In an ever-changing world prone to delays, release date changes, and platform reconsiderations, one of this year’s biggest movies is officially going to streaming – at the same time that it releases in theaters. After debuting in international markets on December 16th, Wonder Woman 1984 will premiere both on HBO Max and in American cinemas on December 25th.
Warner Bros. Pictures announced what it bills as a “historic simultaneous release” for Christmas Day. Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO for WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, summarized the strategy as an inclusion opportunity:
“As we navigate these unprecedented times, we’ve had to be innovative in keeping our businesses moving forward while continuing to super-serve our fans. This is an amazing film that really comes to life on the big screen and, working with our partners in the exhibition community, we will provide that option to consumers in the U.S. where theaters are open. We realize that a lot of consumers can’t go back to the movies due to the pandemic, so we also want to give them the option to see WONDER WOMAN 1984 via our HBO Max platform.”
Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman, acknowledged the fact that the film has not arrived on time, adding that “We appreciate how patient audiences have been and given the great anticipation around WONDER WOMAN 1984 we are grateful to be able to make this terrifically entertaining movie widely available in these challenging times.”
This does mark the end of a long period of development, with an initial end-of-2019 planned release being pushed first to June and then gradually later in 2020, and potentially even into 2021.
This sequel reteams star Gal Gadot with director Patty Jenkins. Though the first film, Wonder Woman, which was released in 2017, didn’t earn any Oscar love, it did earn plenty of accolades. AFI included it in their top ten films, and it won NBR’s Spotlight Award. The Critics Choice Association named it Best Action Movie, and it was awarded the SAG stunt ensemble prize, in addition to many other nominations and wins from critics’ groups and guilds.