“Wonder Woman 1984” has been playing leapfrog on the calendar for months. The flick, starring Gal Gadot, was originally scheduled for June 5. Due to the pandemic, it initially moved to Aug. 14 before moving again to Oct. 2.
“Patty is an exceptional filmmaker and with Wonder Woman 1984 she has delivered an incredibly dynamic film that moviegoers of all ages around the world will absolutely love,” said Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. chairman. “We’re very proud of the film and look forward to bringing it to audiences for the holidays.”
Director Patty Jenkins added, “First and foremost let me say how much Gal and I love all our devoted Wonder Woman fans around the world, and your excitement for ‘WW84’ couldn’t make us happier or more eager for you to see the movie. Because I know how important it is to bring this movie to you on a big screen when all of us can share the experience together, I’m hopeful you won’t mind waiting just a little bit longer. With the new date on Christmas Day, we can’t wait to spend the holidays with you!”
Warner Bros. was faced with a difficult decision with regard to releasing what is considered a major tentpole picture. Unlike Disney with “Mulan,” the studio doesn’t have its own streaming service to potentially release the film to. Warner boldly released “Tenet” to theaters last week despite limited capacity and reduced demand at theaters. It resulted in a rather tepid $20 million domestic box office return (the Christopher Nolan film also grossed $53 internationally, bringing its total worldwide box office to $146 million). As a result, analysts are expecting “Tenet” to essentially break even at the end of its 12-week run.
Accordingly, Warner Bros. has now decided that delaying a prized asset such as “Wonder Woman 1984” is the best course of action, now billing the $180 million action flick as a blockbuster Christmas release. The move also allows “Tenet” additional time and space to potentially turn a profit. Now that another movie by Warner Bros. won’t be released, essentially avoiding having the studio compete against itself, “Tenet” has a veritable monopoly in cinemas until Nov. 6 when Disney and Marvel’s comic book adventure “Black Widow” is scheduled for release.
Approximately 70% of cinemas across the U.S. are currently up and running, but major markets such as Los Angeles and New York are still closed. The first “Wonder Woman,” released in 2017, earned more than $400 million in North America alone. The sequel would no doubt struggle to even come close to that figure without all of the continent’s largest markets in play.