“Wonder Woman 1984” will hit theaters. That is a fact, the study has confirmed and its director Patty Jenkins reiterated. How, when and with what consequences? Those are the questions in the air.
December 25, in five weeks, is the date on which the premiere of “Wonder Woman 1984” is scheduled, the only blockbuster that is kept for this year and that for a few days. Initially the film would arrive on June 5, from there it moved to August 14, then to October 2, until the end of the year. The question remains in the air about whether it will be kept this year or will it move, like so many other titles (“Fast and Furious 9”, “Black Widow”, “Free Guy” …) to sometime in 2021.
To date, studies have proposed different strategies to achieve income during quarantine. Universal premiered “Trolls 2: World Tour” in pay-per-view, the same action that Disney + took with “Mulán” and used to catapult its platform, 20th Century Fox sold films to other platforms and Warner Bros. took a risk by releasing “Tenet” on rooms. The results have varied, some have been more profitable than others, but none so forceful as to turn it into a formula. The case of “Tenet”, a film that should have generated more than a billion dollars and that to date, with a budget of 200 million dollars, has only raised 350, having already been on the bill for more than two months. “Tenet” failed. It didn’t get people back to theaters, it hasn’t even raised its costs (including box office delays and marketing expenses, to recover, although a little bit still needs to exceed $ 500 million).
Now Warner Bros. contemplates a different strategy, not yet confirmed, that could achieve something that until very recently was considered impossible: release on platforms a couple of weeks later. The intention would be to motivate the public to attend theaters, with the understanding that the spectacular nature of the film is only appreciated in its full dimension on the big screen. However, and given that “Tenet” has already shown that perhaps the weighty argument to achieve it is not in the film, but in the security or confidence that is perceived in theaters and even now in a change in the economy, it would be reaching HBO Max during January, just two weeks later. For Warner Bros. the alternative would allow it to generate revenue at the box office and on its platform before the title loses commercial impact. Also, it would help boost HBO, a platform that has continued to grow, but is far from Netflix and Disney + and lacks flashy premieres like those platforms, without saying that it has not had any prominent titles so far this year. So “Wonder Woman 1984” could serve, as “Mulán” did for Disney + at the time, to motivate new subscribers. So far, everything looks good for Warner Bros., but it would not be the only beneficiaries.
Perhaps the sector of the film industry that has been most affected is theaters. With distrust of the sanitation protocols and a lot of offer, week after week, on the platforms, the public has attended little the rooms. There have been offers, there have been premieres, but none of great profile and that has become a “vicious cycle”. So, the fact that “Wonder Woman 1984” hits theaters, even if it is exclusively for a couple of weeks, is a concession that can be made since it is better to have an increase in attendees for that period, than not to have it. The agreement would be historic and would break the minimum window of three months between premieres in theaters and other media, a possibility that more than one channel had refused a few months ago and that if achieved would be a “before and after” for cinema. So “Wonder Woman 1984” could be about to change history, to save her, not just on screen, but off screen as well.