Warner Bros. would have been entirely justified if they’d decided to simply delay Wonder Woman 1984 even further, as had been rumored recently, but the studio have instead decided to stick to the Christmas Day release with the added bonus that the blockbuster sequel will also be arriving on HBO Max. And while there’s little chance that the movie will pull in anything close to big numbers at the box office, it’ll definitely drive up subscription numbers for WarnerMedia’s streaming service.
However, Wonder Woman 1984 will only be available exclusively to HBO Max customers for a month before moving to VOD, and from a business standpoint, that makes perfect sense. Millions of people will sign up for the chance to see Gal Gadot’s return as the title heroine on day one, and a lot of those new subscribers will no doubt stick around and pay the monthly fee, especially with Zack Snyder’s Justice League arriving at some point next year.
Removing it from HBO Max after a month also guarantees another stream of revenue from those who want to see the pic but aren’t sold on the idea of shelling out for another streaming service. The Mouse House already did something similar with Mulan, which reportedly made more from Disney Plus Premier Access sales than Christopher Nolan’s Tenet did from theaters, before the live-action remake hit VOD two months later once the majority of subscribers had already forked over the one-off fee.
Of course, a potential downside to the Wonder Woman 1984 experiment is that it could mark a hammer blow to the theatrical industry, as other major studios might start adopting a similar model in the future, which has the potential to change the way audiences consume films forever.