WarnerMedia is done playing around. After unexpectedly announcing that all their upcoming movies will debut on HBO Max at the same time as in theaters, the studio has also quietly discontinued the free trial run period for HBO Max a few weeks before Wonder Woman 1984 debuts on the streaming service. On the other hand, the streaming service is now offering a 20 percent discount if you sign up for six months, according to the fine print.
"Total discounted price is $69.99, plus applicable tax. Offer valid from December 3, 2020 to January 15, 2021."
The move to discontinue the trial run for HBO Max is understandable. The fact that Wonder Woman 1984 will air for free on HBO Max means a massive chunk of its box office potential has been reduced. If people get to watch the film online for free, the profits will be further reduced for the studio. On the other hand, if fans are willing to pony up the fee for a monthly or half-yearly subscription on HBO Max to watch Wonder Woman 1984, Warner will be able to recoup some of their losses.
WarnerMedia's current strategy is completely new and revolutionary in the field of blockbuster moviemaking. Their previous experiment with releasing Tenet solely in theaters did not end up too well for the studio. And the situation is becoming increasingly desperate, as Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, previously hinted while talking about the company's new distribution strategy.
"We're living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group. No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021. With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theaters or aren't quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films. We see it as a win-win for film lovers and exhibitors, and we're extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working with us on this innovative response to these circumstances."
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Natasha Rothwell. The movie follows the adventures of Princess Diana in the 1980s as she tries to juggle her private life with her duties as the superhero Wonder Woman, who must battle against the combined forces of Maxwell Lord and The Cheetah.
Wonder Woman 1984 arrives in theaters and HBO Max on December 25, while debuting theatrically in international markets starting on December 16. The film will be available for a month on HBO Max in the U.S. included at no additional cost. CBR brought us this news first.