In 2020, cinephiles have been starved for blockbusters. Sure, the year started out with titles like Bad Boys For Life and Birds Of Prey, but for the most part studios have moved their biggest films out of the calendar year in order to preserve their box office potential in a post-pandemic world. In the last nine months, flashy big budget releases have become a rare commodity – so is it really of any surprise at all that the release of Wonder Woman 1984 went spectacularly well on HBO Max this past weekend?
The Patty Jenkins-directed chapter of the DC Extended Universe premiered simultaneously (where available) in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday, a.k.a. on Christmas Day, and per an official press release from Warner Bros. the film managed to generate tremendous excitement. According to the studio, Wonder Woman 1984 was viewed by nearly half of the streamer's subscribers on the film's launch date alone, which equates to about 6 million households (it was reported earlier this month that the service has seen its numbers reach 12.6 million)
That figure also doesn't factor in the number of Wonder Woman 1984 viewers who got to watch it on HBO Max via other partner services, and Warner Bros. adds those households totaled in the millions as well.
Adding a data anecdote into the mix, the total traffic on HBO Max this past Friday when Wonder Woman 1984 launched was nearly three times as high as an average day in November 2020. The spike that the service must have seen when the movie was put online at noon EST/9:00am PST must have been massive.
What is notably left unclear is how Wonder Woman 1984 performed through Sunday, with WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer Executive Vice President and General Manager Andy Forssell simply saying in a statement that the movie's success is expected to "continue well beyond the weekend."
While Wonder Woman 1984 was certainly the biggest new film to arrive this past weekend, one detail that should be kept in consideration is that audiences actually had a large number of new release options this past weekend. You could only see Promising Young Woman or News Of The World if theaters are open near you, but Disney+ notably launched Pixar's Soul as an exclusive; Netflix aimed to catch the attention of both young and mature audiences with We Can Be Heroes and The Midnight Sky; and Amazon premiered the romantic drama Sylvie's Love. Surely many households tuned into multiple new releases, but Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was definitely the big star for the holiday.
Given the announcement by Warner Bros. earlier this month about launching all of their 2021 films in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, there have been a lot of eyes on the streaming performance of Wonder Woman 1984, and focus on those numbers will continue into the near future (provided that the studio releases data to the press and public). It's certainly a situation that we here at CinemaBlend are keeping an eye on, so stay tuned for the latest news and updates.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.