Another Wonder Woman 1984 delay is possible, according to a box office analyst. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the highly anticipated sequel to the successful 2017 film Wonder Woman will see Gal Gadot as the titular superhero facing off against comic villains Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) and Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) in a 1980s setting. Originally scheduled to premiere in December 2019, the DC Extended Universe film faced multiple delays, some of which were due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was pushed back to December 2020.
Earlier this week, Warner Bros. announced the delay of four DCEU films. The Batman, The Flash, and Shazam 2 have all been rescheduled, while Black Adam has been taken off the release schedule entirely. Warner Bros. also previously delayed Denis Villeneuve's Dune until October 2021 after it was initially set to come out later this year. Following the underperformance of highly-anticipated films like Christopher Nolan's Tenet and MCU's New Mutants, studios have continued to push back their release dates. With Regal Cinemas announcing their decision to re-close all theaters this week indefinitely and other movie theaters still closed in major cities in the U.S., audiences can expect to see more film release delays, including Wonder Woman 1984.
A box office analyst tells Observer that another Wonder Woman 1984 delay is possible. With all of the recent delays of blockbuster films, the window of opportunity for 2021 reschedules is gradually decreasing. Currently, 12 superhero movies are set to release between March 2021 and July 2022. However, if Wonder Woman 1984 does release in 2021, there are still spots when it can thrive in theaters. "Optimistically, there’s a window for a big tentpole around the Presidents and Valentine’s Day holiday weekend in February since Marvel’s Eternals vacated that spot," said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro. "That could be a good fit if the fall and winter fight against the virus goes better than expected and New York, alongside Los Angeles, reopen theaters by then."
Robbins went on to say that summer could see a better opening weekend if February is too optimistic. "Perhaps more realistically, June 11 looks like a great spot," said Robbins. "Universal just left that weekend wide open with Jurassic World: Dominion‘s delay to 2022. It would allow a two-week gap after F9 and a two-week head start on the Venom sequel, both of which will be predominantly male-driven anyway. It’s also part of the early summer corridor where the first Wonder Woman enjoyed so much success." At the start of the pandemic, many studios delayed film releases until summer or fall of 2020, hoping theater doors would reopen by then. While audiences may be ready to return to theaters by February 2021, it could still be too soon.
If Wonder Woman 1984 does remain in its original December 2020 spot, it will undoubtedly be a box office failure as well as a potential health hazard for moviegoers. Understandably, the studio wants audiences to have an excellent theater experience when seeing the film and avoid going straight to streaming. Still, they should take a tip from Tenet's box office disappointment and wait until 2021. The DCEU film has garnered massive excitement from fans and will see a better premiere weekend if it waits another few months.