Warner Bros. reportedly is considering an HBO Max release for Wonder Woman 1984 shortly after the current December theatrical release plan.
Wonder Woman 1984 reportedly could be released on HBO Max just a few weeks after the current theatrical release date in December. When the coronavirus pandemic first shut down movie theaters and productions in March, it didn't take long for major movies to get delayed left and right. Wonder Woman 1984 was among the titles that weren't delayed right away, but the state of the movie industry and Tenet's performance left them no choice.
Warner Bros. previously had Wonder Woman 1984 scheduled to hit theaters in June 2020, but it was then pushed to August, then again to October, and once more to December. The Christmas holiday release for Wonder Woman 1984 is rapidly approaching and the declining state of the exhibition market has forced them to rethink this strategy again. While every major studio has pivoted some films to Paid Video on Demand releases, everyone involved with Wonder Woman 1984 has maintained that it will receive a full theatrical release. This came despite heavy speculation that it could become available on WB's relatively new streaming service HBO Max.
Thanks to a recent report by Bloomberg, there are once again reports that Warner Bros. is considering an earlier than expected HBO Max debut for Wonder Woman 1984. The report notes that if Gal Gadot's DC sequel does keep its Christmas Day theatrical release, the movie could then launch on HBO Max just a week or two later. Deadline cautioned that this option is not the favorite among WarnerMedia executives, but that a final decision could be made in the next few days. If Wonder Woman 1984 does not release in theaters where possible over Christmas and then go to HBO Max shortly after, it is expected that the movie will be delayed again and get a summer 2021 release.
Warner Bros. has already tested the box office by releasing Tenet over the summer. Christopher Nolan's movie has performed admirably considering the circumstances, but it was released at a time when all major theater chains were open in most major markets internationally and domestically, sans most of New York and California. However, Wonder Woman 1984 would likely be released in a very different climate come December. All Regal theaters are currently closed across America and new lockdowns in Europe are shutting the doors on theaters there.
It remains to be seen what WB will decide when it comes to Wonder Woman 1984's fate. On one hand, the first film was a box office smash and the sequel had every expectation to do better. But, that was before the pandemic and there's been no evidence that a movie could come anywhere close to the $800 million Wonder Woman made three years ago. If WB wants Wonder Woman 1984 to go down in the box office record books, the best bet is to push the film to 2021. However, the company also has a new streaming service, and making Wonder Woman 1984 available on HBO Max for free or an additional charge would surely drive up subscriber numbers. Hopefully it won't be long before the film's release strategy is confirmed.