AT&T claims the hybrid release of “Wonder Woman 1984” over Christmas helped HBO Max double its activations to 17.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, which could bode well for the streamer as “Wonder Woman 1984” was just the beginning of its controversial HBO Max release model. Every Warner Bros. movie included on the studio’s 2021 slate will open in theaters on the same day it becomes available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days. Warner Bros. is touting the release model with a 2021 sizzle reel full of new footage from over a dozen big releases.
Included in the Warner Bros. 2021 trailer is footage from David Chase’s highly anticipated “Sopranos” prequel movie “The Many Saints of Newark,” which the studio recently delayed from March to September 24, 2021. The film stars Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, father of Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) from the original HBO series, but it’s young Tony Soprano who is front and center in the trailer footage (see image above). Young Tony is played by Michael Gandolfini, son of late Tony Soprano actor James Gandolfini.
In a recent interview with Variety, “Many Saints” actor John Magaro recalled meeting Chase for a role in the film and finding out the “Sopranos” creator was casting James Gandolfini’s son in his father’s iconic role. “I said, ‘No way,’” Magaro recalls. “And he said he came in [and] auditioned, and it’s scary how similar not just their looks, but manners are. Also he’s a fantastic actor.”
The Warner Bros. 2021 sizzle also includes footage from James Wan’s original horror movie “Malignant” (now dated for September 10) and the Wan-produced third “Conjuring” movie, subtitled “The Devil Made Me Do It.” Footage from Clint Eastwood’s new movie “Cry Macho” is also briefly glimpsed, as is the first look of Will Smith in “King Richard,” in which he stars as Venus and Serena Williams’ father and tennis coach.
The 2021 sizzle also includes plenty of previously-seen footage from Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” which means the tentpole is still heading to HBO Max despite criticism from Villeneuve himself over the decision. Legendary, the studio behind “Dune,” recently came to an agreement to allow fellow WB title “Godzilla vs. Kong” to stream on HBO Max, but Villeneuve has been adamant about releasing “Dune” in theaters only, saying a shift to HBO Max could “kill the franchise.”
No footage from “The Matrix 4” is included, but a title card confirms that sequel is also still set for a 2021 theater-HBO Max rollout. THR reported earlier this month “Matrix” filmmaker Lana Wachowski was also upset with the move of her film to HBO Max.
Watch Warner Bros.’ 2021 sizzle reel in the video below.