Warner Bros. ‘decision to release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in theaters last August, despite shrinking venues and public confidence, was hailed as a valiant attempt to save an embattled industry. Some estimated the tepid numbers (just $ 56 million in the US) to be behind Universal’s announcement that they were postponing the release of the Bond film No Time to Die until April 2021; a move that, in turn, was blamed by Cineworld for its decision to shut down all locations in the US and UK.
However, the studio has doubled down on the strategy, announcing plans to stick with a theatrical release on Christmas Day for the superhero sequel Wonder Woman 1984, though the film will also be available simultaneously online.
The film, which reunites star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins, will open in UK theaters on December 16, despite continuing uncertainty as to whether they will reopen in time after the current closing.
In the United States, the film will open in theaters on Christmas Day, as well as on HBO Max, where it will stay for a month before moving to other streaming platforms. Although some screens are open and drive-in commerce is higher than in some generations, most screens remain closed, even in key markets like New York and Los Angeles.
Jenkins broke the news of the hybrid launch strategy on Twitter, saying:
THE TIME HAS COME. At some point you have to choose to share whatever love and joy you have to give, above all else.
“We love our movie like we love our fans, so we really hope that our movie brings a little joy and a respite to all of you this holiday season.
Watch it IN THEATERS, where it’s safe to do so (check out what a great job the theaters have done to make it so!) And available in the safety of your own home on HBO MAX where it isn’t.
Happy Holidays to all. We hope you enjoy our movie as much as we enjoy making it.
The move was hailed as a potential salvation by both theater owners and audience members anxious not to leave their homes during the holiday season.
It features a major scalp for HBO Max, which launched in May and whose premieres to date, including Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle and Robert Zemeciks’ remake of The Witches, have struggled to make a substantial impact on one market at a time. more competitive.
Also coming online on Christmas Day Soul, Pixar’s critically acclaimed latest latest, whose theatrical release has been canceled in favor of a world premiere on Disney +.
Wonder Woman 1984 was originally scheduled to open in June of this year; that date passed to August and then to October. However, by sticking to a few theatrical releases this year, the film sets itself apart as the only superhero franchise film to hold its own amid the coronavirus storm. Disney has moved Black Widow and The Eternals to 2021; Batman has moved to 2022.
The presentation of the film in theaters in particular, therefore, becomes another significant barometer of the public’s appetite to return to the big screen. The experts will be interested in evaluating not only the impact it has on the first day of launch, but also during the following weeks; the original film quadrupled its US box office revenue after opening weekend.
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