- According to several reports with sources at Warner Bros., the studio is considering putting “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max just one or two weeks after its Christmas Day theatrical release.
- Another option being weighed is to push its release back again, this time to summer 2021.
- While some experts think it’s risky for such a highly anticipated movie to go to streaming so soon after its release, others think this could give HBO Max a big boost in subscribers.
- While HBO Max has exceeded the company’s expectations in growth so far, it still falls behind other new streaming platforms like Peacock and Disney+.
- It has been criticized for not being accessible on Roku or Amazon Fire, though as of Tuesday, it will be available on the latter. Others have also said its name causes confusion, as some do not know the difference between HBO Max, HBO, HBO Go, or HBO Now.
Potential Plans for “Wonder Woman“
With the slated Christmas release for “Wonder Woman 1984” just around the corner and coronavirus cases jolting up, reports suggest that Warner Bros. is considering pushing the movie back to summer 2021 or releasing it on HBO Max just a week or two after it hits theaters.
The stakes are high for Warner Bros., which already took a dive into the theatrical unknown by releasing “Tenet” to limited American audiences after debuting it abroad. While the Christopher Nolan flick brought in some money internationally, its domestic performance was underwhelming. Now, the studio has to decide what path is best for an even bigger blockbuster.
A movie like “Wonder Woman 1984” would still not make nearly as much in theaters as it could under normal circumstances. The highest-grossing movie at the box office this weekend was “Freaky,” which brought in $3.7 million– pennies compared to what the opening weekend for a superhero film should look like. As coronavirus spikes threaten new lockdowns, more theaters might have to close back up, meaning potential revenue could shrink significantly, making the case for delaying the movie to the summer.
However, according to a report from Bloomberg, the option of sending the movie to theaters, and then to Warner Media’s new streaming site just a few weeks later is being weighed as a strong option. First, it’s an option that theaters will likely show interest in because it is better than delaying the movie another six months. This year has already been devastating for them and “Wonder Woman” could help them out a little.
From Warner Bros.’ perspective, it could also give HBO Max a subscriber boost. The streaming service launched six months ago and has 8.6 million users, but combined with the HBO Network has 57 million globally. While this exceeds what was expected for it thus far, it still trails behind its competitors substantially.
Experts Weigh In
But the idea of putting a film as highly anticipated as “Wonder Woman 1984” on streaming so quickly has been met with mixed reactions. Some think it is too big a risk both financially speaking and in terms of the film’s branding.
“Do what’s best for the franchise, not the crazy streaming monster you just built,” Anthony D’Alessandro wrote for Deadline. “Wonder Woman 1984 is not Witches and it’s certainly not Scoob!. This is a movie that has the potential to gross $1 billion worldwide, and the ancillary riches and HBO Max subscribers will come with that down the road.”
Shawn Robbins, Chief Analyst at Box Office Pro had similar reservations when speaking with the Observer.
“I go back to the never-say-never clause because there is no normalcy right now and PVOD isn’t going away, but Wonder Woman isn’t Borat or Bill & Ted,” he said. “It’s high-stakes, and any shortened window or streaming release needs to be perfectly calculated and generally accepted by the entire theatrical ecosystem, or a high price will be paid down the road.”
Still, some thought the idea shows promise and potential.
“This is a big opportunity for WB to solidify their faith in streaming content,” Jeff Bock, Senior Box Office Analyst at Exhibitor Relations told the Observer. “Go big, or go home. Dropping 1984 on HBO Max would be a huge statement for Warner, as they pivot at this critical point, and attempt to compete with Disney+, Amazon and Netflix. They certainly have a long way to go, but Wonder Woman would be a definitive, heavyweight prospect in the streaming fight.”
State of Streaming Wars
HBO has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to compete on the same level as other streaming services. NBC’s Peacock, which came out two months after HBO Max has already brought in 22 million subscribers, though its free tier presumably helps it. After being out for a year, Apple TV+ has 40 million. Disney+, which is also a year old, leads the way for new streamers with 73 million subscribers. Overall, Netflix continues to reign supreme with 195 million subscribers.
While Warner Media is not unhappy with how HBO Max is fairing, generally speaking, critics have said it has had a rocky start. Some are confused by what it is, and how it is different from HBO, HBO Now or HBO Go. It also has not been immediately accessible for many potential subscribers. On Monday, news broke that HBO Max had finally made a deal to be available on Amazon Fire. It is still unavailable on Roku.
If “Wonder Woman 1984” were to go to streaming, it could very well end up being the most watched streaming film since the pandemic began, with the potential to surpass the success Disney+ had with “Hamilton.” Still, it remains unclear if the film would bring in enough subscribers, or if HBO Max’s lower profile compared to other streamers would drag the film, which in normal times could have made $1 billion.
According to Scott Mendelson at Forbes, HBO Max would have to get a lot of new subscribers, or some new loyal subscribers, for it to be worth putting “Wonder Woman 1984” on the platform. His report stated that if this move brought in 5 million new subscribers, it would get $75 million in monthly revenue, which in normal times is what the studio could have easily gotten back from theaters from a $150 million opening weekend.
But say the movie was to earn $750 million worldwide at the box office, which in normal times it probably would at least get that, then the studio would make $350 million back from theaters. In order to get that chunk of change from HBO Max, it would need to bring in either 24 million new subscribers or get and keep 5 million for at least five months without canceling.
See what others are saying: (Bloomberg) (The Observer) (Forbes)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.
Actress Pushed at Protest
After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights.
Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”
Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.
Sweetin Addresses Incident
Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over.
“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.
According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter.
“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)
Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”
The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it.
Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene
“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film.
“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion.
“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”
Evans argued those opinions are outdated.
“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”
“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.
Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen
According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife.
Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.
The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.”
Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard.
“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”