We should receive a confirmation of a decision from Warner Bros. Pictures (probably after the Stock Market closes to mitigate effects over the weekend) of a change in release for Wonder Woman 1984. The Patty Jenkins directed project, and sequel to the successful 2017 release, Wonder Woman the film was originally set for release on December 13th 2019. Since then it was moved to November 2019, then June 5th 2020, then with the coronavirus pandemic moved till August 2020.
It continued to face delays till October 2020, and the most recent announcement was December 25th 2020. However, it’s been rampant with speculation since America began reclosing some cinemas, and most of Europe faced a second wave lockdown that a further delay would arrive.
Rumours have been abound, for the past month that HBO Max would receive a streaming version of the film around Christmas time. However, Deadline reports insider sources deny this is being considered favourably by executives.
Warner Bros are particularly set against streaming their heavily invested theatrical release as opposed to a cinema release. Similar to Christopher Nolan and Tenet, director Patty Jenkins has made no secret of her demands the film sees a cinema release.
But she has talked about the uncertainty causing issues. “I don’t think anybody can be confident of anything right now, we just don’t know what the course of COVID is going to be like”.
Vaccine Positivity Runs Short
With recent vaccine news taking the world by storm in a positive note this week, and Cineworld PLC seeing shares rise by 40% it seemed cinemas were turning a corner.
However, it’s unlikely this will have an effect until at least spring 2021 which leaves a dilemma for big releases. Do they wait it out a few more months to ensure a larger box office return? Or release now and help exhibitors (the few that are open0 survive over those few months until spring?
Whilst we await confirmation which is heavily expected today or Monday at the latest, there’s always the possibility of a move to the empty weekend of June 4th 2021 that probably looks tempting to the studio. In favour of cinemas, streaming services and on-demand cannot replicate the margins and revenue from cinema released movies which is why films keep being pushed or delayed.
$1 billion-dollar release
Wonder Woman 1984 isn’t the Witches, it’s not Scoob! it’s a potential $1b worldwide release. Whatever happens, a move is most likely and this will be devastating further to cinemas across the world relying on a tentpole over Christmas.
With UK cinemas expecting to open up for December it affects us here rather drastically, we’ve had no decision on Peter Rabbit 2 due to release the second weekend of December. But if we look at the course of the lockdown and Hollywood so far, it’s guaranteed that Peter Rabbit won’t see a big screen this year and will be delayed too.
What about Odeon, Vue, Empire, Showcase?
Which leaves decisions for operators in the UK for the coming month, do they re-open over lockdown showing old festive films and any small release they can find?
A programme of Elf, Polar Express, Die Hard, Christmas Carol seems to be popping up across smaller independent cinemas around the country already. But can a multiplex really generate enough money from this to make being open worthwhile whilst the 80% government-backed furlough scheme is in place?
Certainly, it will make more fiscal sense to remain closed over the period if Wonder Woman 1984 and Peter Rabbit 2 delay. Once again, it’s a tense weekend for Cinema operators.
What do you make of this news? Are you worried about the state of the cinema industry and do you think Wonder Woman 1984 will be delayed well into 2021? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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