Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins believes the day-and-date hybrid model of release, which exhibited her Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max at the same time it screened in theaters, is not "going to last." WarnerMedia sent the DC Films sequel to its streaming service on Christmas Day, where WW84 streamed without additional cost to subscribers for 31 days before leaving the service during a theatrical-only release window. After its more traditional theatrical and then PVOD window, WW84 returned to HBO Max in May as part of a regular library that includes other DC Extended Universe-set titles like Batman v Superman and Justice League.
"I don't think it's going to last. Streaming is great, but everybody is chasing it for financial reasons, and I don't think the financial support is there to hold up the industry the way that it is," Jenkins told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's one thing if it was only Netflix, but now every company has streaming. People are not going to subscribe to that many. Are studios really going to give up billion-dollar movies just to support their streaming service? Financially, I don't think it makes sense."
"I see theatrical coming back, and both should exist and will exist," added Jenkins, who next directs Star Wars spin-off Rogue Squadron for Disney's Lucasfilm. "People like to go to the movies. It's not because they couldn't see movies at home. We've always been able to watch movies at home. It's nothing new. I think it's totally coming back."
Just days after Warners declared the repeatedly delayed WW84 would release on HBO Max the same day as theaters, WarnerMedia announced a bombshell: its full slate of 2021 movies, including Godzilla Vs. Kong, Space Jam: A New Legacy, and The Suicide Squad, would be available to stream the same day they open in theaters without additional cost.
After numerous date changes for the Wonder Woman sequel, star and producer Gal Gadot said there were no "other better options" than the HBO Max move that put WW84 in homes — and some movie theaters — amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Look, if you would have told me a year ago that that's gonna be the case, I would flip out and be super angry. But the truth of the matter is we just didn't have other better options," Gadot previously told Digital Spy. "We felt like we were sitting on this movie for such a long time, we shot the movie in 2018, we started promoting the movie in 2019, we pushed the movie four times. We felt like the movie was so relevant to what's happening in the world right now that you come to a place at a certain time where you're like, 'OK, I just want people to watch the movie.'"
"The idea of having people be able to watch the movie on a Christmas morning just warmed my heart," Gadot added.
Wonder Woman 1984 is now streaming on HBO Max.