Warner Bros. decision could impact East Texas movie theatres

Warner Bros. plans to release all 2021 films on HBO Max

Warner Impact

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas movie theatre owner says Warner Bros. decision to stream all of next year’s films could be bad for business.

Earlier this month, Warner Bros. announced they would stream all of their movies on HBO Max at the same time the films are playing in theatres.

“How it’ll impact us will really be decided by the consumer,” said Howard Charba, owner of Times Square Grand Slam in Tyler.

Charba said the decision comes after a difficult year for theatres following closures and a decrease in ticket sales due to COVID-19.

“It gives people a choice,” he said. “But it’s also betraying a lot of the directors and producers that were expecting a theatrical window, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Warner Brothers in doing damage control tries to renege on some of it depending on how this experiment with Wonder Woman goes.”

Charba is talking about the plan to release Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day in both theatres and on HBO Max, the same plan for all of the company’s films in 2021.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more smaller studios coming out with good, family-friendly type movies,” he said. “And I think they’re going to cut their nose off despite their face.”

And while business remains slow, Charba said he’s thankful for the other ways his business makes money like the arcade and bowling alley.

“Although we have struggled mightily, we don’t just rely on movies for a revenue stream. If we did, we’d be the same shape that those guys are in,” he said.

The other guys being theatre chains like AMC, whose Tyler location remains open only three days a week with plans for special holiday hours.

“We’re going to be fine, but it’s going to be very difficult,” Charba said. “And it’s going to be a very slow recovery.”

Copyright 2020 KLTV. All rights reserved.