Wonder Woman 1984 set for cinema and streaming release this December
James R | On 19, Nov 2020
Wonder Woman will be released in cinemas this Christmas, Warner Bros has officially announced, but will also stream online in the USA.
The blockbuster sequel to Patty Jenkins’ groundbreaking 2017 hit has been waiting in the wings of cinemas for some time. Pushed back from its 2019 release to this summer, it has since been moved about due to the coronavirus pandemic, first to August, then October and then, recently, to 25th December. Now, Warner has confirmed that its Christmas Day plan is still in play, with the film set to debut simultaneously in US cinemas and on its streaming service HBO Max.
The movie will be free for a month on Warner’s subscription streaming service HBO Max, which sets the film apart from fellow postponed blockbuster Mulan, which Disney released its own subscription platform, Disney+, for an additional early access fee – a move that Disney has since stepped away from, with plans to release Pixar’s Soul on Christmas Day as Disney+ title, but included within its subscription price.
Wonder Woman will later head to more traditional digital retail outlets, although the timing of that isn’t yet clear, nor whether Wonder Woman will be removed from HBO Max at that point – and likely, these things haven’t yet been decided.
One factor in that may well be its UK release, which will happen on 16th December in cinemas.
HBO Max isn’t available in the UK, but The Witches, which recently moved from cinemas to HBO Max stateside, ultimately went the premium VOD route for UK audiences, available to rent for approximately £15. Should cinemas not be open as planned in December, Wonder Woman could eventually find itself following that same route – but at the moment, the plan is to go with cinemas only in the UK.
Update: Wonder Woman 1984 will be released on premium VOD in the UK on 13th January. Click here for more information.
Note: From 2nd December in England, cinemas can open in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas until 11pm (or after if films have started before 10pm). They cannot open in Tier 3 areas. In Wales, cinemas can open, but will be closed again from 4th December (under restrictions that may be revised on 17th December). In Scotland, cinemas can open under Protection Level 0, 1 and 2, but must close in areas under Protection Level 3 and 4. In Northern Ireland, cinemas cannot open. In Ireland, cinemas can only be open within Level 1 and 2.
“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 WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff in a statement. “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 US where theatres are open. We realise 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.”
Cinemas have typically boycotted day-and-date titles or any title that breaks the traditional theatrical window, with Universal’s release of Trolls: World Tour on digital this year sparking major backlash from cinema operators. Since then, however, Universal has agreed a 17-day premium VOD window with AMC and Cinemark in the USA, paving the way for compromises to be reached within the industry at an uncertain time. Warner Bros, meanwhile, has perhaps earned good faith from exhibitors by its decision to release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet theatrically in the summer.
Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia CEO, said in a statement: “We will be paying close attention to the numbers of families and fans diving into HBO Max, as we certainly anticipate that a portion of fans will choose to enjoy Wonder Woman 1984 that way on opening day and beyond. To provide a comparable, a little over four million fans in the US enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie on its opening day in 2017. Is it possible for that to happen again this Christmas with Wonder Woman 1984 between theatres and HBO Max? We are so excited to find out, doing everything in our power to provide the power of choice to fans.”
Wonder Woman 1984 sees Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince enter the Cold War era, as she faces two threats – Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah and Pedro Pascal’s Max Lord – and reunited with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen will also return as Antiope and Hippolyta.
Here’s the trailer: