'Wonder Woman 1984' To Be Released In Theaters And HBO Max
The global coronavirus pandemic continues to reshape the way the film and entertainment industry does its business. The latest casualty of the pandemic's new normal is the superhero film Wonder Woman 1984.
Variety reports that while Warner Bros. has decided to stick to the Christmas Day opening date for the much-awaited superhero sequel, it will premiering the film not just in movie theaters but also in the streaming service HBO Max as well.
As soon as the film starts screening in cinemas on Dec. 25, subscribers to HBO Max will also be able to stream the film on the same day at no extra cost. For countries and territories that have no HBO Max, the film will be screened in cinemas a week earlier, on Dec. 16.
In a statement put out by WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff, it is revealed that the decision to do this hybrid release was to help out movie theaters that have been battered by closures brought about by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the option to watch the film on HBO Max came about as a way for moviegoers unable to watch in theaters to still get to see the film without having to risk their health and safety.
While this is the first time a hybrid release has been done for a superhero movie, it is not the first time that a studio has done this strategy. Back in September, Disney+ subscribers in the United States were able to watch Mulan at an added cost, while countries that had already reopened theaters were able to watch there.
The $29.99 early-access fee charged by Disney+ is on top of the $6.99 monthly subscription fee that the streaming service charges its users. Users who did not want to pay that extra amount will only have to wait until Dec. 4 as Mulan will then be made available to all subscribers.
Deadline notes that theater owners are usually against studios making films available on streaming services while it is still being shown in cinemas. However, the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic have forced them to be flexible.
The publication notes that Wonder Woman 1984 will only be available on the HBO Max streaming service for a month. For the next 30 days, the movie will only be available in theaters before making it back to HBO Max and other paid video-on-demand services.
With the global coronavirus pandemic not looking to slow down anytime soon, more and more blockbusters might be released this way. As of the Nov. 18 update from the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are now 55,326,907 confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world. Deaths caused by COVID-19 worldwide are now at 1,333,742 people.