Wonder Woman 1984 may skip theatrical release amid the coronavirus scare and go straight to video on demand.
According to TheWrap, Warner Bros. is seriously considering forgoing the planned theater run of the blockbuster sequel and follow Universal Pictures’ lead.
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Universal moved up the digital releases of Invisible Man and The Hunt due to shutdowns and quarantines taking place around the world. They also decided to distribute Trolls World Tour as a 48-hour rental for $19.99.
Insiders tell TheWrap “the preference is still to release the movie theatrically — but executives are considering a streaming alternative” aside from HBO Max which hasn’t launched yet.
The article continues:
“The concern, the insiders said, is that there is no known date for movie theaters to reopen and there may be a shortage of favorable dates once theaters do come back online for the many films that have been postponed.”
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Talks are preliminary and don’t currently involve WW84 director Patty Jenkins or producer Charles Roven. The Wrap’s sources say they would like the movie to come out in August if it’s delayed at all.
The problem is the uncertain position the crisis placed Hollywood in. “Long-term repercussions” of the pandemic might make any release in the next 4-5 months an unrealistic scenario.
Budget and profit concerns might also hurt the chance of WW84 landing on streaming platforms. Said Charles Roven:
“It’s ludicrous if you consider how big a movie this is. Everybody recognizes that, as interesting as streaming might be, if you want a huge, global worldwide box office, you’ve got to release it in a movie theater.”
“There may come a time we have to make that decision. But why not stay here as long as we can and hope for the best? I don’t think it would be prudent to make a move until take all factors have been taken into consideration.”
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If WB was to move forward with a streaming option it would cost them millions. WW84’s budget hovers around $200 million and the studio is banking on a billion-dollar haul for the sequel.
Putting it on digital – even with a double-digit rental fee – would render that goal impossible from a practical standpoint. Renting it would either be too expensive for consumers or too cheap for the studio to make any money.
Warner President of Domestic Distribution Jeff Goldstein said the plan is still “to release the movie theatrically” and Jenkins reportedly “has had no discussions with the studio” to pull WW84 from theaters and switch its premiere to streaming.
ComicBook.com reported they “reached out to Warner Bros. after the initial report” and it was confirmed to them the June theatrical release is still in play although it is as “subject to delay” as everything else.
If “pushed back,” Wonder Woman 1984 “will be given a full theatrical release,” says CB. “It’s a matter of when, not if.”