It’s been a difficult year for Warner Bros at the box office, but it’s sticking to its 45-day cinema exclusive promise going forward.

Few movie studios have struggled to get a response together to the impact of the global pandemic in quite the way Warner Bros has. Its infamous decision to send its entire 2021 slate of movies to its HBO Max streaming service in the US on the same day they landed in cinemas has already cost it its 20-year relationship with Christopher Nolan for a start. But also, after an initial success with Godzilla Vs Kong (still its highest grossing film of the year worldwide), its proven to be a year of more misses than hits.

Amongst the films that have fallen below expectations at the box office this year? There’s The Sopranos spin-off The Many Saints Of Newark, the excellent musical In The Heights, James Gunn’s much-liked The Suicide Squad and Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho. There have been bright spots, and the recent Dune has been one of them. But still, as much as the box office hurt, the studio has felt the benefits with its streaming service, as subscriber numbers have gone up from 12m in a year, to 69.4m.

HBO Max will be rolling out across the world over the coming months and years, but questions remain as to whether the studio’s movies would have done better at the box office without the streaming service premieres.

In 2022, we may just get a better idea. The studio, weighing up its last year or so, has re-committed to a 45 day theatrical release window for its slate next year, a line-up that’s very blockbuster-movie heavy. Its first 2022 feature is The Batman in March. Before that, both King Richard and The Matrix Resurrections are getting dual releases in the US. Quite what impact that has on their box office takings remains to be seen…

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