As we first told you two days ago, Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984 is vacating its October 2 release date, with the Patty Jenkins-directed movie heading to Christmas. Warners is keeping the Legendary sci-fi movie Dune on the calendar for a December 18 release, and believes the holiday marketplace is big enough for two mega-tentpoles.
The decision by the studio has been in the cards for some time, and exhibition knew this was coming. Also fueling the move is the fact we’re dealing with 30% of the nation’s exhibition marketplace — including Los Angeles, New York City, Miami and San Francisco — still closed. Plus, the Gal Gadot-starring DC sequel came on tracking yesterday like gangbusters; there’s a lot of want-to-see-here, and the year-end holiday marketplace after Top Gun: Maverick departed was in need of a leading marquee tentpole, with Aquaman doing exceptionally well two years ago with its December 7 release, with $335 million domestic and $1.1 billion worldwide.
In addition, if WW84 had stuck on its October release date, it would collide with Warner Bros’ Tenet, which will get an extra boost when NYC and LA theaters reopen; some hope and project that will happen around early October.
“Patty Jenkins is an exceptional filmmaker and with Wonder Woman 1984 she has delivered an incredibly dynamic film that moviegoers of all ages around the world will absolutely love. We’re very proud of the film and look forward to bringing it to audiences for the holidays,” Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich said Friday in a statement about the release-date change.
Jenkins added: “First and foremost let me say how much Gal and I love all our devoted Wonder Woman fans around the world, and your excitement for WW84 couldn’t make us happier or more eager for you to see the movie. Because I know how important it is to bring this movie to you on a big screen when all of us can share the experience together, I’m hopeful you won’t mind waiting just a little bit longer. With the new date on Christmas Day, we can’t wait to spend the holidays with you!”
Wonder Woman 1984 has moved around the calendar a ton, with the studio originally planning a December 13, 2019 release date. Warners than moved it to November 1, 2019, then to the post-Memorial Day frame of June 5, 2020 where the first installment took flight. Subsequent release-date changes had to do with the uncertainty of when theaters would reopen during the pandemic.
Trailers dropped recently for Wonder Woman 1984 at DC Fandom, and two days ago for Dune, both of which didn’t list specific release dates; just that they’d be “in theaters.” Warners isn’t seeing any cannibalization of audiences during the holiday marketplace as Dune skews toward guys and Wonder Woman 1984 toward women — but let’s be honest, who doesn’t see more than one movie over the holiday period?
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