“At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else,” director Patty Jenkins said in a statement Wednesday. “We love our movie as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little bit of joy and reprieve to all of you this holiday season.”
Jenkins urged audiences to watch it in theaters where it was safe to do so, and on HBO Max where it as not.
Growing the number of HBO Max customers is of huge import to TimeWarner, even if it means giving up on potential box office ticket sales that Wonder Woman 1984 would have earned had it been pushed to sometime in 2021. The hope is that a high-profile Christmas Day title such as the superhero sequel will lure new subscribers (HBO Max is pricier than most other streamers, or $15.99 a month.)
Keeping some semblance of a theatrical release of Christmas Day also provides comfort for cinemas who are open at the time, whether domestically or internationally. And in Asia, the China and Japan box office has rebounded in a major way.
In normal times, theater chains would never carry a major studio tentople that was debuting simultaneously on the home. But in this case, all bets are off.
Wonder Woman 1984 reunites director Jenkins with star Gal Gadot, and is a follow-up to the 2017 blockbuster that earned $821.8 million at the worldwide global box office.
The sequel has seen its theatrical release date delayed several times amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Originally, it was supposed to open in June. Most recently, the plan was for a full-blown global theatrical rollout on Dec. 25.
“As we navigate these unprecedented times, we’ve had to be innovative in keeping our businesses moving forward while continuing to super-serve our fans,” said Ann Sarnoff, CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group. “This is an amazing film that really comes to life on the big screen and, working with our partners in the exhibition community, we will provide that option to consumers in the U.S. where theaters are open. We realize that a lot of consumers can’t go back to the movies due to the pandemic, so we also want to give them the option to see Wonder Woman 1984. via our HBO Max platform.”
Added Warner Bros. Pictures chairman Toby Emmerich: “We appreciate how patient audiences have been and given the great anticipation around Wonder Woman 1984. We are grateful to be able to make this terrifically entertaining movie widely available in these challenging times.”
More to come.