The event, which is open to all HBO Max subscribers watching on a Chrome web browser, is set to kick off on the Scener website at 4PM PT/7PM ET. Snyder will give a video introduction and also be part of conversation throughout the four-hour runtime. After the event, HBO Max subscribers will be able to create their own watch parties in March and April via Scener.
The “Snyder Cut,” as the film was dubbed online during a groundswell of fan interest in a new take on the 2017 film. While the original met with mixed critical and commercial results, genre fans felt the potential of the DC comic book mash-up had yet to be realized. Unlike other Warner Bros films on HBO Max, a theatrical release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is not in the near-term plans, though the director has said he has prepped an Imax-ready version of the longer cut.
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Scener’s setup synchronizes viewing so that all viewers can share the experience and enter text into a chat window on the screen’s right-hand side. The Seattle-based company had previously worked with HBO and HBO Max, with Game of Thrones a top draw for group viewing. It has also hosted watch parties for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+. Viewers on mobile and desktop devices, whether Windows, Mac or Chromebook, can access Scener.
“I’m excited to finally share my vision for ‘Justice League’ in a virtual screening with our incredible fanbase who, through the power of community and an inspiring grassroots campaign, played a major role in making this premiere possible,” Snyder said in a press release.
Joe Braidwood, Scener’s co-founder and chief operating officer, told Deadline in an interview that the site is technologically capable of handling any level of viewership. He said “tens of thousands” would be a likely minimum turnout, given the robust online and social media conversation about the superhero film over recent years.
The watch party will likely have an intermission, Braidwood said, with the potential for cast members in attendance to take part in “fun, interactive moments” to be determined. Snyder’s introduction is slated for about 20 minutes. Scener plans a two-tier moderation system, with VIPs and general audience members handled separately. The company has various tech tools to prevent its events from being hijacked by hackers, Braidwood said.
Disney has brought the watch party concept in-house, adding GroupWatch last fall as a social viewing feature on Disney+. Unlike Scener or other browser extensions, GroupWatch is available on a wide range of connected devices, but it allows a very limited number of emojis to be used instead of text. Hulu and Amazon are also testing group viewing features they built into their own interfaces.
While movie theaters are gradually reopening, and the summer movie season appears to hold potential, the streaming boom of 2020 will likely have a lingering effect on the movie business. Braidwood said the Justice League event will be “another major leap forward for co-watching, cementing this format far beyond the pandemic-era as a movement that’s driving the future of streaming entertainment.”