‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Sets Same-Day Theatrical and HBO Max Streaming Release Plan

Warner Bros. has devised a new release plan for Hollywood’s last remaining 2020 tentpole.
"Wonder Woman 1984"
"Wonder Woman 1984"
Warner Bros.

Despite weeks of wondering if 2020’s last remaining tentpole was going to pull out of theaters altogether, Patty Jenkins’ much-anticipated sequel “Wonder Woman 1984” has staked out a different kind of plan. Warner Bros. has announced that the film will hold on to its Christmas Day release, with a caveat: it will also start streaming on December 25 on HBO Max. The film will be available for a month on HBO Max in the U.S. included at no additional cost to subscribers.

Additionally, in a tweet, Jenkins confirmed that the film would be available both in open theaters and on HBO Max on December 25. “Wonder Woman 1984” will open in international markets on December 16. A new trailer also included the updated release details, including its HBO Max availability.

This move comes after the studio pushed its other 2020 heavy-hitter, Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” adaptation, from December to October of next year. Earlier this month, Disney also moved its remaining 2020 tentpole features, including “Death on the Nile,” to 2021, effectively leaving “Wonder Woman 1984” as the lone 2020 tentpole.

“As we navigate these unprecedented times, we’ve had to be innovative in keeping our businesses moving forward while continuing to super-serve our fans,” said Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, in an official statement. “This is an amazing film that really comes to life on the big screen and, working with our partners in the exhibition community, we will provide that option to consumers in the U.S. where theaters are open. 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.

Like many other major 2020 tentpoles, Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” sequel has gone through a multitude of release date changes in recent months. The movie was originally scheduled for release on December 13, 2019 before being moved up to November 1, 2019. Jenkins’ first “Wonder Woman” film was a box office summer smash in 2017, so Warner Bros. then moved the sequel to June 5, 2020 in hopes of recapturing that summer seasonal magic.

The pandemic eventually pushed Warner Bros. to move the sequel first to August 14, 2020, then to October 2, 2020, followed by a planned Christmas Day release. The first “Wonder Woman” was highly dependent on the U.S. box office, as 50 percent of its gross was domestic, so it is important for Warner Bros. to maintain the film’s theatrical release.

Despite reports that “Wonder Woman 1984” could bypass the big screen and head straight to streaming, Warner Bros. has repeatedly confirmed that the DC tentpole will indeed get a full theatrical run. This new plan offers a compelling hybrid, and should serve as an interesting experiment of the future of movie-going.

The film finds star Gal Gadot reprising her role as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, an immortal Amazon princess warrior. She is joined by co-stars from the first film, including Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, and Robin Wright, plus a pair of fresh villains in the form of franchise newbies Kristen Wiig as Cheetah and Pedro Pascal as Max Lord.

While the DCEU feature brings back so many of the elements that made Jenkins’ 2017 “Wonder Woman” such a smash hit — Jenkins back behind the camera, Gadot, Pine, and Wright in front of it — its makers have cautioned that it’s not a traditional sequel. Jenkins has reiterated that this next film is just another “chapter” in the ongoing story of Wonder Woman.

Additional reporting from Tom Brueggemann.

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