Just yesterday, I wrote that it was likely that “Wonder Woman 1984” was going to be delayed yet again. No, that wasn’t a hugely shocking pronouncement, as the first weekend of “Tenet” in North America proved that theaters aren’t equipped to handle multiple blockbusters at the same time. Well, now, it appears that WB is on the verge of making it official.
According to Deadline, Warner Bros. is likely going to delay “Wonder Woman 1984” from its latest date of October 2 to sometime in November or even December. This comes after analysts predict that New York City and Los Angeles likely won’t open cinemas until late-September or early-October and the studio wants to make sure “Tenet” is given free rein at the cinemas when that happens. Obviously, even without the opening of NYC or LA, the idea that WB would release two blockbusters within a month of each other in a climate where there’s no way of knowing if cinemas can keep up is actually insane. So, the delay is just obvious.
Now, the ripple effect is an interesting thing to keep up with following this latest move. When WB delays ‘WW84,’ that basically frees up “Tenet” to dominate into the Halloween month, as it wouldn’t be shocking for Universal’s “Candyman” and Disney’s “Death on the Nile” to vacate the month, as well. The next shoe to drop is the decision coming from Disney about what to do with its Marvel Studios film, “Black Widow,” which was delayed from May to November 6. The report claims that Disney is apt to move the film and just hasn’t made it official yet.
If Disney does delay “Black Widow” (or go the digital route, a la “Mulan”), then we’re looking at a situation where ‘WW84’ could occupy that date. Of course, that puts it in the same month as “No Time To Die,” which could be our first real head-to-head competition scenario. To avoid that, WB could look at December for ‘Wonder Woman,’ which would free it up to dominate the Christmas season. No matter how you slice it, either a November or December date for ‘WW84’ means that “Dune” is likely the next to get the delay into 2021. The report claims that WB is already looking at that as a distinct possibility.
All of this shouldn’t be too shocking for film fans, as the most recent trailers for both “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Dune” don’t include actual release dates and instead just say “coming soon” or “only in theaters.” This shows that not even WB is willing to stake a claim to a specific date for anything right now.
Regardless, it’s clear that “Tenet” didn’t open the floodgates of film releases like fans might have hoped for. Instead, the film’s box office receipts and release truly are an experiment that will help dictate the future of blockbuster releasing in 2020. As with everything theatrical during the pandemic, things are fluid and will likely change. And nobody is probably more frustrated than the cinema owners, who are left out in the cold with this news.