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‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to be holiday gift to HBO Max subscribers

The movie, which will still get a theatrical release on Dec. 25, will also be available to HBO Max subscribers for a month beginning the same day.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Who doesn’t like having options, especially during a pandemic when approximately half of the country's cinemas are closed while most of the rest operate under strict COVID-19 restrictions to help keep audiences and theater staff safe? AT&T’s WarnerMedia is providing content options by releasing “Wonder Woman 1984” to both its HBO Max subscribers and cinemas nationwide on Dec. 25.

The announcement of the hybrid plan, which came yesterday, is unprecedented, not just in that a major studio movie with a reported $200 million production budget will have a day-and-date release, but that Warner Bros. isn’t charging HBO Max subscribers any additional fees to watch “Wonder Woman 1984,” the new superhero film based on the iconic DC Comics character. Once the film hits the streamer, anyone with an active subscription will be able to watch for no additional charge for one month before the film shifts to VOD platforms prior to a home release. For international markets, which don’t have access to HBO Max, the movie premieres in countries with open theaters on Dec. 16.

Patty Jenkins, director of “Wonder Woman” from 2017 and the new sequel, posted the following statement to Twitter: ““The time has come. At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else. We love our movie as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little bit of joy and reprieve to all of you this holiday season.

“Watch it in theaters, where it is made safe to do so [check out the great work theaters have done to make it so!] And available in the safety of your home on HBO Max where it is not. Happy holidays to all of you. We hope you enjoy our film as much as we enjoyed making it.”

“Wonder Woman 1984” stars Israeli-born Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, a.k.a. Wonder Woman. This will be the fourth time Gadot has portrayed the Justice League member, while Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor. Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen co-star.

Wiig will portray Cheetah, who teams up with Maxwell Lord, played by Pascal. For fans of the comics and the media based on them, Lord was most recently portrayed by Peter Facinelli in episodes of “Supergirl” season one in 2015-16 before the show moved from CBS to the CW for subsequent seasons. Pascal, who stars as the title character in Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” on Disney+, played a character in the “Wonder Woman” pilot episode for NBC in 2011. That series, however, wasn’t picked up.

“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 Ann Sarnoff, chairman and chief executive officer of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, 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 U.S. where theaters are open. We realize 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.”

“Wonder Woman” brought in more than $820 million at the global box office. Between the pandemic and a day-and-date release, it’s inevitable that “Wonder Woman 1984” won’t come anywhere near the box office numbers of the first film, though this strategy seems to be a good investment in the HBO Max platform and is likely to gain a lot of goodwill among movie fans.

Prior to the pandemic, when the new Wonder Woman movie was still set to premiere in late March before having its release date pushed back multiple times, the film was projected to bring in about $1 billion at the global box office.



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