Well, it’s happened. Just as the rumours predicted (well, almost). Wonder Woman 1984 has been delayed. The DC Comics superhero blockbuster sequel was supposed to hit theatres on 2 October but will now instead be released on 25 December 2020.
The upcoming sequel to 2017’s record-breaking Wonder Woman will see Gal Gadot return as the iconic superhero with Patty Jenkins once again directing. The filmmaker, who co-wrote the script with comic book legend Geoff Johns and screenwriter David Callahan, issued a statement on the film’s delay to Christmas.
First and foremost let me say how much Gal and I love all our devoted Wonder Woman fans around the world, and your excitement for WW84 couldn’t make us happier or more eager for you to see the movie. Because I know how important it is to bring this movie to you on a big screen when all of us can share the experience together, I’m hopeful you won’t mind waiting just a little bit longer. With the new date on Christmas Day, we can’t wait to spend the holidays with you!
Wonder Woman 1984 was originally supposed to debut in early July but then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, throwing into disarray all film release schedules. Warner Bros was forced to push the film back to mid-August and then October, as cinemas in the US and several other countries around the world remained closed. While that has started to change, 35% of North American venues have still not opened their doors. And, much to the studio’s dismay, the ones that are open haven’t exactly been doing big business.
WB released Christopher Nolan’s Tenet into cinemas two weeks ago, touting it as the vanguard of a return to commercial normalcy for the industry. However, despite a strong start overseas, Tenet has done tepid business stateside. The already just middling $20.2 million it was originally reported to have earned in its opening weekend in the US has since been revealed to include numbers from advanced screenings up to a week earlier. The actual number was closer to $13 million.
And now, this weekend past, it was revealed that WB is no longer sharing any further box office numbers for Tenet via the usual channels. That does not bode well for the $200 million production’s success. As such, moving Wonder Woman 1984 to December will give WB some much-needed time to keep Tenet in cinemas without any major competition. But here’s where things get tricky.
Contrary to what those original reports from last week had claimed, while Wonder Woman 1984is being pushed to Christmas Day, WB is still keeping Dune in its 18 December slot. According to industry insiders, WB realizes that separating these two blockbusters by just a week is a risky proposition, but the studio looks at what happened in December 2017 when Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opened just a week apart. Those films ended up earning a whopping $1.333 billion and $962.1 million respectively, and WB is hoping that type of double success happens again.
But 2020 is most definitely not 2017 and the fact that WB is stubbornly refusing to acknowledge this is rather frustrating. Rivals Disney and Universal have adjusted by experimenting with shifting releases to streaming services, while Sony stated over the weekend that the studio has seen what’s happening to Tenet and won’t release any big-budget films into cinemas until the pandemic has passed entirely. Meanwhile, WB has steadfastly stuck to a theatrical release gameplan as if it can simply will away the effects of the pandemic. Time will tell if this will blow up in the studio’s collective faces or not.
Last Updated: September 14, 2020