‘Wonder Woman 1984’ will be a dual release

The long-awaited Wonder Woman 1984 is all set for a Christmas day release in theatres and on HBO Max. The film will debut on the streaming service the same day as the theatrical release date. The move for a dual launch comes to a surprise to most fans and even the theatre business. Will Wonder Woman 1984’s release on the digital platform spark the beginning of a shift to digital media? We will just have to wait and see. 

The Gal Gaddot led film will be available to HBO Max subscribers at no extra cost, unlike Mulan, which was released on Disney Plus for $30. 

The simultaneous release of the DC superhero film has been met with positive feedback from fans. The audience will have the option to watch the movie in cinemas if it is safe to do so in their areas. And if not, you could always sign up for HBO Max and watch it from the comfort of your homes. The film will release globally on 16th December, wherever theatres are open. While the US will see a release on 25th December. 

Unfortunately for fans, HBO Max is currently only available in the United States. So fans overseas will have to settle for watching it in theatres for now. But we could potentially see a tie-up between local streaming services and HBO Max such as Disney Plus Hotstar to get it across more regions.

Wonder Woman 1984 will be competing with animated Disney film Soul, which will premiere on 25th December on Disney Plus.

Image: Warner Bros.

The Wonder Woman sequel was initially scheduled for a June release, which was then shifted to August and then later October. It was widely believed that like other big releases in 2020 such as Black Widow, Eternals and No Time to Die being postponed to 2021, WW84 would share the same fate. 

Wonder Woman 1984 was predicted to be one of the biggest blockbusters of 2020, so releasing it on the digital platform is a bold move by Warner Bros Pictures. The film was projected to rake in more than $1 billion since the first instalment earned $821.84 million at the box office.

Earlier in August, Warner Bros released Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated Tenet, which earned just $56m in the US. The film was the first blockbuster to hit theatres after the pandemic and many had hoped that it would lead to the revival of the film industry. However, the movie’s dismal performance at the box office prompted other studios to change their scheduling for 2020. Which is why most films have been postponed to 2021.

While the switch to digital streaming is a surprise, it was a long time coming move. With the theatre industry shuttered and the pandemic still riding high, streaming it on HBO Max might be a wise call. It might hurt the box office revenue of the movie, but the studio will be hoping for a substantial increase in subscribers to HBO Max. 

In comparison to Disney Plus and Netflix, HBO Max’s original content has been lacklustre. There had been little to no hype about the streaming service until Zack Synder’s Justice League was confirmed for a release on the platform. With Wonder Woman 1984 releasing on HBO Max as well, Warner Bros have definitely created a buzz about it in the market. Even if WW84 doesn’t do too well at the box office, they can leverage it to help another property, which seems to be the big play here.  

The latest competitor in the streaming industry – HBO Max, has so far received a lukewarm response from the audience. The Warner Media platform is also pricier at $15 per month when compared to Disney Plus $7 monthly fee. Disney Plus had earlier reported in October that they have already reached 73 million paid subscribers – in less than a year of its release. Whereas HBO Max has just under 29 million subscribers under its belt. 

The coronavirus pandemic has had terrible impacts on the economy, and the film industry is one of them. Even with several promising vaccines being announced, the reality is that it will still take a while before we return to a non-pandemic world. Postponing films in the hope that a situation might get better is a gamble. Delaying the release of a movie hurts the studios as well as the theatre business. Earlier in October, Regal Cinemas closed down all 536 US theatres after Bond film ‘No Time to Die’ was pushed back to a 2021 release.

Cinema chains would usually refuse to screen a movie that would have the same date launch on digital platforms. Nonetheless, it does seem that AMC Theatres among others is on board with this idea – as long as it is a one-off. 

Wonder Woman 1984 will see the return of director Patty Jenkins. The music will be composed by Hans Zimmer, which is another thing to look forward to when the film releases. We will also see Chris Pine reprise his character of Steve Trevor, who seemingly survives his ‘death’ in the first movie. The movie, as the title suggests will take place in 1984 and will see Wonder Woman face off against Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig).

Check out the latest trailer for Wonder Woman 1984.