2020 has been uncharted territory for the entertainment industry, especially when it comes to movies. With ongoing COVID-19 pandemic leading to theater closures and reduced theater attendance where cinemas remained open, major theatrical releases have been difficult to pull off. It's a whole new reality that prompted Warner Bros. to announce that Wonder Woman 1984 will be released both in theaters and on HBO Max on Christmas Day, December 25th and now, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo is calling that game-changing move brave.
In an interview with Collider, Russo praised Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins and said that he thought the decision to release the much anticipated Wonder Woman sequel film on streaming brave of her as a filmmaker.
"I think Patty Jenkins said it best," Russo said. "She made something that she put an incredible amount of love and joy into, and now she's ready to share it with the world. I think it's incredibly brave and bold of her as a filmmaker. I do think that this is the future of the business. There can be room for both digital and theatrical, and in fact, both could perhaps enhance each other's business and experience."
The idea of moving tentpole releases to streaming has been something that's received backlash. Earlier this year, when films like Trolls World Tour and Mulan shifted to a digital release format, theater chains and distributors were less than thrilled. But as the pandemic continued and it became clear that movie theaters weren't going to have the bounce back many had hoped when they had hoped it would happen -- the release of Tenet over Labor Day weekend being the prime example of this -- it's becoming more clear that the way forward may look more like this, something that AMC CEO and President Adam Aron seemed to acknowledge in a statement about Wonder Woman 1984's unique release strategy.
"Movie fans across the United States, Europe and the Middle East will be excited to learn that the release of Wonder Woman 1984 this holiday season is right around the corner, and that AMC will show this eagerly awaited movie on our big screens all across our global network," Aron's statement reads in part. "For many months, AMC has been in active and deep dialogue with Warner Brothers to figure out how best this cinematic blockbuster could be seen at AMC Theatres in these unprecedented times. Given that atypical circumstances call for atypical economic relationships between studios and theatres, and atypical windows and releasing strategies, AMC is fully on board for Warner Brothers’ announcement today."
However, just because the Wonder Woman move is "brave" doesn't mean that all tentpoles are following suit. As it currently stands another major superhero film -- Marvel's Black Widow -- has no plans to release on streaming and is still looking ahead to a traditional theatrical release.
As mentioned above, Wonder Woman 1984 will be released in select theaters on Christmas Day, as well as on HBO Max.