With the controversial decision to release the blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max on its first day of release, as well as the Christmas date ensuring that millions upon millions of people would be seeing it the day it came out, the only guarantee about Patty Jenkins’ superhero picture was that everyone was going to be talking about it. That has certainly been the case, with these last two days feeling as though they’ve lasted two weeks.
The discourse around Wonder Woman 1984 has hit on many topics, from the pros and cons of the HBO Max decision to some of its controversial narrative decisions to the massive shift in its critical reception, debuting with a certified fresh 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes when the first critic reviews dropped, only to plummet down to 65% currently with almost 300 critic reviews now in after its public release. (our review is here) It’s one of the few times in history that Rotten Tomatoes has had to change its critical consensus, which now states that the film, “struggles with sequel overload, but still offers enough vibrant escapism to satisfy fans of the franchise and its classic central character.”
The discussion around Wonder Woman 1984 will continue on, at least until the next big release takes over, but one unanswered question that had been on everyone’s mind was that status of a third entry in DC’s flagship cinematic franchise. While the massive success of Patty Jenkins’ 2017 origin story for Diana Prince, played by Gal Gadot, was such a massive wave of positivity for a brand that desperately needed a win, DC has wisely been a little more hesitant to lay out their plans for the future than they have in the past.
While Wonder Woman 3 seemed like a guarantee, we still hadn’t seen an official confirmation of the plans for it, and even less certain was whether Jenkins would return to direct. Especially since the announcement of the decision to release the film opening day on HBO Max, Jenkins has been somewhat cagey about her future with the franchise, leaving open the possibility that someone else may be called on to direct a third entry.
Consider that question answered now, as Warner Bros. has officially put Wonder Woman 3 into the fast lane to get development started, confirming that Gadot will be returning to star, along with Jenkins coming back to right and direct for the third time.
The big announcement was surely influenced by a positive wave of news for the sequel currently playing, at least from a financial standpoint. Wonder Woman 1984 debuted in 2,100 North American theaters over the holiday, and despite a global pandemic and simultaneous release on HBO Max, it still managed to gross $16.7 million in theaters, the best opening weekend since Tenet debuted to $20 million at the beginning of March.
Streaming news promises plenty of audience engagement as well, as WarnerMedia’s head of direct-to-consumer business Andy Forssell states, “Wonder Woman 1984 broke records and exceeded our expectations across all of our key viewing and subscriber metrics in its first 24 hours on the service, and the interest and momentum we’re seeing indicates this will likely continue well beyond the weekend. During these very difficult times, it was nice to give families the option of enjoying this uplifting film at home, where theater viewing wasn’t an option.”
We’ll have to see from here what the future holds for Wonder Woman 3, as well as whether or not other Warner Bros. titles releasing under this same structure will be able to pull off similar success.