Casey Bloys, chief content officer for HBO and HBO Max. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo: Courtesy of HBO Max For most of 2020, things were not looking particularly great for HBO Max. Subscriber sign-ups were slower than expected, COVID-related production problems had delayed a big chunk of the planned launch slate, and behind-the-scenes corporate machinations had prompted the ouster of Robert Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, the WarnerMedia Entertainment execs most responsible for shaping the platform's rollout. While things were never really as bad as some dire headlines suggested, it was definitely not a picture-perfect launch. And then just like that, Project Popcorn popped into the picture. A year ago tomorrow, on December 3, 2020, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar dropped a bomb on Hollywood when he announced that all Warner Bros. 2021 feature films would stream on Max the same day they hit theaters. The initial reaction from film producers and their agents was scorching: Christopher Nolan famously denounced the move, declaring he and his peers had gone to bed the night before "thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service." The gnashing of teeth and rending of… Read full this story
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