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AT&T: Warner Bros. has new plans for 'Dune', 'Matrix 4'

( - AT&T's Warner Bros.
said on Friday that it plans to release its 2021 blockbusters via a unique distribution model, in which it will combine theatrical releases and video streaming.

This "hybrid" model, a response to the impact of the Covid pandemic and plummeting box-office numbers, means that upcoming movies like "Dune" or "Matrix 4" will be only available for one month on HBO Max, AT&T's streaming platform, before continuing in cinemas, in the US and internationally.

"No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do (...) but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the US will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021", said Ann Sarnoff, the CEO of WarnerMedia Studios.

Besides "Dune" and "Matrix 4", Warner has planned several new film releases next year, including "Tom & Jerry," "Godzilla vs. Kong," and "The Suicide Squad.".

Investors seemed to like the announcement, as AT&T shares were trading 1.8% higher on Friday, outperforming a 0.3% rise in the S&P 500 index.

Meanwhile, the Netflix stock was up 0.8%, while cinema chains' shares, like AMC, dropped more than 2% in morning trading.

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