The release of Wonder Woman 1984 marks the beginning of a new era in theatrical releases, and it is the most epic but debatable.
Wonder Woman 1984 is all set to stream on HBO Max from Dec 25, at no extra cost for subscribers — the same day it debuts in the US theatres. This is the first Warner Bros. film slated to do so and it is believed many upcoming blockbusters including Dune, the Matrix 4, and others may face the same fate.
It is understood, that the pandemic can be blamed for movie giants to push movie titles like Wonder Woman 1984 to streaming services but what raises eyebrows is, should blockbusters be so easily available to stream right after their theatrical release?
With streaming services like Netflix and Amazon prime setting new records, it was predicted that someday in the future, films may get a same day streaming release but what was earlier a vague idea, is now turning into a reality. Surveys have already been rolled out claiming that only 15% people would go to a cinema to catch a “must-see” movie, if they are available for an early watch-at-home option. While watchers have seemed to accept this strategy, movie makers aren’t too happy.
Earlier, Warner Bros. slated all of its 2021 movies for a simultaneous HBO Max streaming release right when they hit theaters. At least four of these films have a mounting budget of $100 million dollars. The question is, is it justified? If we were to ask the actors and directors of these films, they are pretty disgruntled by this decision. Dune’s director and co-actors have already declared their disapproval publicly. Last week, Timothee Chalamet, the lead of the movie, took a subtle dig at this decision during his appearance on the Saturday Night Live.
Tenet’s Director, Christopher Nolan went further ahead to call HBO Max the worst streaming service. “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.”
Other studios haven’t hopped onto the streaming bait yet, with Universal pushing its Fast and Furious 9 release for a year. While Disney tested its own experiment with allowing already released movies for streaming much earlier. This included films like Frozen 2 and Pixar’s Onward.
Warner Bros. is the first to commit to this plan of release for its films, but it is highly likely that theatre releases may not be the same as before, even if the survival of cinema may be in danger.
Currently, there is no certainty about when movie-going would be back to normal, but movie studios have come to realize that theatres cannot hold a month long on new releases now.
With this decision, one thing is sure — the interests of audiences are now in the forefront with movie enthusiasts getting more options than ever before.