Is Warner Pictures Group releasing Wonder Woman 1984 online?

March 21, 2020

Is Wonder Woman 1984 going to bypass theaters altogether and head straight to streaming? Warner Bros. is reportedly mulling over what to do with their upcoming superhero sequel as the fate of movie theaters remains up the air. The coronavirus has shut down many theaters across the globe, and there’s no telling when they’ll back up and running. For the time being, many studios – including Warners – have decided to release several of their recent titles on digital early.

The Wrap is reporting that Warner Bros. is considering releasing Wonder Woman 1984 to digital instead of theaters, “probably as a direct-to-consumer offering rather than as part of Warner’s soon-to-launch subscription service HBO Max.” Nothing is official yet, and the studio’s preference is to stick to a theatrical release – that’s how they make their money, after all.

But the theatrical landscape is in a weird place right now. The coronavirus has shut down theaters across the world, and there’s no clear indication of when they might open up again. On top of that, there’s a real concern that many theater chains – like AMC – can’t survive a long shutdown. Meaning that whenever this current crisis ends, some theaters might not even be able to re-open.

Still, this is a rumor for the time being, and nothing is written in stone. Warner President of Domestic Distribution Jeff Goldstein even went on record to say that there haven’t been streaming discussions, adding: “We’re looking to release the movie theatrically, that’s our plan.” Director Patty Jenkins has also reportedly not been involved with any discussion to release the film to streaming first, he said. An individual close to the film confirmed that Jenkins has had no discussions with the studio about a streaming option.

And then there’s the money factor. Warners would have to “hit tens of millions of streaming purchases” to make back the movie’s budget, and make it a success. Executive producer Charles Roven said: “It’s ludicrous if you consider how big a movie this is. Everybody recognizes that, as interesting as streaming might be, if you want a huge, global worldwide box office, you’ve got to release it in a movie theater.”

Discussions are taking place involving people like Warner Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich and his advisers and as per director Patty Jenkins and producer Charles Roven haven't been involved as well. Though the theatrical release is a priority, Warner is planning a direct-to-consumer offering through their subscription service HBO Max. While an official clarification is awaited, it must be noted that initially the Gal Gadot starrer “Wonder Woman 1984” was planned to release on June 4.

Meanwhile, IndieWire says Warner Bros. has flat-out told them the movie will go to theaters. That could change, of course, but for now, they’re sticking with theatrical.

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