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In a rather shocking and unexpected move, Warner Bros. will provide a dual rollout for Wonder Woman 1984, the studio announced this evening. Patty Jenkins' long-awaited DC blockbuster will debut in theaters and HBO Max...on the same day! That day is Friday, Dec. 25, aka Christmas.
The much anticipated film will be available for a month on the streaming service at no additional cost to subscribers. In international markets where HBO Max isn't available, WW 1984 will open Dec. 16.
“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,” Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, said in a statement. “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.”
HBO Max was apparently ready for the announcement, as they also dropped an "Official Release Date" trailer today:
Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, took to twitter to share the news as well. “It's time. We’ve all waited a long time for this one to come. I can’t tell you how excited I am for all of you to see this movie. It wasn’t an easy decision and we never thought we’d have to hold onto the release for such a long time but Covid rocked all of our worlds. We feel the movie has never been so relevant and we hope that it’ll bring some joy, hope and love to your hearts. Wonder Woman 1984 is a special one for me and I can only hope it’ll be a special to you too. We’ve put our hearts and souls into it,” she said. “So.. you can watch it in theaters (they’re doing an amazing job keeping it safe) and you can watch it on HBOMax from your homes. Sending you my love. Please keep safe and wear a mask. Happy holidays to all of us! Let the light shine in."
"The time has come," Jenkins wrote in her own statement posted to Twitter. "At some point, you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over anything else. We love our movie as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little bit of joy to all of you this holiday season. 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."
"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, Warner Bros. Pictures Group in a statement.
With WW84 now heading to the world of streaming, Christopher Nolan's Tenet (another Warner-produced project) was about the only massive blockbuster to receive a sole theatrical rollout in 2020. Like its fellow Hollywood studios, WB apparently just isn't confident in the current state of the theatrical industry, which took another blow this fall when coronavirus cases began to spike with the onset of colder weather. Per Variety, 50% of U.S. theaters are still closed, including key locations in New York and California.
That being said, Jenkins tweeted that they "are also working on a program to allow you, your cohort, your family or your pod to rent their own theaters out to screen the film in the safety of your group."
Jenkins actually responded to streaming rumors just last month, tweeting that she and Warner Bros. were "still 100% behind the theatrical experience."
The DC film was originally supposed to open back in early June, but that became impossible when theaters were forced to keep their doors closed for a period of about four months, which included a good chunk of the summer blockbuster season. As a result, WB pushed the release to mid-August, but that wasn't feasible either and the feature was bumped to October 2. Obviously, that didn't pan out and the movie was once again moved in September.
The theatrical Christmas bow stuck for as long as it could, but as the world drew closer to the holiday season, it became clear that the pandemic wasn't going anywhere soon. Combine the fear of COVID with the time of year when cold and flu cases are on the rise anyway, and you've got a moviegoing public that probably doesn't want to risk heading to theaters right now — even if local multiplexes are open.
Written by Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and David Callaham, the sequel stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen.