Wonder Woman 1984 isn’t skipping theatres or moving to 2021, but is altering course. The last big blockbuster holdout of 2020 is still opening in US theatres on Christmas Day but will also be made available to HBO Max subscribers free of charge for its first month, Warner Bros. said Thursday.
The film will also debut in international theatres on December 16. Sharing the news with fans, lead star Gal Gadot took to Twitter. She wrote, “IT’S TIME. We’ve all waited a long time for this one to come. I can’t tell you how excited I am for all of you to see this movie. It wasn’t an easy decision and we never thought we’d have to hold onto the release for such a long time but Covid rocked all of our worlds. We feel the movie has never been so relevant and we hope that it’ll bring some joy, hope and love to your hearts. Wonder Woman 1984 is a special one for me and I can only hope it’ll be as special to you too. We’ve put our hearts and souls into it. So.. you can watch it IN THEATERS (they’re doing an amazing job keeping it safe) and you can watch it on HBOMax from your homes. Sending you my love. Please keep safe and wear a mask. Happy holidays to all of us! Let the light shine in.”
Director Patty Jenkins also shared a note on the same. “THE TIME HAS COME. At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else. We love our movie as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little bit of joy and reprieve to all of you this holiday season. 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 in the safety of your home on HBOMAX where it is not. Happy holidays to all of you. We hope you enjoy our film as much as we enjoyed making it,” she wrote.
Fans have been protesting on social media against the film’s release on HBO Max. Some are even miffed that countries without HBO Max are not taken into consideration. A fan asked Patty, “Patty, do you know how long the movie will be at theaters? weeks? months? and what about countries that don’t have hbomax and the cinemas are not opened?” Responding to them she wrote, “Good question. We have plans to hold it in theaters for quite a long time, and hopefully long enough that it will still be there when theaters all over the world ARE open.”
After the first month for free on HBO Max, Wonder Woman 1984 will play in theatres for an additional few weeks before being made available for rental on demand.
It is an unprecedented strategy for a film of its size, but a sign of the extraordinary measures that many Hollywood studios have had to resort to in the Covid-19 era. Most major films that had been set for 2020 have either delayed theatrical releases until 2021 or sent them to streaming platforms for a premium rental price, as the Walt Disney Co. did with Mulan.
Wonder Woman 1984 is a major tentpole for Warner Bros. The first film made over $821 million globally in 2017 and this sequel which brings back director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot has been hotly anticipated.
Warner Media CEO Jason Killar said that they will be measuring the performance of the film in “an entirely new way.” “A little over four million fans in the U.S. enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie on its opening day in 2017. Is it possible for that to happen again this Christmas with Wonder Woman 1984 between theatres and HBO Max?” Killar wrote Wednesday. “We are so excited to find out, doing everything in our power to provide the power of choice to fans.”
(With inputs from AP)