Wonder Woman 1984's VOD Release is a Blow to Other Services

Wonder Woman 1984's VOD Release is a Blow to Other Services

AT&T WarnerMedia’s new blockbuster DC movie is scheduled to release in December on HBO Max for no fee, unlike Disney’s $30 Mulan VOD attempt.

AT&T WarnerMedia’s new blockbuster DC movie is scheduled to release in December on HBO Max for no fee, unlike Disney’s $30 Mulan VOD attempt.

Credit | WarnerMedia

Wonder Woman 1984 (WW 1984) will release on HBO Max this December for free, which is a big blow to other streaming services. The film will release more than an entire year after its original release date. Originally planned to release December 13, 2019, the film will now release on Christmas, December 25th, 2020.

The film was moved from December 13, 2019 to November 1, 2019, a month earlier, then to June 5, 2020, followed up by December 25th. That marks three different changes to the release date for the movie, with the company finally deciding on a Christmas pandemic release date.

Not long after theaters closed, WW 1984 was pushed out a few months, until WarnerMedia decided to forego theaters entirely, and desperate to release the film, decided to do so on HBO Max’s streaming service. HBO Max is owned by WarnerMedia, owned by AT&T.

The 2017 Wonder Woman reboot/beginning film, ended up grossing more than 821 million USD globally on a 149 million dollar budget. Even with those impressive numbers, this sequel, WW 1984, was planned to do even better, with upwards estimates of $1 billion.

This was before WarnerMedia’s box office launch of Tenet, which ended up commercially flopping, removing any want from Warner Bros to release WW 1984 in cinemas, especially when HBO Max subscribers could make more money.

New York Times

That’s when AT&T/WarnerMedia/Warner Bros decided to copy a strategy from Disney+, by time releasing a movie on a platform.

Disney+ charged US subscribers a fee of $29.99 for “Premium Access” to their Mulan movie, before making the film available for all subscribers, free of charge. WW 1984 follows a similar form of this, where the movie’s available for a month to all HBO Max subscribers for free. After this limited, month long trial, the film will be exclusively available in theaters.

While Disney+ has a comparatively miniscule monthly cost of $6.99, when put into comparison with HBO Max’s $14.99, AT&T’s HBO Max offers a 7-day free trial. Disney+ had a $7 monthly fee with a $30 watch fee, while HBO Max has a $15 monthly fee, but no fee for a month, to watch it at least. Along with that overall cheaper price, there’s also a 7 day free trial, which could bring your total price down to F R E E.

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It’s become increasingly more likely that HBO Max would receive a large number of new sign-up and registrations in December, as WW 1984 is a massive blockbuster, which could possibly translate into a large number of additional subscribers. The only thing that AT&T can do however, is just hope and wait.

With studios such as Disney and WarnerMedia losing more and more money on delayed and cancelled box office releases, their sights are increasingly focused on streaming services such as Disney+ and HBO Max. While many theaters are planning on reopening relatively soon, there’s still hundreds, if not thousands that won’t ever open.

Even with these possible losses of revenue, companies look forwards to the money brought in by new subscribers, such as those that stayed from Disney’s Mulan, and those that might stay from HBO Max’s WW 1984.

Disney+ had major success from their release of Hamilton on the service, but they also didn’t rely on a $30 additional fee on a $200 million production like with Mulan. WW 1984 has a similar budget to Mulan, and could’ve theoretically followed the same route, but it looks like the company is now focused on gaining subscribers over recouping money through a Premier fee.

Radio Times

Mulan will be available to all Disney+ subscribers on December 4th, 2020, about three months after its initial release for $30 on the platform. Disney+ will probably see a little increase in subscriber numbers after the free release, but WW 1984 might give Disney some insight into how well Mulan might have done if released for free.