Wanna know what the proverbial s**t hitting the fan sounds like for Hollywood? Look no further Dear and Constant Readers of My Typos than the breaking news from The Hollywood Reporter that the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman – Wonder Woman 1984 – will be foregoing a strictly theatrical release when it drops in whatever American theaters are still open for business come December 25, 2020. Due to the creature that is COVID, the once traditional release anticipated for the DC film has now become co-opted out of sheer necessity into a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release on Christmas day. To say that we’re veering even further into the Twilight Zone with this salient bit of news would likely be a tremendous understatement.
Wonder Woman 1984 will break all precedent with its side-by-side release in theatrical and on new streaming giant HBO Max. “This is an unprecedented move for a major Hollywood media company, especially for a $200 million film, and a grand experiment that could have long-lasting implications if successful,” explained analyst Douglas Mitchelson of Wall Street’s Credit Suisse in a report. “Up to now, speculation has been that Wonder Woman 1984 would either be delayed or be released in theaters and then shift over to HBO Max after a short exclusivity period.”
Warner Bros – the entertainment arm of (sigh) telecom behemoth AT&T announced their decision this past Wednesday evening, providing at least a little clarity in their already controversial decision: Yes, Wonder Woman 1984 will show up in American cinemas – the one’s that may still be up and running, COVID cases willing . And yes, it will see a simultaneous release on HBO Max. God being in the proverbial details, WB added caveats, stating that the Patty Jenkins directed sequel which stars breakout actor Gal Gadot would only be available on HBO Max for one month before it skips over to a premium Pay-Per-View model release. For the Overseas market (where HBO Max has yet to extend to), the film will drop theatrically on December 16.
It’s a sort of experiment worthy of driving the Back to the Future DeLorean with a busted Flux Capacitor. Could turn out alright, but brother, does it have plenty of road space to go careening off of a Michael Bay-worthy cliff, explosions and pyrotechnics a’blazin.’ Adds a clearly struggling to be optimistic WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar (who must be refilling a prescription for antacid even as I type these deathless words out), “I find it fascinating that we will be measuring the performance of this movie in an entirely new way.”
Is this the death-knell for the theatrical experience of film lover’s viewing their movie of choice in an honest-to-Pete movie theatre? Unlikely, but, as with many things, these are uncharted waters and it will be worth watching the financial tally of Wonder Woman 1984 to glean whether the future does indeed lay in these sort of dual releases.
Keep your old peepers peeled to Vents for more apocalyptic movie news. Come hell or high water, we’ll navigate these choppy cinematic waters together!