The last blockbuster standing of 2020 looks like it may be set for a third delay, as Wonder Woman 84 may yet push into 2021.
Warner Bros executives are reportedly considering delaying the superhero tentpole into 2021, potentially triggering a domino-effect that might clear much of what’s left of the upcoming Christmas cinema release schedule.
With news this week that many of the major European markets are shutting the doors on their cinemas, Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. executives are meeting to decide what to do about the upcoming Christmas release of Wonder Woman 84.
Of course, some US cinema markets are still closed, so the potential loss of European markets as well is likely to be a decisive blow to the film’s chance of making its bow this calendar year. Whilst in theory, cinemas in Europe should be back open by Christmas, in practice that assumption is far from concrete. As such, Warner Bros finds itself once more at the vanguard of a decision-making process that has far-reaching consequences.
Back in the summer, the studio was hailed as the saviour of cinemas as it elected to keep Tenet in its original release window, whilst other studios pushed their tentpole films back into next year. However, with box-office returns not reaching Warners’ expectations and uncertainty rife regarding the ongoing state of European cinemas, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the studio will choose to gamble again.
With the moment fast approaching where Warner Bros will have to mount an expensive marketing campaign ahead of a Christmas release for Wonder Woman 84, we can expect an announcement one way or the other, very shortly.
For cinemas in England and much of Western Europe hoping to resume business in December, a further postponement of such a high-profile title will be another impediment to a successful reopening, particularly if Warners’ decision leads other studios to make similar judgements.
Disney, who has already proved skittish when it comes to preserving release dates, would most likely delay its 20th Century Pictures release, Free Guy, as well as Death On The Nile too.
Suddenly, the December release schedule, which UK distributors had been hoping might inject fresh impetus into an ailing industry, begins to look somewhat sparse. This is especially true when you consider that leading operator Cineworld has already shuttered its doors whilst the parent company behind Odeon has admitted that its cash reserves won’t last the year.
It’s a sobering moment, but one that feels somewhat inevitable. When there are further developments regarding this story, you can be sure we’ll let you know.
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