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Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman

Right as it felt like the film industry was turning a corner, with movies like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and the Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged playing in theaters, word is now circulating that the next big blockbuster on the movie-release calendar is shifting backwards… again.

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 reportedly will be moving off of its October 2 release date for an unannounced day later in the calendar year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper cites a source familiar with the matter. Variety weighed in after the fact, and now reports that Wonder Woman 1984 will drop on Christmas Day. In a statement, Jenkins said:

First and foremost let me say how much Gal and I love all our devoted Wonder Woman fans around the world, and your excitement for WW84 couldn’t make us happier or more eager for you to see the movie. Because I know how important it is to bring this movie to you on a big screen when all of us can share the experience together, I’m hopeful you won’t mind waiting just a little bit longer. With the new date on Christmas Day, we can’t wait to spend the holidays with you!

This chatter about a possible move got louder in recent days. We wrote a piece on the possibility of both Wonder Woman 1984 and Dune moving back as the studio analyzed the global response to Tenet. In fact, in its official confirmation of the move, WSJ notes that bumping the Wonder Woman sequel back gives Tenet more room to play to theaters without competition. That’s beneficial to the studio, though not to Patty Jenkins’ movie.

But a shift to Wonder Woman 1984 starts a tumbling of the industry’s dominoes, and we have no idea if and when these bricks will stop falling. Moving Jenkins’ movie to later in the year means that Kenneth Branagh’s Death On The Nile becomes the next high-profile endeavor (also with Gal Gadot) to target theaters. After that, it’s Black Widow, which is putting pressure on Disney to make decisions on behalf of both of those films.

Much like Tenet, those movies rely heavily on the international market. Theaters around the world currently are in better shape than ones in the U.S. – where key markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York still are not open for business. But are they open enough for studios to risk the underwhelming response they’re likely going to get by opening in the next few weeks?

Putting Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters on Christmas Day (if that date even holds) means an inevitable move for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune… after the epic blockbuster generated so much hype with its recent trailer drop. No clue whatsoever when that movie shifts back to, as the release dates for 2021 currently are stacked with features that wisely got out of the 2020 blast range, and claimed safer dates in a future where the industry hopes to have this figured out. WB can start shifting everything back one, but it's going to be a painful process for filmmakers and audiences.

This move only raises more questions, and the industry doesn’t have answers. Why will Christmas Day be any different from October 2? Would a mix of limited theatrical and Paid VOD be the answer? How much money has WB spent advertising the date changes for Wonder Woman 1984? We will continue to track the story, which feels like it never will end.

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