
The new musical adaptation will be directed by Blitz Bazawule and produced by Winfrey for her Harpo Films banner and Spielberg for Amblin Entertainment, along with Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones.