Theaters may slash Warner movie ticket prices

A movie theater
(Photo by Nathan Engel/Pexels, Graphic by The Desk)

Some movie theaters are weighing the possibility of cutting tickets for Warner Bros.-distributed theatrical releases to $3 and $5 a piece over the next several months, according to a report.

The strategy comes as theater chain owners expressed outrage at AT&T subsidiary WarnerMedia for a recent decision to move its Christmas Day film “Wonder Woman 1984” and all 2021 theatrical releases on HBO Max the same day the films are released in theaters in the United States.

Movie theaters expressed disdain at the plan shortly after it was announced, saying it would deprive venues of much-needed cash, particularly as their businesses have suffered under the weight of the global health pandemic triggered by the novel coronavirus.

Some theater owners are now weighing the possibility of slashing tickets for Warner Bros. films to as little as $3 while pocketing between 75 percent and 80 percent of the profit, which would leave the studio with next to nothing.

The move was first reported Thursday morning by the entertainment trade publication Hollywood Reporter.

AT&T executives have indicated the decision to put its theatrical films on HBO Max is more of a short-term solution in response to the pandemic rather than a long-term strategy to capitalize on its budding direct-to-consumer relationships.

“We see an opportunity to do something firmly focused on the fans, which is to provide choice — whether that choice is to enjoy a great new movie out at the cinema, to open up HBO Max, or to do both.” Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

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