Shattering movie-release norms, AT&T Inc.'s (T) Warner Bros. on Thursday said it will release 17 films -- including "Dune," "The Matrix 4" and "The Suicide Squad" -- to its HBO Max streaming service for 31 days the same day they debut on the silver screen. News of Warners' move sent shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC) down sharply 18%. The unprecedented strategy comes amid the worst stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the closure of movie theaters nationwide. Warner previously said "Wonder Woman 1984" will be available on HBO Max as well as theaters on Dec. 25. The studio's slate of 2021 releases include the aforementioned three movies plus "Godzilla vs. Kong" and "Space Jam: A New Legacy." The bold moves come as Warner Bros. competes with streaming services from Apple Inc. (AAPL), Walt Disney Co. (DIS), Netflix Inc. (NFLX), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and others as more Americans view their entertainment from digital devices.
-Jon Swartz; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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