That thud you just heard? That was the sound of the last blockbuster film holding on to the pipe dream of a normal theatrical release in 2020 toppling over. On Wednesday, Variety reported that Wonder Woman 1984 the highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman will be debuting simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max on December 25, rather than solely in theaters. “THE TIME HAS COME,” wrote director Patty Jenkins on social media, “At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else. We love our movie as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little joy and reprieve to all of you this holiday season.” The superhero sequel starring Gal Gadot is the last major Hollywood movie scheduled for a theatrical release in the cursed year that is 2020, as every other major film title has been either pushed to 2021 or set to be released on a streaming platform. Wonder Woman 1984’s two pronged debut strategy is unique, as over 50% of theaters across the U.S. remain closed due to coronavirus.
Chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, Ann Sarnoff, acknowledged the difficulties that COVID-19 has presented for the film industry and how it played into the decision to release Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max as well as in theaters. “This is an amazing film that really comes to life on the big screen and, working with our partners in the exhibition community, we will provide that option to consumers in the U.S. where theaters are open,” Scharnoff said. “We realize that a lot of consumers can’t go back to the movies due to the pandemic, so we also want to give them the option to see Wonder Woman 1984 via our HBO Max platform.” Overseas where HBO Max is not available, Wonder Woman 1984 will open on December 16. Unlike other major releases that pivoted to streaming platforms like Mulan and Trolls World Tour, the movie will be available in the U.S. for one month on HBO Max in the U.S. at no additional cost to subscribers. Wonder Woman 1984 has been delayed multiple times due to the pandemic initially set to debut in theaters on June 5 before moving to August 14, then October 2 and finally landing on December 25. So, now you can watch Gal Gadot take on Kristin Wiig from the comfort of your home on Christmas Day without the fear of potentially infecting or being infected by anyone during a surging pandemic. Plus, Wonder Woman 1984 coming out in theaters and on streaming really shakes things up for Vulture’s Fall Movie Fantasy League, so Christmas has truly come earlier this year.