Wonder Woman 1984 was supposed to be one of Warner Bros. major 2020 tentpoles, but COVID-19 had other plans. The film, which was scheduled for release back in June, was then pushed to August, then to October, and now it sits on December 25th, a date that’s unlikely to be successful for the film given the rising spike in COVID cases and theaters shut down for the foreseeable future.
This leaves Warner Bros. in a tricky position, and according to Variety, the studio is considering two options. The first is to leave the film on December 25th, but accept that it’s going to be a limited, and short-lived release before quickly shuttling the movie to HBO Max in January. The other option would be to push the movie back again, this time to summer 2021, although there’s no guarantee that theaters would be back at 100% during that time.
If Wonder Woman 1984 lands on HBO Max, that would theoretically be a huge draw for the streaming service, but HBO Max’s problem thus far hasn’t been content. It has a steady stream of original content plus a huge catalog of terrific older titles. HBO Max’s problem is that it’s not on enough platforms, so if you have, say a Roku for example, you can’t get it. Dumping Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max doesn’t solve that problem, and I doubt folks are going to go out and buy an Apple TV just so they can watch a single movie.
The problem that Warner Bros. faces is they need to generate something from these titles and keeping them on the shelf for an indeterminate amount of time may not be financially feasible. Even Disney has accepted that tentpoles like Mulan and Soul have to go on Disney+ right now while other titles like Black Widow can be pushed in 2021. While I think we’d all like to see Wonder Woman 1984 with as wide a release as possible, Warner Bros. may have no choice but to shuttle the title to HBO Max and perhaps attempt a theatrical re-release once the pandemic has passed.