Wonder Woman 1984, one of the last big blockbusters to grace 2020, will be released in theaters and HBO Max the same day of its release on December 25th.
Warner Bros. confirmed in a press statement that the movie, which premiers on the international market on December 16, will be available for one month on the streaming service before the film is made exclusive to the theaters afterward. The movie would also be available on digital vendors like Amazon and iTunes before heading to HBO Max once more. There’s no extra fee for HBO Max subscribers who want to enjoy this movie asides from the normal $14.99 a month.
This new development is coming on the heels of increased uncertainty surrounding the reopening of cinemas in the United States, as cases of the coronavirus pandemic surge across the country. Yet, when the theaters reopen, operators are not confident that moviegoers will throng to locations to attend screenings.
That is why Warner Media is adopting a two-pronged approach to solve this uncertainty. This approach gives the studio the ability to gain more subscribers for its streaming service while also profiting in revenues from the theaters.
The first film in the Wonder Woman franchise saw over 4 million fans trooping to the theaters on its opening day in 2017. However, it would take a long time for such a feat to be replicated, as the shadow of the pandemic looms large, the Verge reports.
Theater chains Regal and Cineworld announced recently that they would be shutting down their cinemas effectively for the rest of 2020. MGM also moved the release of No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie, to 2021. Disney postponed its Black Widow to 2021. With this development, movie lovers would be unenthusiastic attending cinemas during the festive season. Now, Window Woman 1984 has just Soul, the new movie from Disney Pixar, to compete with.
The pandemic has forced the film industry to adopt a direct-to-consumer marketing option, using streaming services like Disney Plus, Peacock, and HBO Max. It would be a while before the film industry is able to churn out whopping sums from the cinema. The era when movies generated $1 billion at the box office may take some time to be back.
Now, studio executives are left with the uneasy task of figuring out the best time to release movies or face flop. Warner Bros. was dealt a serious lesson with Tenet, the film by Christopher Nolan. Although the movie performed relatively well internationally, it made little in revenues in the US, where major theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco were shut down.
If major studios keep to their release dates in 2021, it would be a nice year for movie lovers. However, what is the guarantee that movie-goers will flock to the theaters as soon as the theaters are thrown open? Who says 2021 can’t spring shocking surprises for the film industry as 2020 has done?