This is Wonder Woman’s shocked face. With the end of the year getting closer and COVID-19 only getting worse in the U.S., it’s looking less and less likely that the final blockbuster scheduled for this year, Wonder Woman 1984, will be successful if released on its current release date of Dec. 25. Variety is reporting that Warner Bros. execs are now debating either delaying the film to the summer of 2021 or holding its release date but then dropping it quickly onto HBO Max sometime in January.
It isn’t clear which way the studio is leaning at the moment, but with major cities and many states going back into lockdown mode, there isn’t much benefit in releasing Wonder Woman 1984 now at all. The driving factor for WarnerMedia to do so would be to garner HBO Max subscribers by releasing a major film onto the platform. The streamer lags behind its competitors in terms of signups, and featuring a huge movie like Wonder Woman 1984 would be a massive boon. And with streaming being the future of these entertainment goliaths, it makes sense as an option for the company.
However, there is no way that the bump in subscriptions could possibly meet the high income that Wonder Woman 1984 was supposed to make the studio if it had been able to release. The movie has suffered multiple delays over the pandemic, originally scheduled to land in June. WB has already been burnt by Tenet‘s tepid domestic box office and does not want to repeat that embarrassment, which could be even worse this time around considering the global film industry is shutting back down now as well. Thus, a delay to the film might be the only way to recoup a sufficient investment. Both the months of June and July are being talked about for possible landing spots.
Much like Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984 will get a theatrical release. Director Patty Jenkins has been quoted too many times stating that the film needs to be on the big screen for WB to back down on that now. The rep that Variety spoke with wouldn’t comment on “speculation” but did emphatically state that “WW84 will be in theaters.”
If the movie does drop on HBO Max in January, it might set up a bit of a superhero streaming war as it was just announced that WandaVision will release that month as well.