After months of speculation, it was finally confirmed that Wonder Woman 1984 will be coming to streaming on HBO Max in December this year, mere days after it's theatrical release. The news was met with great joy by fans, even as industry analysts wondered how the decision will affect cinema halls in desperate need of new, exclusive blockbuster content. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar published an article where he explained why a combined theatrical and VOD release for Wonder Woman 1984 is in the best interest of everyone.
"We believe this decision will bring several benefits. The first and most important benefit is to the fans in the form of unprecedented choice from day one. The second benefit is to the exhibitors, providing an eagerly anticipated movie at a much-needed time while they take precautions in their operations. Finally, we believe that our creative partners and ourselves will benefit from this decision, in the form of fan response both theatrically and via HBO Max in the U.S."
While Kilar was eager to stress the new arrangement favors everyone, the truth is Wonder Woman 1984 will end up making significantly less money at the box office once it becomes available online. But under the current circumstances, the only other option would have been to postpone the film's release by several more months, and that would have led to even more costs accrued by WarnerMedia.
Kilar goes on to admit that the studio has tempered their expectations with regards to Wonder Woman 1984's box-office performance, but that the film's release will allow them to test out a new measure of popularity for their films that is set to become increasingly more important in the coming years: How many new subscribers HBO Max manages to lure in just to watch Wonder Woman 1984.
"I find it fascinating that we will be measuring the performance of this movie in an entirely new way. To use a line from The Wizard of Oz, we're not in Kansas anymore. While we will pay attention to theatrical revenues, our expectations are clearly adjusted due to [the global emergency]. In parallel, 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 U.S. 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 theaters and HBO Max? We are so excited to find out, doing everything in our power to provide the power of choice to fans."
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 features Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Natasha Rothwell. The film 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. WarnerMedia.