- “Wonder Woman 1984″ will hit theaters as planned on Christmas Day, but it will also be released on HBO Max at the same time.
- Director Patty Jenkins is a huge proponent of theater releases, but said that the time for her film is now. “At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else,” she wrote.
- WarnerMedia hopes that in addition to giving content to theaters, this strategy will also boost subscriptions to its new streaming service. Experts agree that this could be great for HBO Max, as “Wonder Woman” is a strong franchise and many will bend over backwards to see it.
- Other critics think that for a movie with the potential to gross $1 billion, it might be better to hold for theaters. Others also think that a singular movie is not enough for a new streaming service to retain the subscribers it is seeking.
Wonder Woman Dual Release
“Wonder Woman 1984” will hit HBO Max on Christmas Day, the same day it will go to theaters in the U.S.
Warner Bros. announced the strategic move on Wednesday, following months of speculation about what the studio’s plans for the massive blockbuster might be. “Wonder Woman 1984” was supposed to be a summer tentpole but its release was delayed several times due to the pandemic. Many thought Warner Bros. would opt to push it again to summer 2021 when more theaters will be open, full, and more money would be made. Others thought the film would cave into pressure and land on streaming.
The choice to release the film to both simultaneously gives fresh content to struggling movie theaters and also gives a boost to WarnerMedia’s new streaming platform, which falls behind its competitors in terms of subscriptions. Still, it is seen as a big financial risk. Under normal circumstances, “Wonder Woman 1984” was expected to make $1 billion. This weekend at the box office, the highest grossing film was “Freaky” with a gross of $3.7 million. For comparison, the first “Wonder Woman” brought in $100 million during its opening weekend in 2017.
But the pandemic has changed the box office game, and studios just don’t know when they will be able to make that much money again, which is why 2020 has put an emphasis on streaming.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am for all of you to see this movie. It wasn’t an easy decision and we never thought we’d have to hold onto the release for such a long time but Covid rocked all of our worlds,” said lead actress Gal Gadot. “We feel the movie has never been so relevant and we hope it’ll bring you some joy, hope and love to your hearts.”
The film’s director, Patty Jenkins, has been a strong advocate for putting movies in theaters to save and preserve the moviegoing experience, but she said that “the time has come” for audiences to finally see the long awaited sequel.
“At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else,” Jenkins wrote.
On Twitter, Jenkins said that she plans to hold the movie in theaters for “quite a long time.” She hopes it will still be there by the time theaters open their doors globally. However, it could be a very long time before that happens, as coronavirus cases are on a steep rise in many parts of the world. In fact, in the U.S., it is far more likely that more theaters will be forced to shut down before the Christmas Day release, than that more will open up in the near future.
Jenkins said they are working on a plan for fans to be able to rent out a theater so they can watch the film just with their family or pod as opposed to a room of strangers. Major theater chains like AMC are already offering a program like this in some capacity, and it appears that Warner Bros. might be teaming with theaters to make one of their own.
AMC Supports the Decision
AMC’s CEO and President, Adam Aron, released a statement supporting Warner Bros.’ decision.
“For many months, AMC has been in active and deep dialogue with Warner Brothers to figure out how best this cinematic blockbuster could be seen at AMC Theatres in these unprecedented times,” Aron said. “Given that atypical circumstances call for atypical economic relationships between studios and theatres, and atypical windows and releasing strategies, AMC is fully onboard for Warner Brothers’ announcement today.”
The circumstances of the pandemic have forced AMC to make a swift 180 from its original feelings on dual theatrical and digital releases at the start of the pandemic. When Universal promised in April to start putting their films on video on demand the same day they hit theaters, AMC initially shot back and said they would not play the studio’s movies. The two eventually patched things up by forging an agreement allowing for digital release.
Many believe that this release method will be a strong subscriber boost for HBO Max. The six-month-old service currently boasts 8.6 million subscribers, or 57 million when combined with HBO subscriptions worldwide. This is nothing on Netflix’s 195 million or even Disney+’s 73 million. Because “Wonder Woman” is a big enough franchise to make people go to large lengths to see it, many believe it will drive their numbers up. Some also think it could be on track to be the most streamed movie of the year.
Emphasis on Choice
Especially with the lackluster performance of “Tenet,” which was Warner Bros.’ big theater gamble, moving to streaming seems like the best way to actually get a movie in front of audiences. While fans have the option to do either, it seems far more likely that a family might choose to splurge on a subscription service and watch a movie at home for the holidays than venture out to a theater, which might feel less safe.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar thinks the best part of this release strategy is the choice it gives to fans.
“We believe this decision will bring several benefits,” he wrote in a blog post. “The first and most important benefit is to the fans in the form of unprecedented choice from day one. The second benefit is to the exhibitors, providing an eagerly anticipated movie at a much-needed time while they take precautions in their operations.”
Kilar hopes that superfans will see the movie both in theaters and via streaming. He is thrilled by the opportunity to measure the performance of a major movie in a new way.
“A little over four million fans in the U.S. enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie on its opening day in 2017,” he wrote. “Is it possible for that to happen again this Christmas with Wonder Woman 1984 between theaters and HBO Max? We are so excited to find out, doing everything in our power to provide the power of choice to fans.”
What’s at Stake for HBO Max
Still, some think that WarnerMedia may not reap the rewards this model claims to offer, arguing that one big blockbuster is not what builds a subscription service. While it could be a huge draw, it does not guarantee retention the way television does.
“Movies don’t make streaming services if you haven’t noticed,” wrote Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro. “It’s binge-able series like House of Cards, The Queen’s Gambit, Stranger Things, Mandalorian and Tiger King that keep people addicted to Netflix, Disney+, etc. Didn’t anyone over at HBO Max ever think about launching the service with a Harry Potter TV series?”
HBO Max does have its “Perry Mason” reboot, which was received well by critics but did not generate the same online buzz that a Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ series might. Starring Tatiana Maslany, John Lithgow and Matthew Rhys as the titular detective, it has decent star power behind it, but did not seem to break through the cracks either because it was underpromoted or because the service just did not have enough subscribers to generate a talkative audience.
“Wonder Woman 1984” could give the platform the attention that it needs to generate buzz for the service’s catalogue of content. Or, it could result in people paying for the service for a month or so then canceling because exclusive binge-able content is not in abundance on HBO Max.
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out as Gay
While making his announcement, the athlete also pledged a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.
Nassib Comes Out
Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday as the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
The 28-year-old made the announcement in an Instagram video, along with a longer written statement.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said in the post.
“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he continued.
“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project.”
He also noted that he was thankful for the support from his NFL coaches and fellow players. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote.
Praise From Sports Community
Nassib’s announcement was met with praise from his team on social media, as well as other athletes and the NFL itself.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on behalf of the league, saying that it “is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth.”
Several football fans and commentators, including sports reporter Jemele Hill, also pointed to the potential impact his bravery could have.
“Carl Nassib likely isn’t the only active gay player in the NFL, but him coming forward will be huge for those who haven’t gotten there yet,” HIll tweeted. “Very courageous decision that will not only help other players but so many young people in this country.”
See what others are saying:(ESPN)(The New York Times)(NBC News)
Billie Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Racist Slur in Old Clip
Eilish said she is “appalled and embarrassed” to have mouthed along to a song containing the term, which she did not know was a slur at the time.
Video Shows Billie Eilish Using Slur
Singer Billie Eilish apologized Monday night for mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur in an old video that recently resurfaced on social media.
The clip was featured in a compilation that went viral on TikTok. In it, she was mouthing along to the song “Fish” by Tyler the Creator, which contains the slur. The compilation also showed her speaking in a voice that many interpreted as her mocking foreign accents or languages.
“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “And this is something that I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not.”
Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Term
The “Bad Guy” singer said she was 13 or 14 at the time the video was taken, and claimed she had no idea the word was a derogatory term at the time.
“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” Eilish wrote. “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”
Regarding accusations that she mocked foreign accents and languages, the singer said she was speaking a “silly gibberish” that she made up as a child and uses around her pets, family, and friends in a joking manner.
“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she added. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”
“Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she continued.
The Grammy Award-winner said that she wants to use her platform to promote “inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity, and equality.” She closed her statement by telling her followers that it is important for people to listen and learn when it comes to conversations about these subjects.
Read her full apology below.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Complex) (The Guardian)
Chrissy Teigen’s Team Says Direct Messages Shared by Michael Costello Were Fake
Teigen’s team accused the designer of faking the screenshots a day after a report from Insider found several “technical inconsistencies” in the photos.
Chrissy Teigen Accused of Bullying Michael Costello
Model Chrissy Teigen released a statement from her team on Friday denying the authenticity of screenshots designer Michael Costello shared last week depicting Teigen bullying him and threatening his career.
Costello’s claims against Teigen came just after she apologized for past offensive social media remarks she made. Those remarks included hateful comments directed at then-16-year-old Courtney Stodden, who received an onslaught of negative press for marrying a 51-year-old man a decade ago. Hours after posting her apology, Costello said he, too, was a victim of Teigen’s online persecution in 2014.
Costello wrote that Teigen attacked him online when a screenshot allegedly showing him making a racist comment was circulating. He claims that the screenshot was fake, but even after he told Teigen this, he alleges that she and her stylist Monica Rose continued to berate him and threaten his career. In his post, he said this drove him to have suicidal thoughts.
He also shared alleged screenshots of direct messages that depicted Teigen telling him his career was dead and that he deserves to “suffer and die.” His post ignited a swift round of backlash and outrage against Teigen and caught the attention of several major news outlets.
Investigations Finds That the Screenshots Were Faked
A Thursday report from Insider alleged that those conversations had been doctored. The investigation found “technical inconsistencies in the purported DMs that could suggest they are manipulated.”
“Several visual identifiers in the images appear to come from various iterations of Instagram and Teigen’s profile throughout the years, which is oftentimes a signature of manipulated imagery,” the article continued.
According to Insider, the screenshot looks like it was taken in 2014, as Teigen did not have a verified check, a status she received early in 2015. However, the message backgrounds in the image have a purple and blue gradient, which did not exist in Instagram until 2020. There is also a video chat icon on top of their chat, a feature that was not introduced until 2018. The photo that appears for Teigen is also her profile picture from 2014. If Costello had gone back and taken that screenshot recently, her current profile picture would have been visible instead of her old one, and again, her verification would be visible.
Teigen shot back on social media Friday, sharing a statement that addressed the inconsistencies noted in the Insider article. The statement, which was written on Teigen’s behalf, also claimed that in early iterations of the screenshots, Teigen’s name had been spelled incorrectly.
“Chrissy is completely surprised and disappointed by Michael Costello’s recent attack, which includes fictional ‘screenshots’ from 2014 of supposed private messages that Chrissy did not send,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Teigen did comment on one of Costello’s posts in 2014 after he was accused of making a racist remark, but she deleted that comment upon learning that the remark was photoshopped. It also claims that Teigen did not work with Rose until 2016, two years after Costello claims he was victimized by her.
Teigen went on to share screenshots of messages the two had exchanged online, which were largely complementary. In one message, Costello praises her lipstick choice. In another, he admires a meal she cooked. Teigen claimed she was under the impression she had a cordial relationship with him.
“Chrissy has acknowledged her past behavior and the pain she has caused but will not stand for anyone spreading false accusations to further demean her name and reputation,” the statement continued. “Chrissy will continue to do the work she needs to do to be the best person she can be. She hopes Michael Costello can do the same.”
“Chrissy has every right to correct the record and defend her name. She is not interested in making Mr. Costello the target of harassment or abuse for anyone claiming to support her.”
Teigen’s husband, singer John Legend, also defended her, saying he had no idea why someone would insert themselves into an already complicated narrative.
“I encourage everyone who breathlessly spread this lie to keep that same energy when they correct the record,” he wrote.
Costello Doubles Down
Since he came out against Teigen, several people have accused Costello of misconduct. A makeup artist who was undergoing chemotherapy said he was sexually harassed by Costello, singer Leona Lewis said he body-shamed her, and a woman who sold him something online said he called her the n-word.
Costello has deleted his original post accusing Teigen of bullying him, which included the allegedly doctored screenshots, though he doubled down on his claim that Teigen tried to ruin his career in a post shared Friday.
“The fact that Chrissy Tiegen and her crisis team are working so hard, so strategically, to come out against the DMs she sent me, and to downplay the comments she publicly posted on my Instagram, only proves that she is the same bully she always has been, despite her fake apology to the public,” he wrote.
He said this will be the last time he speaks on the issue and announced that he is taking a break from social media to aid his mental health.