The news comes as Regal prepares to open.

Warner Bros. has shocked Hollywood by announcing that its entire 2021 film series will premiere on HBO Max on the same day as its theatrical release. The decision sent shockwaves through the film industry and earned the studio the ire of famous directors like Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve, whose upcoming film Dune was part of the deal. There now seems to be a glimmer of hope that the studio will nip the deal in the bud early next year.

With vaccinations underway and hopes for a return to normalcy, Warner Bros. will return to an exclusive window for the films. Deadline reports that Regal Cinemas, which closed last year, will reopen after 6 months to screen Godzilla vs. Kong. Under Regal’s agreement with Warner Bros. the studio must give its films due for release in 2022 45 days of exclusivity in cinemas before they can be released.

This window has been halved from the normal interval of 90 days. But it does give Regal some relief at a time when theaters are starved for content. Of course, Warner Bros. will try to forge similar partnerships with other cinemas; after all, Regal’s exclusivity doesn’t mean much if the studio doesn’t pursue it in all cinema chains.

Mookie Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, which owns Regal, was optimistic about the deal.

We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with Warner Bros. This agreement demonstrates the studio’s commitment to the film industry, and we view it as an important milestone in our 100-year relationship with Warner Bros.

We have long awaited this moment when we can welcome audiences into our Royal Theatres and resume our important role in the communities we serve. Because the health and safety of our customers, employees, and community is a top priority, we continue to take every precaution and follow our CinemaSafe policies to ensure a safe and comfortable experience with confidence.

Greidinger also said the deal is based on Warner Bros’ understanding of its 2022 lineup and will not rely solely on the strength of a single film. The studio currently has several tentpole projects planned for next year, including DCEU films like The Flash, Aquaman 2 and Batman. Hopefully this will give the filmmakers a much needed break.

I would even venture to say that some directors are hoping that their films will be delayed until 2022 to get the exclusivity. Matrix 4 stands the best chance, as it’s already scheduled for a theatrical release in December 2021, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Denis Villeneuve finds a way to push Dune to 2022.

In the meantime, tell me what you think of this movement. Can Warner Bros. really pull this off? Is it possible to put the spirit of the day and date back in the bottle? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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