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‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is a successful mess, so Warner is making another one

Published Dec 28th, 2020 7:41AM EST
Wonder Woman 1984
Image: Warner Bros.

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  • Warner Bros. just announced that Wonder Woman 1984 has been so successful during the hybrid theater-and-streaming opening weekend that the studio is already fast-tracking Wonder Woman 3.
  • The reason why so many people wanted to watch Wonder Woman 1984 is the first film in the franchise, which was Warner’s first real success in the DC universe.
  • The sequel hardly measures up, despite all the hype. Wonder Woman 1984 is a massive mess, one that Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Kristen Wiig can’t save.

Wonder Woman 1984

was one of the most anticipated movies of 2020, the sequel to the first successful Warner Bros. film in the mostly disastrous DCEU. 1984 was delayed a few times because of the raging novel coronavirus pandemic until the Warner folks decided to do something totally unexpected. The film would premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on Christmas Day in the US, which was just the surprise we needed this holiday season. Unfortunately, 2020 struck again. Wonder Woman 1984 is such a massive disappointment that I’m glad I didn’t have to see it in a theater. I already renounce my wish to see the sequel and can’t say I’m thrilled about the trilogy’s final installment. Because, yes, Wonder Woman 1984 is immensely successful, both at the box office and online. Many people were excited to see the film that Warner announced expedited plans to make Wonder Woman 3. But rather than rushing the production of the next part, the execs should take a hard look at what reviews are saying and maybe try to turn the next one into a film people would actually want to watch.

Warner announced in a press release on Sunday that Wonder Woman 1984 exceeded projections as the top post-pandemic domestic opening weekend of the year, with $16.7 million at the box office and a total of $85 million worldwide. These numbers would have been significantly higher before the pandemic, and that’s all because of the original film.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll tell you that 1984 does little to advance the overall storyline of DCEU and turn Wonder Woman into a character that could shape up whatever there’s left to shape up. It’s still Gal Gadot starring and Patty Jenkins co-writing and directing, but the film is absolutely not worth watching. The plot is boring and annoying; the villains are wasted, and, to some extent, so is Diana.

The sequel is incomparable to the original, which is a movie one could rewatch over and over and still have fun. 1984 won’t age well, and a look over on social media, IMDb, or Rotten Tomatoes will deliver the same message. Wonder Woman 1984 proved that Warner needs its own Kevin Feige and Co. team to properly plan the DCEU and ensure the films are worth watching.

Warner might be excited to announce the fast-track development of Wonder Woman 3, with the same Jenkins to write and direct and Gadot to star. But unlike 1984, which I would have watched in a theater in normal times, the third installment will go straight to digital as far as I’m concerned.

Speaking of the streaming performance, Warner does say that nearly half of the platform’s retail subscribers viewed the film on Christmas Day “along with millions of wholesale subscribers who have access to HBO Max via a cable, wireless, or other partner services.” It’s unclear what that actually means in actual numbers, but the same thing applies. Millions of fans were excited to hear that HBO would stream Wonder Woman 1984, so they went ahead and watched the film because the first film was so good.

“Wonder Woman 1984 broke records and exceeded our expectations across all of our key viewing and subscriber metrics in its first 24 hours on the service, and the interest and momentum we’re seeing indicates this will likely continue well beyond the weekend,” Andy Forssell, Executive Vice President and General Manager at WarnerMedia, said in a statement. “During these very difficult times, it was nice to give families the option of enjoying this uplifting film at home, where theater viewing wasn’t an option.”

It’s unclear how successful 1984 will continue to be, given what the general state of mind about the film is. At least you can try it out at home in the following month and decided for yourself whether it’s worth finishing. Also, it’s unclear when the third part of the trilogy will be released. We have no actual release dates in the announcement, so we’ll just have to wait for Warner to give us more details about the project.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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