Big news in the world of cinematic yuletide superheroing today, as Variety reports that Warner Bros.—i.e., the house that Tenet failed to build—has swallowed its pride in the face of a global pandemic and announced that Wonder Woman 1984 will be debuting in the United States on its HBO Max service this Christmas. While the film will release in (open) theaters in international markets on that same day, the film will launch in the U.S. as one of the biggest streaming titles to date, going head-to-head with Pixar’s Soul, which will also be releasing on December 25 on Disney+.
As with pretty much every major movie that was in production or near completion when the COVID-19 crisis hit, Wonder Woman 1984 has spent the last year bouncing all over the schedule, trying to find the sweet spot that’ll allow it to recoup its reported $200 million budget without, you know, killing a whole bunch of people. Warner Bros. is presumably banking on it doing well enough internationally to buffer some of the pain of it getting a VOD American release; the original Wonder Woman was a strong performer in foreign markets, where it ended up bringing in roughly half of its ultimate $800 million box office take. Now it’ll presumably be a major draw for new HBO Max subscribers, ahead of the already extant comic book nerd bait of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Set in the titular year, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 sees a returning Gal Gadot and Chris Pine trying to figure out why Pine’s Steve is suddenly back to life amidst the neon tide of Reagonomics, while also fending off evil schemes from Kristen Wiig, as classic Wonder Woman villain Cheetah, and Pedro Pascal as evil business dude Maxwell Lord.
Update: Warner Bros. has sent along a press release, clarifying a few more details about the film’s debut. Wonder Woman 1984 will release in international markets a week ahead of its U.S. debut, arriving in available theaters on December 16. (It’ll also open in those U.S. theaters where it can, although that won’t be until December 25.) Meanwhile, the film will only be available on the U.S. version of the streaming service for a single month.