Face it, stans: This was inevitable. After having its launch date bumped no fewer than thrice, Wonder Woman 1984 goes to debut in US theaters and on HBO Max on December 25. That means it’s possible you’ll not get the large popcorn-filled summer-weekend blockbuster opening you’ll’ve preferred—and that Diana Prince in all probability deserved—however it is possible for you to to see director Patty Jenkins’ sequel to her 2017 hit Wonder Woman, and you’ll, when you so select, have the ability to watch it from the consolation of your sofa.
It’s in all probability for the very best. As a lot as any movie fan price their salt needs to plop their butt in a stadium seat with an overpriced soda to look at a superhero film, Covid-19 remains to be tearing by the nation, and the one villain Wonder Woman can’t lasso is ’rona. The US is averaging greater than 150,000 new circumstances per day, and as winter units in, there’s a likelihood that quantity will get worse. Half of the nation’s theaters are closed, and cinema chains have been annoyed with studios delaying their main releases this 12 months. (A spokesperson for the National Association of Theatre Owners declined to remark for this story.) While followers are being requested to attend for different movies that had been primed for a 2020 launch, like Dune or the James Bond flick No Time to Die, attending to see the 12 months’s Last Film Standing on any platform is a little bit of a respite.
Warner Bros. has known as its transfer to launch Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and on its streaming platform on the identical time “historic.” It may additionally show to be a bellwether. Even earlier than the pandemic, the streaming wars had been heating up. Every content-producing firm with a again catalog—and even some with out (ahem, Apple TV+)—was launching its personal service, walling off its personal backyard of films and tv reveals. Now, with theater attendance plummeting as Americans quarantine, providers like Disney+, Peacock, and HBO Max enable their company homeowners to check whether or not going straight to customers with main film releases the identical day they hit the large display screen is a viable choice.
Whether this unusual experiment’s outcomes are what Warner Bros. will wish to see is one other story. Wonder Woman 1984 was initially projected to be a billion-dollar blockbuster. It’s unlikely the discharge may have that form of efficiency now, nevertheless it may considerably influence HBO Max’s subscriber numbers at a time—the vacation season—when people are residence and seeking to be entertained. When Disney launched the live-action remake of Mulan on Disney+ this previous summer time, downloads of the app reportedly elevated 68 %. HBO Max may see a comparable spike, particularly for the reason that new Wonder Woman will likely be accessible to all Max subscribers routinely. (Disney charged $30 for Mulan on high of the common month-to-month membership price.) WarnerMedia additionally simply made a deal to get HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV units, opening up a entire new market of potential clients. (If they may do the identical with Roku, which represents about half of the linked TV market, they’d be swimming, however that stalemate continues apace.)
Look, broadly talking, this isn’t an excellent state of affairs for anybody. Sitting in air-con in the course of July to look at a film on the multiplex is enjoyable, and the extended theater closures introduced on by Covid-19 will not be good for the film enterprise at massive. But in keeping with Ann Sarnoff, head of the WarnerMedia group that oversees Warner Bros., it was one of the simplest ways for the studio to maintain its enterprise “moving forward” whereas additionally appeasing followers and navigating a pandemic. Sure, Warner may have pushed the movie into 2021 like a lot of the different huge 2020 releases, however at a sure level, one thing’s gotta give. The issues introduced on by the coronavirus could not finish subsequent 12 months; studios ought to be taking a likelihood on different launch methods. If Wonder Woman can’t rope moviegoers into a new lifestyle, possibly nobody can.
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