There have been rumblings about this all week long, primarily due to Tenet not doing as well as hoped in the few theaters that reopened (see: Wait, Tenet did $10 million, not $20 million, now Wonder Woman 1984 could be delayed again?), but Warner Bros. has made another WW1984 delay official.
’Wonder Woman 1984 is vacating its October 2 release date, with the Patty Jenkins-directed movie heading to Christmas. Warners is keeping the Legendary sci-fi movie Dune on the calendar for a December 18 release, and believes the holiday marketplace is big enough for two mega-tentpoles.‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Flying To Christmas Release, One Week After ‘Dune’ – Deadline
Hopefully this doesn’t start a deluge of articles about how the movie theater industry is doomed. We wore that tape out months ago. The theaters are not en masse going out of business because Wonder Woman 1984 — or any single movie title — is delayed.
Tenet in part hasn’t done well because there just aren’t enough theaters open in areas for people to see it. Overseas it’s doing decent numbers. If there were more theaters open in the states, it would have more sales. I’m not apologizing for Tenet, am not that big a fan of Nolan’s newest film, but it’s the best new movie to see in theaters available right now.
Panic after one or two weeks box office performance is the new norm. This was happening before the pandemic. Any movie with a decent sized budget seems to be subject to unrealistic opening week box office sales scrutiny. The “it’s underperforming, it’s a bomb!” stuff seem to make some movies circle the drain even faster. Moviegoers don’t want to go see a movie that others aren’t paying to see.
Tenet is no Joker, not a billion dollar movie with massive legs, even without the ugly spectre of COVID-19. Probably was a $300-500 million level movie, which on a budget of $200+ million means it might have come close to breaking even or just losing a little money (crazy, isn’t it?). If it has enough time in theaters unchallenged, it could make a little more.
At least that is what Warner Bros. seems to think will happen. Hence delaying Wonder Woman to give Tenet more time. It just needs more time.
Give Tenet more time out there without competing against another blockbuster from the same studio for the scant few United States moviegoers that exist. We saw Tenet in IMAX already and, while we recommended others see it (when and if it’s safe to do so), we’re not planning on seeing it a second time. How many don’t feel safe, are waiting for the 90 day theatrical window to work its way to HBO Max? Maybe more than we think.
We all know the pandemic is the real culprit here. Pass the blame hat around, but it belongs on that one big head.
It shut down businesses and without enough theaters reopened, studios will keep delaying titles and/or trickling out the lower budget, lower risk new movies. Our one lone Regal Cinema theater 30 miles south is now only showing one classic movie, Black Panther, a response to the death of Chawick Boseman (see: Most Liked Tweet Ever – 7.1+ million likes – is Chadwick Boseman Death Announcement).
All other movie releases are the half dozen or so new movies we’ve already seen (except for the newest one this week, which we’re watching tonight). See the image to the right. It’s a case of: seen it, seen it, seen it, etc. None of those movies to us are worth seeing a second time. Some aren’t even worth seeing the first time in theaters.
Solutions in the meantime?
Regal needs to get with the program and bring back more $5 classics. It’s like they were there and then a week later gone. Keep them going. Rotate out more and more classics. Do we need 15+ screenings of Tenet every day, seriously? Maybe that’s the only movie making any money for them, hence why they have so many screenings. They might also be trying desperately to ring the cash register for the studio, so they won’t do what they just did (delay another big movie). Theaters need a variety of movies to get butts in the seats. I’ve said this before: would rather have 15 movies showing a couple screenings a day each than a half dozen movies showing with a bunch of screenings.
Back to Wonder Woman 1984. Bummed out on this news, yes I am. This was my most anticipated movie to see this year and now have to wait another three plus months? I understand why the move was made, but don’t have to like it.
They left Dune in place in December, but they will probably delay that somewhere into 2021 like studios have delayed so many other movies.
What will Disney do next? Delay Black Widow or run with it in November?
Assuming the major market theaters reopen within the next 30-45 days — and that is by no means a guarantee — Black Widow will keep its current release date of November 6. October has a decent number of movies being released, but the Wonder Woman move could cause a shift of other titles moving around in the next week or two, including Black Widow.
These are very tough times for the movie theater business, no doubt, and they’ll likely get worse, but let’s not make any funeral plans.