Over the past year, the polling firm Morning Consult has tracked consumer interest in subscribing to HBO Max as well as other major streaming services. Parent company WarnerMedia made waves in the industry last December when they announced their intention to release every title in the 2021 Warner Bros. slate of movies both to theatres and HBO Max simultaneously. This announcement upset exhibitors in particular, who have relied on studios providing their new releases to theatres for an exclusive run, before they are made available online. In making this announcement, WarnerMedia’s CEO Jason Kilar stated that their day-and-date release strategy would apply to 2021 only, in response to the effect of the pandemic on moviegoing in theatres. He also emphasized the importance of HBO Max to the company’s long-term growth. In the Domestic market, HBO and HBO Max subscriptions totalled 44.2 million at the end of Q1 2021, up from 41.5 million at the end of Q4 2020.
Results from the most recent Morning Consult poll indicate that 30% of adults were likely to purchase an HBO Max subscription in the three days before the premiere of a day-and-date title, up from an average of 24% when polled last year. This “likely” percentage peaked at 39% in the three days just prior to the March 31 release of Godzilla Vs. Kong, which drove significant growth in new HBO Max subscriptions as well as pandemic-best results at the box office for theatres.