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At Least Ten Original Movies Are Coming To HBO Max In 2022

It's been said often, but it bears repeating: the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. From the decline of handshakes to the rise of telecommuting (which, true story, spurred a massive 143% increase in pajama sales, according to CNN), the global society is still playing catch-up in this odd new world. Businesses large and small were forced to evolve, often in ways that were both shocking and creative. With the worldwide closure of movie theaters, film industry executives needed to create new revenue streams. Eventually, after a long series of delays emptied out much of what had been, for many studios, their entire 2020 slate, the preferred option became to release directly to streaming platforms.

Warner Bros. made headlines late last year when it announced that all of its 2021 movies would be released in theaters and via streaming on HBO Max on the same day. The news rankled not only theater owners — who worried about lost revenue — but also the creative teams of many of the films, who felt their projects deserved their time in the sun on the silver screen. This dual release approach will end in 2022, according to Deadline, when Warner Bros. will return to giving its theatrical releases a period of exclusivity in cinemas, which will last 45 days. However, that doesn't mean the studio doesn't have plans to put more big films on HBO Max.

Now, Warner Bros. is making waves again with its latest announcement: the studio will produce at least 10 original movies for release on HBO Max in 2022 (via Variety).

Warner Bros. announcement reflects post-COVID changes

In truth, the news should not come as a shock. Streaming juggernauts such as Netflix and Amazon have been creating original films for their respective platforms for several years. 

The Warner Bros. announcement, however, is unique in that it's one of the first major movie studios to enter the streaming-only arena, and it will be interesting to see which projects Warner Bros. greenlights for streaming, and which ones go to theaters. Additionally, Warner Bros. has seen a large uptick in HBO Max subscriptions, adding 2.8 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2021 (via Variety), so expanding its exclusive content is a logical step.

There's no word yet as to exactly which projects will be coming to HBO Max next year. The studio has already announced that its upcoming "Batgirl" film, which just cast Leslie Grace as the titular hero, will be an HBO Max exclusive. With "Batgirl" beginning filming in late 2021, it's possible the DCEU film is one of the 10 projects included in the Warner Bros. announcement.

While Warner Bros. will continue to produce films for the big screen, the announcement clearly reflects a changing landscape for cinema at large.