Wonder Woman’s immense Amazonian ferocity would, on any given day, stop the machinations of just about any supervillain, but it appears that her highly-anticipated DC Extended Universe sequel movie will capitulate—temporarily, anyway—to the global pandemic that has impacted civilization as we know it.
In a move that was expected as the overwhelming outbreak of the coronavirus exponentially increases and theaters remain widely shuttered, Warner Bros. has officially delayed the release of sequel Wonder Woman 1984 from its June 5 release date in North America, shifting back to a new release date, August 14.
As Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich expresses of the delay in a statement:
“When we greenlit WW 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 theaters on August 14th.” He adds, “We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then.”
Of course, concerns over the coronavirus have already affected most of the entertainment industry’s backlog, inciting delays and/or outright cancellations of myriad film and television projects. Yet, considering the intrinsic uncertainty of the situation, Warner’s reallocation of Wonder Woman 1984 by merely two months is a somewhat conservative response. In a stark contrast, the arguable catalyst of the industry’s coronavirus collapse was the delay of James Bond offering No Time to Die from its original April 10 North American release all the way to November 25, representing a delay of over seven months. That early precautionary move was made back when the outbreak was still mostly located in China. Moreover, a similarly-crucial female-headlined superhero film in Marvel’s Black Widow also recently pulled its May 1 release, leaving it without any release date to cite.
Yet, it’s clear that Warner is opting to take an optimistic approach to this schedule shift. It’s not an unfounded optimism as rumblings—anecdotal as they may be—proliferate of sporadically successful treatments for the virus, and the public are (slowly but steadily) starting to grasp the severity of the disease and the wider implications (for everyone). Indeed, it’s very possible that nearly five months of self-quarantining and social distancing amongst the general public could, in the very least, contain the virulence to a point where theaters are operating again. Of course, if that doesn’t pan out, then Warner will just move the date even further back, and we’ll have forgotten about this August stuff.
Interestingly enough, Wonder Woman 1984 was the center of a recent rumor implying that Warner was considering a radical distribution detour to make the guaranteed blockbuster of a film—purportedly budgeted at $200 million—into a VOD streaming exclusive, maintained within the Time-Warner corporate tentpole on the May-launching HBO Max service; a notion that the studio emphatically denied. Yet, the now-debunked rumor wasn’t an outrageously unrealistic idea, especially as Universal and other studios have started to embrace early VOD releases of current theatrical offerings; a measure that, hopefully for everyone’s sake, won’t become a prolonged necessity.
We, of course, will keep on top of the Wonder Woman 1984 situation as the news develops!