Anyone who was really looking forward to seeing Kristen Wiig hit the big screen looking like a Petster toy cat that was thrown in the washing machine on a heavy scrub cycle (even though the tag specifically says spot clean ONLY), are going to have to wait just a bit longer. Wonder Woman 1984 feels like it’s going to take 84 years to finally make it to the theaters, because Variety is reporting that the release date has been pushed to Christmas.
Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to 2017’s hit Wonder Woman, was scheduled to premiere in November 2019, then it was moved to December 2019. Eventually, they pushed that date and settled on Summer 2020. It got rescheduled for June, then August, then October. Now it’s December 25th, 2020.
“Patty is an exceptional filmmaker and with Wonder Woman 1984 she has delivered an incredibly dynamic film that moviegoers of all ages around the world will absolutely love,” said Toby Emmerich, Warmer Bros. Motion Picture Group chairman. “We’re very proud of the film and look forward to bringing it to audiences for the holidays.”
IndieWire suspects the schedule change comes down to money.
Warner Bros. finally released Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in theaters last month. Its budget was a reported $200 million (before marketing), and so far it has brought in $152 million worldwide after a few weeks in theaters. IndieWire points out that Tenet hasn’t broken even yet, which is a sign of the current state of the box office.
Wonder Woman 1984 also cost about $200 million, and Warner Bros. is likely nervous that it could do the same box office numbers as Tenet did.
Even if the studio conveyed that the business for Nolan’s film was encouraging, any delay would suggest not enough to justify releasing these titles into a still-shaky theatrical ecosystem on the schedule planned.
The pushback suggests long-term concerns about theaters’ survival. New York and Los Angeles, the top two markets, are still not guaranteed to be open by early October.
IndieWire points out that Tenet was supposed to be one of those big-budget movies that everyone goes to see so they can all talk about it the next day with their friends or Twitter followers. That’s what Warner Bros. expected Wonder Woman and Dune to be as well. Dune is scheduled for release on December 18th, and it also reportedly cost about $200 million to make, before marketing. You can’t count on an “experience” movie if the audience is more afraid of experiencing COVID symptoms after they buy a ticket and their popcorn.
Even with seating limitations, exhibitors haven’t faced sold-out theaters. Tenet, with its staggered openings and three days of sneaks in the U.S. before a Thursday opening, may have lacked the major impact of a communal event that can build excitement.
Now it would appear that Dune is premiering first. Except that Variety says that’s unlikely to happen, now that Wonder Woman 1984 has been pushed.
There’s a good chance [Dune] – starring Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac and Zendaya – will be pushed into 2021 to avoid clashing for attention from audiences.
If they do push it to 2021, they should try for a Valentine’s Day release. Nothing sets the mood for love like chocolates, flowers, a romantic dinner for two, and a giant sandworm that looks like an anus.