It appears that Wonder Woman 1984 will be keep its Christmas Day release date. But, in addition to theaters, the film will also drop onto HBO Max at the same time. While this isn't great news for the film itself — it will in no way gross what it needs to with this release strategy — it is good news for consumers who have been waiting all year for some kind of tentpole film. This report comes after Warner Brothers' YouTube account accidentally dropped a public video that they immediately made private as well as confirmation from Variety.
Wonder Woman grossed $800 million in 2017. It's unclear if Warner Brothers is hoping for a Christmas miracle or just looking for some way to put some revenue on the books at the end of 2020. The former seems like a strange business motivation given how hard Tenet struggled. And that was with more hope in theaters (and more of than open) than we have today.
This decision comes on the heels of large numbers of United States cinemas closing their doors due to occupancy limits, lack of consumer interest, and the inability to ensure the safety of their staff as a result of the pandemic. Theater owners have been pleading with congress for a theatrical industry bailout since early on in our national pandemic saga. The move will also help Warner Bros. drive subscriptions to HBO Max which, while a solid platform, is struggling to keep up with other major streamers like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+. Unfortunately, sub numbers don't count toward box office revenue, and it kind of sucks to see a female led (and directed) film stuck in the 2020/COVID meatgrinder.
It's also going to mark the first 4K streaming on HBO Max, a feature that's been missing from the service since launch.
The film will still release in theaters in international markets where HBO Max is unavailable, but the exact release date is currently unknown.
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