Wonder Woman 1984 will allegedly come out in theaters on Dec. 25, but behind the scenes, Warner Bros. is considering another delay—or potentially an early release on the studio’s in-house streaming service, HBO Max.
Deadline and Variety both report that Warner Bros. is on the brink of announcing a new release plan for the Wonder Woman sequel. This isn't a huge surprise, given the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. It now seems implausible for a studio to release a major blockbuster in December, with Disney removing its star-studded Agatha Christie adaptation Death on the Nile from its December schedule last week.
According to Variety's source at Warner Bros., Wonder Woman 1984 definitely won't be a streaming-only release. The two most likely options are either delaying the release date until next summer or releasing Wonder Woman as planned on Dec. 25, followed by an early HBO Max release in January. Deadline also suggested the possibility of a simultaneous theatrical/HBO Max release.
In a normal year, this could have been a billion-dollar movie. As it stands, Wonder Woman 1984 might not break even at the box office. Theatrical ticket sales are down and will obviously drop even further if more lockdowns are implemented. Meanwhile, from an ethical standpoint, encouraging people to go to the cinema is downright irresponsible.
At the same time, there's no evidence for traditional blockbusters making bank on streaming services either. Disney's Mulan experiment failed, and it's hard to imagine tens of millions of people signing up for HBO Max just to watch Wonder Woman 1984. Then again, that's what Warner Bros. seems to be hoping for with Zack Snyder's Justice League, which will cost an estimated $70 million for an HBO Max release. Maybe Warner Bros. is playing the long game to get as many people on HBO Max as possible, even if it means some short-term losses for individual films.
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