Wonder Woman 1984 to launch on HBO Max and US theatres at the same time

LOS ANGELES • The delayed Warner Bros superhero sequel Wonder Woman 1984 will premiere on HBO Max and in theatres simultaneously from Christmas Day in the United States, the studio announced on Wednesday.

The decision to release the eagerly awaited movie on the company's recently launched streaming platform represents a gamble for a film which cost a reported US$200 million (S$269 million) and comes as Hollywood scrambles to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It wasn't an easy decision and we never thought we'd have to hold on to the release for such a long time, but Covid rocked all of our worlds," wrote star Gal Gadot on her social media accounts.

She added: "You can watch it in theatres (they're doing an amazing job keeping it safe) and you can also watch it on HBO Max from your homes. Sending you my love. Please keep safe and wear a mask."

Wonder Woman 1984's launch date was moved several times and is the last big-budget action film on this year's schedule.

The movie, which was originally due to launch in June, will hit theatres in other countries a week earlier, starting on Dec 16. The release date for Singapore has not been confirmed.

Before the pandemic, blockbuster movies ran only on the big screen for a theatrical window of 90 days, but with theatres closed in many parts of the US, including New York and Los Angeles, distributors have been forced to innovate.

The move comes after Disney released Mulan on Disney+ in September, but unlike that launch, Wonder Woman 1984 will be offered at no extra cost to subscribers of Warner's rival streaming platform for one month.

"As we navigate these unprecedented times, we've had to be innovative in keeping our businesses moving forward while continuing to super-serve our fans," said WarnerMedia studios and networks chairman Ann Sarnoff.

The sequel to 2017's US$800 million-grossing Wonder Woman will see Gadot reprise the title role as one of the comic book universe's biggest female superheroes.

Chris Pine also returns for the sequel, which is set in the 1980s, decades after the World War I-set first movie. Patty Jenkins returns to direct.

The original Wonder Woman received the best reviews of any of the interconnected DC Universe superhero movies from Warner Bros, which also include the latest Superman and Batman films.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2020, with the headline 'Wonder Woman 1984 to launch on HBO Max and US theatres at the same time'. Print Edition | Subscribe