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As we march ever closer to the Christmas season, the theatrical release picture looks as if it’s all but gone from view. With Disney postponing their final two films of 2020 (Free Guy and Death on the Nile) to undetermined dates, there’s one blockbuster that stands alone. For the moment, Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984 is still on the books for the Christmas holiday, and there’s a chance that date may still hold-- in order to play to a larger endgame. If rumors are to be believed, a potential fate for this Gal Gadot film would see it still debut in theaters as planned, with a streaming debut following quickly behind it.
The latest rumors reported by Variety have “sources with knowledge of the plans” stating that director Patty Jenkins’ DC Comics sequel has two options being weighed in terms of its fate. If Wonder Woman 1984 stays on the more traditional path, it could be pushed to the summer of 2021, allowing it to potentially have the theatrical debut Warner Bros undoubtedly feels the film needs and deserves. However, if this new hybrid model moves forward, audiences would be able to see their favorite Amazonian metahuman at a theater near them, with the film landing on HBO Max in January 2021.
With any rumor of this magnitude, there’s a lot of caution to be had; especially when depending on the kindness of unnamed sources. However, it is an interesting prospect that helps out both halves of the cinematic ecosystem at this time. Maintaining a theatrical release for Wonder Woman 1984 would not only give ailing multiplexes the big blockbuster they’d need to potentially draw audiences back to the movies. But on the more important and proprietary side, seeing the film go to HBO Max so soon would also be a huge boost that could see the subscriber base for this platform expand exponentially.
It’s a cunning calculus that has to be done when weighing either a move of release date or a hybrid theatrical/streaming release. And you know if it wasn’t for Tenet’s supposedly disappointing performance at the summer box office, Warner Bros wouldn’t even discuss the option of Wonder Woman 1984 getting anywhere near streaming before its due course. With some international markets and theater chains already locked down again, and others seeing rising COVID-19 case numbers, it might not be a bad hypothetical option to pursue.
Presumably the folks at Warner Bros are running into the same problems the folks behind the next James Bond film are running into, as each delay to a film like No Time To Die costs quite a bit in the long run. As 2021 has only so many release slots available, studios are going to have to ask themselves what their level of acceptable loss is, in the name of providing new solutions to deliver fresh content to the masses. While the strategies above are far from set in stone, you can be sure that the Warner Bros brass is considering all options with a fine toothed comb, looking for the balance between audience gratification and financial solvency they feel is the most advantageous for all.
For the moment, Wonder Woman 1984 is set to debut in theaters on December 25. Should this news change, CinemaBlend will be on hand to break that news as it develops. In the meantime, check out the 2020 release schedule to see all of the other films between here and the end of the year that are still intending to be released, both through streaming or theatrical exhibition.