It honestly was inevitable. Even with world a highly effective vaccine has been made for the COVID-19 pandemic (Rumored to have over a 90% efficiency), the distribute that vaccine will at least take 6 months to a year. And with most studios leaking money, with companies like Disney already set to release big screen features like Soul on their streaming services, Warner Bros. is now following suit. It's now been confirmed that Wonder Woman 1984 will indeed release on Christmas Day...but simultaneously on HBO Max and select U.S. cinemas. Internationally, the film will open in still open cinemas on December 16th, notably in countries where HBO Max is not available. It was confirmed with an official trailer for the HBO Max release which you can see below:
Director Patty Jenkins had this to say on the choice to release the film in this way:
“The time has come. At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else. We love our move as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little bit of joy and reprieve to all of you this holiday season.
What it in theaters, where it is made safe to do so (check out the great work theaters have done to make it so!) And available in the safety of your home on HBO Max where it is not. Happy holidays to all of you. We hope you enjoy our film as much as we enjoyed making it.”
With 50% of U.S. theaters still closed (And many moviegoers still hesitant to even set foot in a cinema), the inevitability could be a sign of decisions Warner Bros. might make with other major releases they have such as Dune. However, given the increase in streaming service subscriptions this year, these tentpole releases could see strong profit in the market, even if it's not the potential billion dollars that were estimated for WW1984 or Dune. While it remains to be seen if other studios take this same step, at least audiences have something to look forward to which, during this pandemic, any anticipation is welcome whenever it comes. Stay tuned!