When the pandemic first hit, Wonder Woman 1984 initially followed the same course of action as many other movies and simply moved down the theatrical calendar several times. Eventually though, Warner Bros decided to keep the sequel planted firmly on December 25, 2020, and release it both on the big screen and on HBO Max for a one-month window. Nearly two full weeks after its release, can we consider Wonder Woman 1984 a success for HBO Max? Well, it’s complicated.
As reported by Vulture, WarnedMedia declared that Wonder Woman 1984 had “broken records and exceeded our expectations,” but no actual subscriber data were disclosed to the public. That said, the streaming service measurement and analytics firm Antenna reports that within Wonder Woman 1984’s first three days of availability on HBO Max, the streaming service registered more sign-ups than any other streaming service within the same time period over the course of the past year. Exactly how many people that entails, we don't know.
It was also noted that Wonder Woman 1984 bested Hamilton, Disney+’s high-profile release that came out in July 2020, by 40%, with Disney+’s Soul, which came out that same day as Diana Prince’s latest DC Extended Universe, following in third place. Wonder Woman 1984 also supposedly outperformed Disney+’s Mulan, the only other big-budget blockbuster that was sent straight to streaming in 2020. Here’s what WarnerMedia had to say about Wonder Woman 1984’s HBO Max performance:
Nearly half of the platform’s retail subscribers viewing the film on the day of its arrival, along with millions of wholesale subscribers who have access to HBO Max via a cable, wireless, or other partner services. HBO Max also saw the total viewing hours on Friday more than triple in comparison to a typical day in the previous month.
So taking all this information into consideration, it certainly sounds like Wonder Woman 1984 did gangbusters on HBO Max. However, that’s just on the surface. Again. there are no concrete numbers to work off of, which isn’t surprising given how closely guarded streaming services keep that information. But even ignoring that, it’s hard to say if Wonder Woman 1984 can keep this momentum going. It’s possible this will go down more as a short-term victory rather than a long-term win, especially when it comes to quantifying if streaming services will indeed upset the traditional theatrical release model as a result of these strange times. Plus, who knows just how many of those people who subscribed to HBO Max to watch Wonder Woman 1984 will stick around.
In any case, Warner Bros is sticking with this theatrical/HBO Max release plan… for the most part. The studio revealed last month that it plans to release all of its 2021 movies on both big screens and its streaming service. Following that announcement though, Legendary Entertainment considered legal recourse against WB, which has reportedly led to the production company and film studio coming to a new arrangement that would see Dune remaining a traditional theatrical release. Godzilla vs. Kong would follow the theatrical/HBO Max plan, but only if Warner Bros shells out more money to Legendary.
As for Wonder Woman 1984’s theatrical run, it’s made a little over $118 million worldwide so far. While the sequel has received mixed critical reactions, Diana Prince isn’t disappearing from the DCEU anytime soon. Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins will reunite for Wonder Woman 3, and while that doesn’t have a release date yet, Warner Bros intends for it to have a traditional theatrical release.