‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to premiere Dec 17 but will cinemas reopen by then?

Can 'Wonder Woman 1984' save the cinemas or at least have them reopen? Photo: Warner Bros

It’s announced that Wonder Woman 1984 will debut on the streaming service HBO Max in United States on Dec 25, as well as US movie theatres on the same day.

In Malaysia – where HBO Max is not available – Warner Bros Malaysia confirmed that Gal Gadot-starring superhero film is scheduled to open on Dec 17, one week earlier than the US date.

This was also confirmed by the streaming site HBO GO, which showcases some of the programmes on HBO Max in Asia.

Wonder Woman 1984 will eventually be available on HBO GO in Asia but it will debut theatrically in international markets starting on Dec 16,” HBO Asia spokesperson said.

Trouble is, cinemas in Malaysia are temporarily closed nationwide until further notice.

A spokesperson for a local cinema operator told StarLifestyle that Malaysian film exhibitors are still monitoring the situation on how the conditional movement control order is going before they reopen.

On Oct 31, the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) stated that starting November 2020, cinemas would be progressively suspending movie screenings and concessions operations at their locations. And that they would "continue to monitor the situation and react accordingly should market conditions improve".

The US$200mil-budgeted Wonder Woman 1984 was originally scheduled to open on June 4, before being delayed to Oct 1 and then again to December. Many were doubtful the December date would happen.

With the decision to release on a streaming site as well as the cinemas that are operating in the US, American media is seeing this new strategy for a blockbuster movie as measures Hollywood studios have had to resort to during the coronavirus pandemic to keep the industry going.

"As we navigate these unprecedented times, we’ve had to be innovative in keeping our businesses moving forward while continuing to super-serve our fans,” said Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group in a statement.

"This is an amazing film that really comes to life on the big screen and, working with our partners in the exhibition community, we will provide that option to consumers in the US where theatres are open.

“We realise that a lot of consumers can't go back to the movies due to the pandemic, so we also want to give them the option to see Wonder Woman 1984 via our HBO Max platform."

Notably, Warner Bros is the studio behind Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which was the first big movie to open at cinemas after being shut down. Unfortunately, it didn’t do well in the US that other films – including James Bond’s No Time To Die – pushed their release dates to 2021.

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