Despite reports that “Wonder Woman 1984” could bypass the big screen and head straight to streaming, Warner Bros. has confirmed to IndieWire that director Patty Jenkins’ DC tentpole will indeed get a full theatrical run. Even as studios such as Universal — which recently pushed the films “Emma,” “The Invisible Man,” and “The Hunt” to VOD platforms and announced a day-and-date release for “Trolls World Tour” — begin to modify their release strategies, Warners is sticking with its original plan to release the film nationwide.
Warner Bros. has not officially announced a shift in the release date, either, which is currently set for June 5, opening the gates to the summer movie season. With the current self-distancing and quarantine measures in place, studios are left unable to support their films with the requisite pageantry of junkets and premieres prohibited by social-gathering mandates.
Warners also hasn’t announced whether it will push the launch of its SVOD service HBO Max, set for sometime in May, but that won’t be the go-to destination for the “Wonder Woman” sequel, which follows up the 2017 comic book-based smash that racked up more than $820 million worldwide. In the film, Gal Gadot will reprise her role as the title heroine, and reunite with her co-stars Chris Pine, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen, but this time they’re joined by Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal.
Studios are scrambling to anticipate, or recoup, losses caused by quarantine measures. On Sunday night, both Los Angeles and New York announced the shuttering of all non-essential public spaces, and that included movie theaters. Other cities have followed swiftly as the coronavirus has now reached every state in the country.
Warners recently released another DC tentpole, “Birds of Prey,” on VOD ahead of schedule. What some saw as a box-office disappointment since the film opened on February 7, grossing $200 million globally, is now a streaming opportunity for the studio while people are stuck at home on their couches.
After first offering “Frozen 2” on its subscription service Disney+ way earlier than expected, rival studio Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures has attempted to rebound by offering “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” early on VOD platforms, and will make the Pixar family film “Onward” available for VOD purchase beginning tonight, Friday, March 20, at 5 p.m. PT. That film, which took a 73-percent drop last weekend amid theater shutdowns even while holding onto the top spot at the box office, will then head to Disney+ on April 3.