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Will ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ skip theaters and go straight to streaming?

Published Mar 20th, 2020 8:09PM EDT
Wonder Woman 1984
Image: Warner Bros.

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  • Wonder Woman 1984 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on June 5th, but there’s no telling if theaters will actually be open again when the release date arrives.
  • A new report claims that some Warner Bros. executives have discussed selling the movie online and skipping theaters altogether, which producer Charles Roven does not want.
  • Warner Bros. denies this report, stating that Wonder Woman 1984 will release in theaters.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

It wasn’t long ago that a movie going straight to a streaming service and skipping a theatrical release altogether was seen as a sign that the distributor wasn’t confident if the movie would succeed. In our new reality – the one in which a viral pandemic is forcing us all to stay away from public venues such as movie theaters – going straight to streaming might be the new normal. In fact, even the biggest studios are now considering it.

TheWrap reports that Warner Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich and his top advisers are currently discussing the idea of bypassing theaters and releasing Wonder Woman 1984 digitally instead. According to TheWrap’s sources, not even director Patty Jenkins and producer Charles Roven have been included in these talks yet.

The sources say that Warner Bros. would still prefer to release its blockbuster superhero sequel theatrically, but with everything happening, the executives are considering a digital release, likely as a direct-to-consumer purchase rather than as part of an over-the-top streaming service like HBO Max. The concern is that no one knows when the theaters will be open again, and even if they do come back sooner than expected, finding a new date to release a movie will be a challenge, as everyone in the industry will be competing for the same dates.

For the time being, Wonder Woman 1984 is still slated to hit theaters on June 4th, but with that release date likely to be moved, an insider says that Jenkins and Roven would like the movie to launch in August instead. But even with a two-month delay, executives are worried that it might not be a realistic possibility.

Contrary to everything above, Warner President of Domestic Distribution Jeff Goldstein told TheWrap that there have been no discussions about skipping theaters. “We’re looking to release the movie theatrically, that’s our plan,” he told the site. Separately, Roven called the idea of releasing the movie directly to digital platforms “ludicrous,” and said the only way to get a “huge, global worldwide box office” is to release in theaters.

Warner Bros. also reached out to IndieWire to confirm that Wonder Woman 1984 will release in theaters shortly after TheWrap’s report was published. We’ll see if they’re singing the same tune in two months.

Roven isn’t wrong, and as the sequel to the highest-grossing film by a solo female director ever, Wonder Woman 1984 could easily be another billion-dollar movie. The math for reaching those kinds of numbers with a home video release simply doesn’t add up, but by the time this is all said and done, Warner Bros. might not have a choice but to roll the dice. Roven understands this, but says that until a decision has to be made “why not stay here as long as we can and hope for the best?” That’s probably exactly what Warner Bros. will do.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.