Hollywood’s quintessential summer blockbuster has been devastated by the COVID pandemic, with studios clinging to multi-billion dollar releases for fear of low ticket sales and theaters hit hard by health ordinances. Warner Bros. is tired of waiting: Wonder Woman 1
In its announcement, Warner Bros. that the film will have no additional cost to HBO Max, which is ultimately owned by parent company AT&T, on December 25. That is in stark contrast to a similar move by Disney, which released the live action Mulan on Disney + with a one-time additional payment of $ 30. Disney is also releasing Pixar’s latest animated movie, Soul, on Disney + (free) at Christmas. But it has pushed back its own female-led superhero blockbuster Black Widow to a future release in 2021.
The original Wonder Woman is one of the best received of DC’s current superhero movie. The release of the highly anticipated sequel, in which Diana explores 1980s America and pits against iconic comic villain Cheetah, is sure to bring in quite a few new HBO Max subscriptions.
Releasing a new movie, both in theaters and on a streaming platform, was not unprecedented even before the pandemic. But it does for such a high-profile release, and it could shake up the struggling theater industry further. Earlier this year, AMC theaters dropped all of Universal Studios’ films after an executive commented on the success of Trolls: World Tour as a streaming release. The theater chain eventually gave in, but it’s clear that the new reality of the pandemic is causing the movie industry to shift even faster than it already was.