Wonder Woman hits HBO Max on Christmas. Is this the end of theaters?

  1. Stevennix2001 profile image83
    Stevennix2001posted 2 years ago

    It's official.  Since AT&T and Warner Media hit a deal to have their new streaming service, HBO Max, on Amazon Fire TVs, it was recently announced shortly after that "Wonder Woman 1984" will not only still be playing in any theaters that are open on Christmas Day worldwide, but it'll be premiering on HBO Max for no additional cost.  Meaning if you have HBO Max, then you see the movie for free.   That's basically the gist of it.  However, if you rather have the "theater going experience", and you have that option in your area, then you can still see it in theaters on Christmas day; assuming you have that option available, and you feel safe enough to do so. 

    It's been said by multiple sources that the film will debut in international theatrical markets about a week or so before Christmas, but it'll definitely premiere in any US theaters that happen to be open on Christmas Day this year, but if you don't feels safe to go to the theaters, or you don't have that option due to the shutdowns, then you can see it for free simply by subscribing to HBO Max. 

    Is this the end of the movie theaters as we know it?   Is this the final nail in the coffin for them?  And is it a big screw you to NATO (national association of theater owners) as movie studios start to worry about their own bottom line rather than saving the theaters like Hollywood keeps asking our politicians do even though they won't do that themselves?   

    Personally, I think this is smart move on AT&T and Warner Bros. part mainly because I feel like the longer they wait to put out "Wonder Woman 1984", then the chances of it being a hit become less and less by the day.   

    Although "Wonder Woman 1984" is still one of my most anticipated films of this year, we need to keep a few things in mind.

    First of all, "Wonder Woman 1984" was set to be released late last year in 2019, but according to various media outlets, the movie was pushed back to summer of 2020 because they didn't want the film to be in competition with Marvel's "Captain Marvel" of that year.   Go figure.  And since the pandemic, they've been pushing the film back multiple times. 

    And as most movie buffs know, studios typically take out loans to pay for films; especially big budget ones like Wonder Woman 1984 happens to be.  These loans need to be paid back like any other loan.  Hell, the new James Bond film, "No Time to Die", is literally costing MGM tons of money each month on the interest alone the longer they choose not to release it in some capacity.

    And if "Wonder Woman 1984" gets pushed back to 2021 like other blockbusters have, then that'll be almost two full  years that the film was pushed back, so you can imagine the interest that will pile up if they wait to release it any longer. 

    Plus if you honestly look at the release schedule for films still set to come out in 2021, it's pretty packed to where it'll be next to impossible for a film to make a billion dollars next year, even if a vaccine is on the horizon, and we get back to some semblance of normality next year.  Trust me, there's a reason why you don't see things like Avengers Endgame coming out a week later after Jurassic World 5 or 6 or whatever is because billion dollar blockbuster films need time to breath in between their releases to make tons of money, but they won't have the luxury in 2021 because of how packed things will be.  And that's not even accounting for the fact that we could see even more lockdowns and reduced seating capacity continue in theaters that will make theater chains continue to remain closed. 

    Plus as much I personally didn't have a problem with Gal Gadot singing "The imagine" song by John Lennon with other celebrities online, a lot of people did.  And while I don't necessarily agree with people being upset with her over that because I don't think she meant any malice behind it, I can see why some fans would considering the timing of it after over half the country lost their jobs due to the pandemic may have made her singing that song with others a bit insensitive.  Again, I'm not here to judge.   Just stating observations.  And recently, she was quoted as saying if you're not a feminist, then you're a sexist.  Um yeah...that's not going to go over well with half your audience right there.   

    Needless to say, Gal's rhetoric is starting to turn off fans from "Wonder Woman 1984" to where even if things went completely back to normal in a matter of weeks, I'm starting to doubt it would do well in theaters now.  Another reason why WB can't afford to push back this film again because the longer they wait, the more time they're risking that Gal could say  something dumb again to turn off even more fans from the movie.  Plus, it's been confirmed by Patty Jenkins, the film's director, that the main villain of the movie, Maxwell Lord, was heavily inspired by Donald Trump, which did piss off a lot of Trump supporters. 

    Granted, Patty also said that there were other inspirations to Maxwell's portrayal in the new movie as well, but still.  A lot of Trump supporters didn't like that bit of information.  And given how close this year's election was, it's safe to assume half the country are Trump supporters, and given my experience as a film critic and movie fan, I can already tell you right now that films that tend to divide their audience with forced diversity and politics never usually end well. 

    The point is I doubt seriously "Wonder Woman 1984" is able to generate a profit at this point.  They already ran through their entire marketing campaign for it to where it's starting to feel like old news by this point.  If WB wanted this film to make a billion dollars, or close to it, then they should've released it in 2019 as originally planned.   Now, they lost any hope of getting close to that; regardless of how far they push it back.   And if I know this, then I'm fairly sure WB and AT&T do as well.  No, I don't expect the movie to do well on Christmas Day financially given the fact that once you upload a movie online, it's bound to be pirated.  I hate saying that, but it's a fact. 

    Plus, why would I pay money to see a movie in a theater, when I can pay just fifteen dollars for HBO Max for a month to see it for free without risking my health?   Seriously, the only people that will see this in theaters will be the die hard DC fans, the people that want to support the theaters, and people that claim they can't watch a film without the "moviegoing experience."   Apart from those people, I don't see this making a lot of money.

    However, the reason why I think it's a smart move is because it's been a well known fact that HBO Max's launch was botched heavily by AT&T and Warner Media.  Unlike Disney Plus, that not only didn't have to worry about any brand confusion, but HBO Max wasn't available to be played on Amazon Fire TVs and Roku at launch like Disney Plus was, which hurt HBO Max significantly.   Granted, HBO Max did strike a deal to finally get their streaming service on Amazon Fire TVs, and it's rumored that a new deal to show their service on Roku is soon to folllow, but they needed SOMETHING to draw people to that service because WB sees that as a huge part of their future moving forward.  Therefore, I don't think WB plans on Wonder Woman 2 to make a lot of money this year, as they already know the film lost any chance to make a profit by this point.  However, they might be seeing this as a power move to draw in new subscribers to their new streaming service. 

    Similar to how it's been rumored that Amazon Prime literally spent over a billion dollars to not only attain the rights to Lord of the Rings, but the added production budget pushing it over that much money.  I'm fairly sure Amazon Prime knows that they're never going to get that money back right away on the series, BUT they probably see the show as a hit with a long term gain in mind that it could draw in more people over time to their service.  I'm thinking WB probably sees "Wonder woman 2" the same way.  meaning they see it as a short term loss that could turn into a long term gain for them if the movie is successful enough to make people sign up for HBO Max.   

    And if that's the plan, then I think it's a great idea.  I would've done the same thing if I was the CEO of Warner Bros honestly.   If "Wonder Woman 1984" is going to lose money anyways, then you might as well try to use it to your advantage in some form, but what do you guys think?  Please discuss.


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