Wonder Woman 1984 will still have its theatrical release, but pandemic-wary moviegoers will have another option, too
One of the industries where the pandemic has had the greatest impact is movies and TV — in the spring, production was shut down on just about every major project, delaying new season of our favorite shows and release dates for blockbusters all year long. Now, movie theaters are back open, but the pandemic is surging. So what will movie lovers do when Wonder Woman 1984 comes out next month? Apparently, they’ll have options.
According to a new announcement from Warner Bros., the studio behind the movie, Wonder Woman 1984 will still be the only major film to get a widespread theatrical release this year. However, since many Americans are still wary of going to theaters amid record virus case surges nationwide, it will also premiere on HBO Max on the same day, Dec. 25.
“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,” WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group CEO Ann Sarnoff said.
What’s even more exciting is that, unlike other films that were released on streaming platforms instead of in theaters this year because of the pandemic (like Mulan), Wonder Woman 1984 will be available for HBO Max subscribers to watch for one month at no extra cost. It’s completely included in their subscription, which costs around $15 a month.
Movie fans who have been looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman immediately applauded the move.
Patty Jenkins, the movie’s director, tweeted that anyone who can safely see Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters should definitely do so, but in the U.S., where daily new cases are breaking records almost daily, and deaths are on the rise, that likely won’t be possible anywhere by the end of December.
HBO Max is only six months old, so this move is likely meant to drive signups to the platform.
“We will be paying close attention to the numbers of families and fans diving into HBO Max,” WarnerMedia Chief Jason Kilar wrote in a blog post about Wonder Woman‘s release. “We certainly anticipate that a portion of fans will choose to enjoy Wonder Woman 1984 that way on opening day and beyond.”
Releasing a new movie like this on a streaming platform would have been unheard of before the coronavirus pandemic. But with many theaters still closed, and many moviegoers afraid of sharing such close quarters with strangers, movie studios have just been unable to get the financial return they need from theatrical releases this year. Whether this will change the movie industry even after the pandemic is over remains to be seen.