WONDER WOMAN 1984 to Debut Both in Theaters and on HBO Max
By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer
Despite the ever-shifting schedules for Blockbuster movies due to COVID-19, fans of D.C.’s Wonder Woman can now watch WONDER WOMAN 1984 on Christmas Day after all.
As the market struggled and more studios chose to delay theatrical releases, Warner Bros. announced that the superhero sequel would premiere in the U.S. on the streaming service HBO Max alongside its theatrical release on Dec. 25.
HBO Max is not available everywhere internationally, but WONDER WOMAN 1984 will hit cinemas one week earlier, on Dec. 16. The movie will stream on HBO Max for a month at no additional cost to subscribers.
“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 of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, which includes Warner Bros. Pictures. “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.”
Although many expected WONDER WOMAN 1984 to be one of the most successful theatrical releases of 2020, the various delays made the movie’s move to digital release unsurprising.
Though not ideal for theater owners, the hybrid release could offer struggling theaters a lifeline.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said that the company believes in the exhibition community and have shown their support with TENET’s debut earlier this year despite box office perils.
“We believe in theaters because hundreds of millions of fans around the world value going to the movies,” Kilar said. “And for as long as fans seek out the theatrical experience, we will be there to serve them with great movies in partnership with exhibitors.”
The movie’s debut on HBO Max, instead of postponing the film again until next year, means a substantial sacrifice at the box office.
“The time has come,” WONDER WOMAN director Patty Jenkins wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Jenkins continued: “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 HBO Max where it is not. Happy holidays to all of you. We hope you enjoy our film as much as we enjoyed making it.”
WONDER WOMAN was a critical and commercial success in 2017 and generated over $800 million at the global box office.
Movieguide® awarded WONDER WOMAN as one of the Best Movies for Mature Audiences at the 26th Annual Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards Gala and 2018 Report to the Entertainment Industry.
“We appreciate how patient audiences have been and given the great anticipation around WONDER WOMAN 1984. We are grateful to be able to make this terrifically entertaining movie widely available in these challenging times,” said Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group.
WarnerMedia’s Kilar hopes that fans will receive the second installment with a similar love for the first.
“Is it possible for that to happen again this Christmas with WONDER WOMAN 1984 between theaters and HBO Max?” Kilar asked. “We are so excited to find out, doing everything in our power to provide the power of choice to fans.”