When “Wonder Woman 1984” makes its US debut on Christmas Day, Warner Bros.’s film will hit the new ground.
The long-delayed superhero sequel, the company’s streaming service HBO Max and opening day in select theaters, is taking a bold swing. It is the first film to test Warner Bros.’s hybrid release strategy, which will see theaters and streaming services together with “The Matrix 4”, “Doon” and other anticipated 2021 films.
Yet “Wonder Woman 1984” will not be a pioneer only in terms of seeing how many new customers HBO Max can beat. This will be a test case for a decades-long debate in the film business: Will people still go to theaters if they can see the same blockbuster at home?
Even Lassow may struggle to give a satisfactory answer at first to the truth of Diana Prince. That particular point of contention cannot be easily proved, at least not until the majority of the population is vaccinated and the audience experiences a return to films.
Right now, front-line health care workers and high-risk people are queuing up to get the first Modern or Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Experts predict that mass vaccination will not occur before mid-summer or early fall. The convenience and convenience of streaming from the couch will no longer be a match for the big screen as virus cases are growing rapidly.
“With everything in the 2020 box office, there’s always going to be an asterisk”, says Jeff Bock, box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “Max Wonder Woman 1984 ‘is the first HBO Max release simultaneously. Success will determine how many new customers HBO Max gets.”
From a commercial standpoint, “Wonder Woman 1984” box office earnings are even tougher than Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi spectacle “Tenet”, Disney’s “Mulan” remake, Universal’s “The Croats, A New Age” and other big Can be proved – Films premiered during the epidemic.
This is because the dramatic landscape already looks very different than it did a few months ago. Only 34% of US cinemas are of limited capacity, closed due to epidemics in large cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia. When “Tenet” bowed in September, 70% of theaters had resumed business. 40% of the country’s multiplexes were open at the end of November as the “The Crudes” sequel bowed down.
So far no film has reached $ 10 million in Opening Weekend ticket sales. In normal times, this would be a pathetic benchmark for a film with a budget of $ 200 million. But reaching double digits during the global health crisis would practically be a blockbuster situation.
“Tennant”, the first major film to debut in the midst of the epidemic, grossed $ 9.35 million from 2,779 screens in its first three days of release. It eventually grossed $ 57.8 million at the domestic box office and $ 362 million worldwide.
By the time “The Croods: A New Age” launched at 2,211 locations around Thanksgiving, it earned $ 9.71 million over the opening weekend. To date, the film has grossed $ 27 million in the US and $ 84 million globally.
Warner Bros. has not finalized its theater count, but the studio expects “Wonder Woman 1984” to play in 2,000 locations. By comparison, the original “Wonder Woman” premiered in more than 4,100 venues in 2017 and largely arrived with $ 103 million.
Given its unprecedented rollout, with an even more volatile theatrical scenario, studio executives and box office analysts are hard-pressed to forecast early box office receipts for “Wonder Woman 1984”. According to the studio, the weekend’s comic book adventure – Gal Gadot’s DC heroine – Spotlight has received $ 4.3 million in advance ticket sales.
Official US ticket sales for “Wonder Woman 1984” will not be reported by the studio until Sunday. For “Tenet”, Warner Bros. annoyed rival studios because it opted not to report daily results at the box office.
Yet even though independent companies such as Disney, Universal, and IFC Films and 101 Studios have unveiled daily gross earnings for new films starting on Saturday, Warner Bros. will continue to share only box office data on Sundays.
“If ‘Wonder Woman 1984′ opened with $ 5 to $ 7 million, it would be great,” Bock says, pointing to the low volume of multiplexes in the business.
People opting to move out of the house to watch the latest onscreen outing of The Amazon Warrior are largely opting for private theater rentals. About 50% of pre-sales have come from private screenings, in which customers can rent an entire auditorium and bring about 10 friends.
As of Monday morning, an estimated 10,000 private theater fares have been booked, with two-thirds of advanced sales coming from the AMC Theater and Cinemark Theater. Regal, the second-largest American circuit, has been closed since September. The most popular markets among those with open theaters are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix.
“Wonder Woman 1984” is far from the least heroic debut at the international box office. However, HBO Max is not to blame: the nascent streaming service only the U.S. Is available The film grossed $ 38.5 million in 32 countries, including a disappointing $ 18.8 million in China. The first “Wonder Woman” grossed $ 38 million in China over the weekend and finished its theatrical run in the country with $ 90.5 million. Follow-up is expected to earn far less than this.
Film lovers will have no shortage of choices over Christmas. On the same day, the well-reviewed Pixar film “Soul” is focusing on Disney Plus and two smaller titles – Focus Features’ revenge thriller “Promising Young Woman” and Tom Hanks Western’s “News of the World” – opening in theaters She has been.
The unusual Holiday lineup is already unchanged by 2020. Each studio’s major tampoles, a growing list that included Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” Sony’s “Morbius” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”, and Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion,” included. The launch was postponed in hopes of launching in theaters at a time when coronavirus sounds like a distant memory.
In the past year, Hollywood has set aside its rulebook to essentially test all kinds of strategies for hurricane season. Warner Bros. may have been the most aggressive, but it was not the only studio to embrace a streaming-focused future. Disney replaced several traditional blockbusters on Disney Plus with “Mulan” in place of the traditional theatrical release.
Universal made a very different, though equally surprising, bet on the fate of the film business. It entered into an agreement with AMC and Cinemark to place films on digital rental services after 17 days in theaters.
The studio intends to save its biggest films until after the epidemic, but Pact gave universal confidence in recent weeks to debut “The Croats: A New Age”, “Freaky”, and other films that may have been streaming Can be direct too. It will deploy a similar strategy with “News of the World” and “Promising Young Women”.
Hollywood’s crystal ball is still blurry. But it is already becoming increasingly clear that the rocky film landscape is making it harder than ever to distinguish hits from hits. Until another sequel gets the green light, or executives take the bold step to split tangible streaming figures during the company’s next earnings call, it may never be clear that Warner Bros. in “Wonder Woman 1984” Whether or not they were able to reclaim the investment.
“There is no transparency on streaming data,” says Box Office Pro chief analyst, Sean Robbins. “There are educated estimates from third-party companies and hand-picked data, but it is nowhere near standardized data derived from box office results. With streaming, especially if there is no premium price, it becomes much more complicated.