Warner Bros. has postponed the release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” the latest development in Hollywood’s rocky plans to return to the movies.
The superhero sequel starring Gal Gadot, which was expected to debut on Oct. 2, will now touch down in theaters on Dec. 25, 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.”
Director Patty Jenkins added, “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!”
Warner Bros. recently took a risk in releasing “Tenet” on the big screen, marking the first major blockbuster to debut since movie theaters closed in March due to the pandemic. The $200 million-budgeted film, from director Christopher Nolan, launched over Labor Day weekend in the U.S. to a muted $20 million. The studio was presumably waiting to assess domestic ticket sales for “Tenet” before making a decision about moving “Wonder Woman.”
With the delay of “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Tenet” won’t face much competition among ticket buyers and could see a boost in sales in the coming weeks. For now, Disney and Marvel’s comic book adventure “Black Widow” on Nov. 6 is the next major film on calendars. In the meantime, smaller movies like Sony’s romantic comedy “The Broken Hearts Gallery” plan to open this weekend.
Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic “Dune,” also from Warner Bros., is still slated to open on Dec. 18, a week prior to “Wonder Woman 1984.” But there’s a good chance that film — starring Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac and Zendaya — will be pushed into 2021 to avoid clashing for attention from audiences. When the first “Dune” trailer dropped earlier this week, it conspicuously lacked a release date.
Nearly 70% of movie theaters in the U.S. have reopened, but important markets like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco remain closed. Box office analysts suggest that it’s unwise to release big-budgeted movies until those areas can welcome patrons. The first “Wonder Woman,” in 2017, collected over $400 million in North America alone — and the sequel would struggle to even come close to that figure without some of the country’s biggest markets in play.
Warner Bros. has found massive success over the holidays with its DC properties. “Aquaman,” which released in 2018, generated over $1 billion after hitting theaters around Christmastime. The hope, barring a second wave of coronavirus, is that theaters in New York and Los Angeles will be able to open by then.
“Wonder Woman 1984” has been delayed numerous times amid the pandemic. It was originally scheduled for June 5 before moving to Aug. 14 and then Oct. 2.
It’s not entirely surprising that the sequel “Wonder Woman” was postponed again. Four weeks ahead of its October release date, and the studio had hardly done any promotion. “Wonder Woman” is a hugely important franchise for Warner Bros., and the company couldn’t risk mediocre box office receipts. The movie cost roughly $180 million to produce, not counting pricey global marketing fees.