Wonder Woman 1984 is the latest film to be delayed as movie theaters across the country shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The film, which was supposed to open on June 5th, will now open on August 14th. Warner Bros. has also delayed In the Heights, a movie based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, indefinitely. Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated film, Tenet, is still on schedule for July 17th at this time.
“When we greenlit Wonder Woman 1984, it was with every intention to be viewed on the big screen and are excited to announce that Warner Bros. Pictures will be bringing the film to theatres on Aug. 14,” Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures chairman, said in a statement to Variety. “We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then.”
Wonder Woman 1984 follows Disney’s Mulan, Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, and Universal’s F9 in being delayed instead of receiving a digital-first release. DreamWorks’ Trolls World Tour will forgo a theatrical release completely and go straight to digital retailers like Amazon and iTunes.
More studios are looking at digital-first or early digital releases as theaters remain unsure of when they’ll be able to open their doors again amid the coronavirus pandemic. Even then, once those doors open, it might take some time before swaths of people venture out to watch movies.
“We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible,” Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, said in a statement.
We made Wonder Woman 1984 for the big screen and I believe in the power of cinema. In these terrible times, when theater owners are struggling as so many are, we are excited to re-date our film to August 14th 2020 in a theater near you, and pray for better times for all by then pic.twitter.com/85ykQ8x6NE— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) March 24, 2020
Wonder Woman was the third highest-grossing film of 2017, and its sequel could come close to hitting $1 billion at the box office if not more. Although The Wrap reported that Warner Bros. executives talked about bringing it directly to HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s new streaming platform, it would be a major write-down on the film. Warner Bros. also maintains a positive relationship with theaters; Joker earned more than $1 billion worldwide, and many of its DC movies gross more than $600 million at the box office.
“To avoid catastrophic losses to the studios, these titles must have the fullest possible theatrical release around the world,” a statement from the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) reads. “While one or two releases may forgo theatrical release, it is our understanding from discussions with distributors that the vast majority of deferred releases will be rescheduled for theatrical release as life returns to normal.”