Warner Bros. reconsidering theatrical releases in wake of Coronavirus

Warner Bros. announced yesterday that its latest Scooby Doo feature, Scoob, is forgoing the theaters and instead will be released May 15 on digital platforms. In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Warner’s parent company, AT&T, suggested this could be more of the new norm.

Scoob will be available to rent for $19.99, but it can also be outright purchased for $24.99. This is a big change from the normal model of a 6-8 months theatrical window before releasing the film to rent and then to buy. AT&T COO John Stankey said theater’s extended closure during the Coronavirus pandemic has changed things including consumer behavior and expectations, according to Variety,

“We’re rethinking our theatrical model. We’re accelerating efforts consistent with the rapid changes in consumer behavior from the pandemic,” Stankey said. “We’re focused on finding and leveraging the new normal across all of our operations.”


Previously, Warner Bros. reiterated its commitment to the theatrical experience by announcing the highly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 would still debut in theaters rather than going the digital route. While some states, including Georgia, want to risk a secondary spread of the virus by opening this weekend, movie studios don’t seem to be in a rush to roll send new films along yet.

Scoob indicates a slight change in the mindset, but this might be the last film to ditch the theaters altogether in 2020. What do you think?

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.