Warner Bros. has announced that the American superhero film Wonder Woman 1984 will have a dual release in US theatres and on HBO Max for US audiences on December 25. The HBO Max release is limited to 31 days.
The decision to simultaneously release the film on the streaming site comes in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The film releases worldwide on December 16.
We’re thrilled to bring Wonder Woman 1984 to you this Christmas – in theaters and on @hbomax. Here’s our CEO, Jason Kilar, on this unprecedented decision for unprecedented times: https://t.co/HrJF3uUmtM pic.twitter.com/f9U7A7vFjk
— WarnerMedia (@WarnerMedia) November 19, 2020
CEO Jason Kilar confirmed that the unprecedented decision for a simultaneous release was due to the pandemic, even though this would “[entail] a patchwork of regulations, geographic considerations and, most importantly, fan preferences.”
While over 50% of theatres have reopened in the US, all major films have delayed their theatrical releases to 2021. This includes Disney’s Marvel line-up- Black Widow, Shang-Chi and Legend of the Ten Rings, Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion, and Warner Bros. The Batman, The Suicide Squad and Space Jam: A New Legacy.
The last big theatrical release of this year was Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, featuring Robert Pattinson and John David Washington. The film released in August and made $207 million worldwide, a figure only slightly higher than its $200 million production budget. Meanwhile, the domestic market in the US contributed a mere $29.5 million in ticket sales, as per a CNBC report.
With rising cases of Covid-19 in metropolitan cities like New York City, major theatres have been closed, resulting in a 40% to 60% dip in ticket sales, according to CNBC.
“We realize that a lot of consumers can’t go back to the movies due to the pandemic, so we also want to give them the option to see Wonder Woman 1984 via our HBO Max platform,” said Kilar. He added, “In the United States, we will also be making this remarkable movie available on HBO Max at no extra cost the same day that Wonder Woman 1984 premieres in theaters, for the first month of the film’s release.”
The film will be a sequel to the 2017 film Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, and will see Gal Gadot and Chris Pines reprise their roles as Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, respectively. While the film was scheduled to release in summer this year, a theatrical release was delayed after theatres across the world closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Anticipating safety concerns, Jenkins and Gadot urged fans to return to theatres, and highlighted that theatres were being sanitised regularly.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) November 18, 2020
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) November 19, 2020