Wonder Woman is changing course again.
Warner Bros. announced on Thursday that its much-anticipated sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984” will be released on HBO Max and in U.S. theaters on Dec. 25, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The decision to release the movie in theaters and on a streaming platform is a move to attract viewers as a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic rages across the United States, the newspaper reported. Warner Bros. also hopes to attract more subscribers to HBO Max, which launched in May.
HBO Max carries a $15.99 monthly subscription fee, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Wonder Woman 1984” will be available for one month on HBO Max in the U.S.
In countries where HBO Max is not available, “Wonder Woman 1984″ will premiere on Dec. 16, Variety reported.
Gal Gadot, who stars as DC Comics superhero Wonder Woman, tweeted, “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.”
“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,” Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, which includes Warner Bros. Pictures, said in a statement. “This is an amazing film that really comes to life on the big screen and, working with our partners in the exhibition community, we will provide that option to consumers in the U.S. where theaters are open. We realize that a lot of consumers can’t go back to the movies due to the pandemic, so we also want to give them the option to see ‘Wonder Woman 1984′ via our HBO Max platform.”
The film originally had a June 2020 premiere date, but COVID-19 closed theaters nationwide, the Times reported. Then it was moved to Aug. 15 and then Oct. 2 before it was shelved again, NBC News reported.
“At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else,” director Patty Jenkins said in a statement on Wednesday. “We love our movie as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little bit of joy and reprieve to all of you this holiday season.”
Earlier in the pandemic, Warner Bros. decided to send titles like “Scoob” to premium video-on-demand and “The Witches” to HBO Max, Variety reported. The company is hoping that by keeping “Wonder Woman 1984” in theaters, it will give the struggling movie industry a chance to recoup big losses in 2020.
The original 2017 “Wonder Woman” movie grossed $821.8 million in global box office sales, including $412.6 million in the U.S. and Canada, the Times reported.
“We appreciate how patient audiences have been and given the great anticipation around ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ we are grateful to be able to make this terrifically entertaining movie widely available in these challenging times,” Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement.
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