When Warner Bros. announced last month that “Wonder Woman 1984” would open on Dec. 25, it was no less than the sixth release date for the movie, and the third since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the film industry to play a losing game of hopscotch with the theatrical release calendar. Once expected to be the biggest movie of the summer, “Wonder Woman 1984” has been pushed this year from June 5 to Aug. 14, then again to Oct. 2, and now to Christmas as practically the only major theatrical release left in the calendar year.
Asked about the ever-shifting release dates for the project for the latest Variety cover story, “Wonder Woman 1984” costar Pedro Pascal — who plays the villain Max Lord in the film — basically shrugged.
“As far as movie releases are concerned and the tremendous way that the industry is having to improvise around these circumstances, nothing is surprising,” Pascal said. “We’re all getting used to things shifting day-to-day, hour-to-hour, you know? That’s what we’re all dealing with.”
Whether Diana Prince will indeed grace multiplexes in the U.S. and Canada in 2020 at all remains very much an open question. Cases in the U.S. are surging once again, flu season is beginning to kick into gear, and some exhibitors have already announced plans to close before Dec. 25 due to the lack of fresh films and moribund consumer interest in attending theaters.
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“I don’t think anybody can be confident of anything right now,” director Patty Jenkins told Variety in a separate interview last month about Pascal. “We just don’t know what the course of COVID is going to be like.”
Jenkins was quick to add that she’s “very hopeful” her film can still open on Dec. 25. “It feels totally possible to me,” she said.
Still, by this point in the year, “Wonder Woman 1984” was supposed to have wrapped up its theatrical run after presumably conquering the world. Instead, Jenkins has been caught in an unpleasantly novel variant of Hollywood purgatory.
“It’s unbelievably surreal,” Jenkins said. “The biggest surreality about it is it’s supposed to be one adventure, right? You sign on to the movie, you write the movie, you direct the movie, you make the movie, the movie comes out, and you move on. Instead, like, I spent three years doing one thing, seven days a week, and then I just popped out of it to just nothing. No evidence of that [work].”
The filmmaker quickly stopped herself. “I mean, that’s not true. I still work on, you know, Doritos bags and stuff like that all the time,” she said. But her film’s been complete for months and yet until mid-September, virtually no one had seen it.
“For the longest time, the only people who’d seen the movie were the people who’d worked on the movie,” she said. “We just showed our own agents. That was thrilling, to finally get to talk to people who didn’t know what the movie was. But it’s super weird to go from making a movie with such detail and being so excited for the experience of people getting to share in that with you, and then just going on to cleaning your house and cooking.”
For his part, Pascal remained philosophical about the ultimate fate of the biggest movie of his career so far.
“I don’t know,” he said with a chuckle. “That would that would be like assuming I know scientifically, economically, socially so many large things that are just way above my pay-grade. We have information, but still there’s so much more information to be had and sometimes the information feels like it changes so quickly. As maddening and as scary as that feels like to live with on a day-to-day basis, it does make sense, because this is new. Every time I’m like, ‘Well, why don’t we knoowwww?’ It’s like, because it’s a new virus. It just takes time to figure it out.”