Warner Bros. Pictures announced theatrical release dates for three big event movies tonight — and their intention is that they’re going straight to the big screen, not HBO Max and theaters. Those three are the George Miller Max Max prequel Furiosa on June 23, 2023, Dave Green’s animated hybrid Coyote vs. Acme on July 21, 2023 and The Color Purple musical feature on Dec. 20, 2023. The announcement was made today by Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, and the intent is to launch the trio as global theatrical releases (not timed with a simultaneous HBO drop; which is the intent for their 2021 theatrical release).
It’s a nuanced announcement from the motion picture side of Warner Bros (sans any exec quotes) to indicate they’re not trying to meltdown exhibition coming out of the pandemic. Ever since Warners announced their radical 2021 day-and-date theatrical and streaming release strategy earlier this month, zoom calls at rival studios among execs have debated whether Warners will walk back their intended plan once they realize it’s not working halfway through the year, or literally transform themselves entirely into a Netflix-like studio with HBO Max taking the charge. Warners has said their intentions for the theatrical-HBO Max release strategy is for next year only.
This Friday, on Christmas Day, Wonder Woman 1984 hits both theaters and HBO Max at the same time, the first title which is part of the WarnerMedia release strategy experiment. However, it remains to be seen how public WarnerMedia will make their win-win (if there is one) from this situation: Of the 5,8K U.S./Canada theater supply, there’s only 2,4K movie theaters open — so don’t expect much for the DC sequel at the box office. If you go online, you’ll see HBO Max is aggressively advertising itself to non HBO subs on Facebook by offering the service for 20% off for the first 6 months when you pre-pay (total discounted price is $69.99).
Furious stars The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role, alongside Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Miller penned the script and produces alongside his longtime partner, Oscar-nominated producer Doug Mitchell (Mad Max: Fury Road, Babe).
Coyote vs. Acme features the the age-old rivalry between the Roadrunner nemesis and his preferred mail order supplier. The screenplay is from James Gunn, Jeremy Slater, Jon Silberman and Josh Silberman and Samy Burch, based on the Wile E. Coyote character and fictitious Acme corporation from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, and the fictional New Yorker magazine article entitled “Coyote v. Acme,” written by Ian Frazier. Former DreamWorks Animation boss and Tom & Jerry producer Chris DeFaria and Gunn are producing, the latter under his Two Monkeys, A Goat and Another, Dead, Monkey production banner.
The Color Purple musical feature is based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, and the film, as Deadline first told you, will be directed by Blitz Bazawule (Black is King, The Burial of Kojo, Cherish the Day), and produced by Oprah Winfrey under her Harpo Films production banner, Steven Spielberg under his Amblin Entertainment production banner, Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones. EPs are Alice Walker, Rebecca Walker, Mara Jacobs, Carla Gardini, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Adam Fell. The script is by Marcus Gardley (The Chi), with a score including music and lyrics from the stage musical by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. Both the new film itself and Gardley’s script are based on Alice Walker’s book, the 1985 Warner Bros. Pictures film and the stage musical.
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