Prophesied just days ago, the rocky reopening of American movie theaters as led by Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has prompted Warner Bros. to further delay Wonder Woman 1984, pushing the DC heroine to a Christmas Day (December 25th) release. 1984 was previously set to premiere October 2nd. The delay is the latest in a long line for Wonder Woman, which was originally slated for a late-Fall release in 2019 before being pushed to 2020.
Tenet‘s less-than-spectacular box office numbers were no doubt tough learning for Warner Bros., who distributed Nolan’s latest after months of delay. With a budget around $200 million, the John David Washington-led sci-fi thriller opened to a $20 million turnout over the Labor Day Weekend, with the film’s international run raking in over $78 million, bringing the return to approximately $146 million. The low turnout goes hand-in-hand with the tenuous reopening of theaters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with key markets in New York and California remaining shuttered.
On Wonder Woman‘s delay, director Patty Jenkins reaffirmed the team’s commitment to the theatrical experience, citing how “important it is to bring this movie to [audiences] on a big screen,” much in the way Christopher Nolan pushed for Tenet‘s release theatrically, over a premium VOD premiere.
It’s in Warner Bros. commitment to holding their major releases that the divisions in Hollywood strategy become apparent, with the likes of Disney eschewing a theatrical release for Mulan, instead opting for their controversial home-streaming release. As the pandemic continues to leave potential ticket-buyers wary of public exhibitions, expect to see further folds in strategy from the heavy-hitting studios.
Wonder Woman‘s delay to Christmas is unfortunate but unavoidable in a situation that remains to heal. The December date is optimistic in hoping that COVID-19 surges begin to wane and audiences feel safer in returning to cinemas, but the truth is that nothing is guaranteed. For further updates, stay tuned.