All the best happy endings have a plot twist. So it is in the real-life film business. Cinemas battered by forced closures, nervous consumers staying home, and Hollywood studios delaying the blockbuster releases they depend on, had hoped miracle drugs could save them from extinction. Good news on coronavirus vaccines recently sent shares soaring in debt-laden cinema groups such as AMC, Cineworld and Cinemark.

But they plunged last week after Warner Bros said it would debut its films in the US next year simultaneously in cinemas and, for a month, on its HBO Max streaming service...

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