“Wonder Woman 1984” — the only big-budget movie still scheduled to be released in theaters this year — may end up on the HBO Max streaming service soon after its release,
“Wonder Woman 1984” — the only big-budget movie still scheduled to be released in theaters this year — may end up on the HBO Max streaming service soon after its release, according to report.
Warner Bros. is mulling moving the superhero flick starring Gal Godot from its Christmas Day theatrical debut to sometime in 2021, Bloomberg reported. But another option that is gaining support is to quickly release of the movie to WarnerMedia’s fledgling home-streaming service HBO Max — as little as a week or two after it hits theaters, according to the report (paywall).
Higher-ups at the company, faced with state-ordered lockdowns and coronavirus scares that have emptied theaters nationwide, are in the final stages of talks about the fate of “Wonder Woman,” according to the late Thursday report, which cited anonymous sources. Warner Bros. did not return requests for comment.
Insiders told Bloomberg that a quick-to-home video release is gaining support internally, adding that movie theaters are also more receptive to the idea than usual. The move could kill two birds with one stone by helping the new streamer add subscribers quickly while keeping cinemas open with a new release at the same time.
Releasing a big budget movie like “Wonder Woman” to home streaming so quickly would be a no-no under pre-pandemic circumstances. The movie, which has been delayed from June 5 to Aug. 14, then Oct. 2 before landing on Dec. 25, was expected to be one of the summer’s biggest hits. It is a follow-up to a movie that grossed $822 million worldwide in 2017.
But Hollywood is being forced to get creative with film releases and it has yet to find a winning formula. Warner Bros. tried the traditional method by releasing Christopher Nolan’s spy thriller “Tenet” in theaters around Labor Day weekend. The big-budget film grossed just $55 million domestically and $296 million internationally.
Disney tried a hybrid method with “Mulan” by releasing it on its streaming service, Disney+ for a $30 additional cost while simultaneously debuting it in certain foreign theaters. The strategy was seen by many as a rare misstep for the Mouse House as the film grossed just $67 million at the box office. Disney hasn’t released “Mulan’s” Disney+ haul but reports have put it between $200 million and $260 million.
In pre-pandemic conditions, both “Tenet” and “Mulan” were expected do bring in more than $800 million.
Meanwhile, WarnerMedia’s new chief executive Jason Kilar is under pressure to grow HBO Max’s subscriber base. HBO Max finished the quarter with just under 9 million active users. Together, the HBO premium cable channel and HBO Max have 38 million US customers and 57 million worldwide.