Warner Bros. debunks rumors Wonder Woman 1984 will receive a shortened theatrical release before being made available on premium VOD.
Warner Bros. debunks rumors of Wonder Woman 1984 getting a shortened theatrical release. Like so many other movies this year, Wonder Woman 1984 was greatly affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At one point, the highly-anticipated DC Extended Universe sequel was scheduled to come out in June this year, but it's been delayed multiple times due to the health crisis. WB initially moved it to October, and now Wonder Woman 1984 is scheduled to release on Christmas Day. But with new COVID-19 cases surging again, it's no guarantee the movie keeps that date.
During the pandemic, studios explored alternative distribution models, with Disney opting to release Mulan and Soul on Disney+. Universal went in a different direction, making headlines over the summer thanks to a deal they made with AMC Theatres. The agreement allows Universal to release their movies on-demand after just three weeks in theaters, an offer AMC extended to other Hollywood studios. There weren't any other takers on that deal, and it sounds like WB isn't reconsidering their stance even with Wonder Woman 1984 right around the corner.
Deadline reported their "exhibition sources" told them it was possible Wonder Woman 1984 could have a shortened theatrical release before hitting various on-demand platforms. However, WB states there is "no such plan," meaning that for now, the studio is committed to giving Wonder Woman 1984 a proper, traditional theatrical run.
It's understandable why WB is so keen on getting Wonder Woman 1984 on the big screen, since a theatrical release represents the best chance for the movie to turn a profit. While on-demand would ensure millions of people can watch the movie safely from the comfort of home, that model is still unproven commercially. Trolls World Tour was reportedly not a much of a success as initially thought, and Disney opting to make Soul free on Disney+ indicates their Premier Access program for Mulan didn't fully deliver the intended results. As evidenced by No Time to Die's high interest rates, a prolonged delay for a blockbuster can be costly, but Wonder Woman 1984 would definitely be a massive box office hit if it came out under normal circumstances. From the studio's perspective, it's more logical to wait until theaters are safer, especially given Wonder Woman 1984's high budget.
Unfortunately, that may mean audiences have to wait until 2021 to see Wonder Woman 1984. Theaters in major U.S. markets like New York City and Los Angeles aren't open, Regal has closed their locations, and countries around the world are going back into lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. WB learned the hard way with Tenet that it isn't feasible to release a major blockbuster only in theaters at this time, so even though they're sticking with Wonder Woman 1984's Christmas release right now, another change could be coming in the near future.