Until now, the premiere of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 was under the pressure of multiple speculations, especially after Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was postponed until Christmas 2021 and Soul, the highly anticipated Pixar premiere, was announced for Christmas in the Disney Plus streaming platform.
Finally this week Warner came out of the rumors and announced that the direct sequel to the 2017 hit will be officially launched on December 16 of this year in theaters – those that can offer the service – and on December 25 via HBO Max.
The strategy puzzled the public, but it is undoubtedly the most viable in the midst of the uncertainty that currently runs through the world of entertainment and especially film distributors around the world.
The Wonder Woman movie had suffered a long sequence of postponements and date changes, which for months had made it clear that it was highly unlikely that it would enjoy a theatrical release only. For now, the contagion curve in the US is high enough so that more quarantine measures, and the closure of commercial establishments by state, allows us to predict whether the country’s rooms will remain open during December. Or at least the enough time for the big studios to take the risk of releasing some of their great titles.
This is a determining factor that forced Disney to release Mulan on Disney Plus, in addition to postponing all its premieres until next year. An obvious symptom that there is a serious and well-founded fear that the ravages of the pandemic will still continue to be notorious during the first months of 2021.
In particular, Christopher Nolan’s mixed experience of Tenet – which had an acceptable gross in the US, but also significant losses at its world premiere – makes it very clear that no one in the industry will take a risk again without ensuring at least that the success of any of its titles is assured, at least partially.
So it is most likely that the decision about the fate of Wonder Woman 1984 is related to a market study that indicates two concrete facts: the ravages of the pandemic in distribution and public and of course, the impossibility of returning profits, to the less in the proportions that a blockbuster like the one directed by Patty Jenkins promised to raise.
Liquidity, open doors and a virus
Tenet was a consistent premiere that had an acceptable theatrical run, but it never had the impact that it could reactivate the cinemas then open to half capacity.
Today, the situation is much more complicated and increasingly unpredictable: the capacity of American theaters has been reduced to a quarter and shows have been spaced to three or four per day, so it is quite likely that even if it is a success on the day of its premiere to Wonder Woman 1984 it takes considerable effort to achieve real profits.
To the above should be added the agreement reached between Universal and Cinemark to further reduce functions, which means that it is more than likely that some cinemas decided not to assume the cost of only projecting a single policy, without having the guarantee of its resounding success.
Wonder Woman 1984 is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated sequels of the year, but in reality there is no way to ensure that being only distributed in select theaters and at minimum hours it can be profitable. for the rooms beyond the big chains, and even for reputable distributors.
Which brings us to HBO Max. The cable giant’s streaming platform has rapidly increased its market penetration, and its subscriber base is currently acceptable enough to also forecast a significant increase with the film’s release.
In fact, he is already seen as a great asset and source of income for Warner Media amid the industry downturn. The service already has a major DC title lined up with the Justice League debut as per Zack Snyder’s version next year.
With the pandemic still dictating how movies are released, the choice was essentially to continue delaying Wonder Woman 1984 until theaters are in a position to support blockbusters, or to make the film available as a streaming title on HBO Max. The decision of the executives was surely based on the growth potential of the platform and especially on the rumors about the results based on Mulan subscribers, that despite the speculations that insisted it had been a “disappointment” in collection numbers, it turned out to be profitable enough that Disney is considering other releases of the style.
So while uncertainty continues to be the real factor to consider, it is most likely that the combination of cinema and HBO Max will make Wonder Woman 1984 perhaps not the blockbuster it was meant to be, but a success. marketing closer to the Netflix way of doing business. That for now, has managed to increase exponentially andsustained its subscriber base based on high-caliber film releases.
Under the circumstances, an HBO Max release was simply the best course of action, and certainly one that will be huge for subscriptions to the platform.
A similar case occurred with Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Amazon Prime Video, which have become the channel’s most successful content since their launch. The combination of the possibility of enjoying a movie premiere immediately and without the risks of the pandemic, not only substantially increased the subscribers of the service, but also made it clear that it is one of the most successful strategies that it has implemented so far.
Also, with the pandemic still ongoing there is no guarantee that any of the delayed films will keep their new dates. Combined with Warner Media’s investment in HBO Max, Wonder Woman 1984’s dual-stream and theatrical release decision was the best route to take, and with the conditions that led to it happening, it’s very likely not the last film to be released. Combine the theater experience with immediate profit on a streaming platform.
The article “Wonder Woman 1984” will hit HBO Max and theaters, and could be a success was published in Hypertext.