The big picture: The dual release approach is a direct result of the ongoing pandemic, which has decimated the movie theater industry in 2020. In all likelihood, we're probably getting an early glimpse of how things could work in the future should the virus situation not work itself out soon.

AT&T CEO John Stankey during a recent speaking engagement at the UBS Global TMT Conference revealed that HBO Max is up to 12.6 million activations, from just 8.6 million at the end of September. Better yet, engagement per week has grown 36 percent in the past 30 days.

AT&T's WarnerMedia division launched the HBO Max subscription video on-demand streaming service on May 27 with some 10,000 hours of content in tow including the full series run of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, South Park, Friends and The Big Bang Theory.

It was revealed last month that the upcoming film Wonder Woman 1984 will hit theaters and HBO Max on the same day (December 25) without any additional fees for streaming subscribers.

Those hoping to watch Wonder Woman 1984 for free, meanwhile, are out of luck as AT&T recently discontinued its HBO Max trial offer. Netflix and Disney did the same thing with their respective subscription services earlier this year.

HBO Max commands $14.99 per month although for a limited time, you can lock in a six-month subscription with a discount of more than 20 percent if you are willing to prepay six months in advance. The discount brings the monthly rate down to around $11.67 plus tax, but you'll have to shell out $69.99 up front.

Masthead credit: Ascannio