HBO Max subscribers will receive an extra gift this Christmas Day. The long-anticipated Wonder Woman sequel Wonder Woman 1984 will arrive on the streaming service at the same time it opens in US theaters on Dec. 25, AT&T’s WarnerMedia announced Wednesday.
The company said the superhero film, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, will be available on HBO Max for “the first month of the film’s release.” It’s unclear what will happen after that, though WarnerMedia says it will remain in theaters. The film opens in cinemas outside of the US on Dec. 16.
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Unlike Disney’s Mulan, which debuted on Disney Plus in September for $30 as part of the streaming service’s Premier Access system, there will be no extra cost for HBO Max subscribers in the US to stream Wonder Woman 1984.
Originally expected last December, the sequel was moved to June to avoid competing with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last year. As with countless other events, the coronavirus pandemic has led to the film shifting release dates a number of times as theaters remained closed in major cities around the world.
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In June, WarnerMedia, the AT&T division that oversees the Warner Bros. movie studio, said it hoped to release the film on Oct. 2, but that changed in September with reports circulating that the company was instead targeting a Christmas release.
“We are, of course, in an extraordinary moment,” WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said in a statement. “This entails a patchwork of regulations, geographic considerations and, most importantly, fan preferences. With that in mind, we see an opportunity to do something firmly focused on the fans: give them the power to choose between going to their local cinema or opening on HBO Max.”
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Kilar said the company remains “committed to the theatrical experience and we believe giving exhibitors a movie of this nature is important right now,” adding that “we believe in theaters because hundreds of millions of fans around the world value going to the movies.”
Director Patty Jenkins has tweeted over the course of the year about wanting the film to be released on the big screen, and in areas where theaters are open, it will be available. Jenkins and Gadot both tweeted support for watching in theaters where possible on Wednesday evening.
“We’ve all waited a long time for this one to come,” Godot also wrote.
The shift to HBO Max comes as AT&T looks to draw more subscribers to its $15-per-month streaming service, which debuted in May. The company has been working to add exclusive content to draw in subscribers, including a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion arriving Wednesday night and a Friends reunion slated to film in 2021. The telecom giant has also been leveraging its DC Comics brand to draw fans to the service, with the Wonder Woman sequel becoming the latest major project to head to the streamer.
After years of fan requests, it was announced in May that Zack Snyder’s cut of 2017’s Justice League will arrive on HBO Max next year. An updated trailer for the Snyder Cut was released on Tuesday.