For months, we’ve been wondering just what Warner Bros. had planned for the release of WONDER WOMAN 1984; the Patty Jenkins film was one of the few remaining blockbusters still slated to hit theaters this year, and many were assuming that the studio would be delaying the film or even dropping it on the HBO Max streaming service. Well, it turns out that WONDER WOMAN 1984 is still slated to hit theaters on December 25, 2020, but it will also launch on HBO Max in the United States on the same day! The film will be availble at no extra cost to subscribers but will only stream for the first month of the film’s release. Patty Jenkins confirmed the news on Twitter, saying “Watch it in theaters, where it is made safe to do so (check out the great work theaters have done to make it so!) And available safety in your home on HBO Max where it is not. Happy holidays to all of you. We hope you enjoy our film as much as we did making it.“
The WONDER WOMAN sequel has certainly experienced its fair share of release date changes over the past year. It was once slated to hit theaters on December 13, 2019, before Warner Bros. actually being bumped it up to November 1, 2019 and then delayed it to June 5, 2020. As we know, COVID-19 came calling and closed theaters across the globe, forcing Warner Bros. to first push the film back to August 14th, then to October 2nd, and finally to December 25th. With so many delays, you can understand why Warner Bros. would just want to get the film out there, and with a simultaneous theatrical/streaming launch, those who feel comfortable going to the theater will be able to do so and everyone else will be able to watch from the comfort of their own homes. Where HBO Max is not available internationally, WONDER WOMAN 1984 will be playing in theaters, with Variety saying that it will actually open early on December 18th. I would imagine that other studios will be looking at this release very closely; we might be looking at the future taking shape right here.
In a press-release, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said that many things factored into this choice, including the pandemic (naturally), as well as “Our belief in the theatrical experience and, to that end, the importance of exhibitors; Our mission to be strong and supportive partners to Patty, Gal, producer Chuck Roven and the entire Wonder Woman 1984 team; And finally, the fans, which is where important decisions like this should always start and should always end.” Kilar added:
We believe this decision will bring several benefits. The first and most important benefit is to the fans in the form of unprecedented choice from day one. The second benefit is to the exhibitors, providing an eagerly anticipated movie at a much-needed time while they take precautions in their operations. Finally, we believe that our creative partners and ourselves will benefit from this decision, in the form of fan response both theatrically and via HBO Max in the U.S.
Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff told Variety last month that they were still committed to seeing WONDER WOMAN 1984 in theaters on Christmas Day, but that they had been watching conditions in the U.S. very closely before they made their final call. “It really is about how the U.S. continues to open, and whether there are any other surges,” Sarnoff said. “We’ve got a little bit of time to figure that out.” WONDER WOMAN 1984 will be bringing the action into the 1980s and find Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) facing off against Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) and The Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). Will you be checking WONDER WOMAN 1984 in theaters or on HBO Max?