The COVID-19 outbreak is set to change the cinematic landscape again with Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and Dune paying the price
COVID-19 has apparently bitten down hard in Hollywood again. Although unconfirmed at this time, the rumor mill is churning out the story that Warner Bros. is contemplating moving the upcoming DC comic Book sequel ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ from its current October 2nd worldwide release to a November/December slot instead. The Gal Gadot superhero smackdown has been moved back before on several occasions but was set to defy the coronavirus epidemic and open in cinemas wherever it could. But now it appears that not even the Amazonian warrior can withstand the trouble that is coming her way.
Although a November/ December release date is being mentioned, I wouldn’t expect the film to open anywhere in November. The simple and quite plain reason for this is two other titles that are opening that month. ‘Black Widow‘ and ‘No Time To Die’. Any attempt for Diana Prince to muscle in on those two would be ill-advised. Warner Bros knows this as they’ve already pushed ‘Godzilla Vs Kong‘ back from November to a summer 2021 release to steer clear of the two mammoths that stood in its way of box office success and I can’t see ‘Wonder Woman‘ being slotted in. Having said that, however, Disney is now said to be waiting on Warner Bros. to reveal their hand. IF ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ does move to November, then Disney will move ‘Black Widow‘ out of its November release slot and push it to 2021, possibly meaning ‘Eternals‘ moving from its February release to make way.
Add in the probability that theatres in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco are still shuttered and there is no guarantee that they will be open anytime soon and an October release looks even more remote. And of course, there is the possibility that ‘Tenet‘ and ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ could be in theatres at the same time, taking money from each other and both being from Warners and it would be a losing situation for all concerned. And considering ‘Tenet‘ didn’t open spectacularly, it’s not a given that ‘ Wonder Woman 1984‘ would fare any better.
The film could slot into a December release slot but again, there lies a problem with that. ‘Dune‘. The first trailer for the film hit the wires earlier today but failed to mention the original December release date in its marketing. Is it feasible for Warner Bros. to launch the trailer one day and then delay the film to 2021 the next? It wouldn’t look too good if they did but there may be no alternative. December isn’t a bad month to release a DC film as ‘Aquaman‘ has demonstrated in the past and to be honest, ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ would probably have a decent shot at earning those much-needed box office millions. But by launching the film just before Christmas, it would destroy the box office chances of ‘Dune‘ and that wouldn’t be fair or good business sense for Warners. Two massive releases from the same studio opening against each other most certainly won’t happen.
‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ has its audience built-in already and is guaranteed to sell tickets, popcorn, soft drinks, and other concessions and the film is already highly anticipated after DC FanDome last month and the release of that all-important second trailer that took the internet and the fans by storm. The other option would be to push the film back to summer 2021 but yet again, there lies a problem. August 2021 sees the release of ‘The Suicide Squad‘, October sees the release (at the moment) of ‘The Batman‘ and there is a slight chance that ‘Shazam! Fury Of The Gods‘ may even open towards the end of the year, possibly November. Where would ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ fit into the schedule and would the audience end up suffering from DC movie burnout? It is a possibility.
We all now await any further news and developments to be confirmed. But after we all thought the cinematic experience was getting back to some semblance of normality and the movies would open as scheduled from hereon in, this rumor has once again thrown all the best-laid plans out of the window and up in the air again. And that isn’t wonderful at all.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!