It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or, so it should be… I hate to be a Scrooge but the reality is we’re speeding down a seemingly neverending slope of more lockdowns, city closures, and quarantines – Bah Humbug!
The world as we remember it is still on pause, and this has Hollywood stirring to find new and innovative ways to not only produce but also release new and exciting content; which brings us to the money-making goliaths that are streaming services (ie: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+, to name a few).
Streaming services have reached an all-time high number of new subscriptions in 2020 as consumers enthusiastically devour content like their accompanying buttered popcorn, binge-watching new and old titles alike.
From YouTube and Crave (Canada) to Apple TV and the newly rolled-out HBO Max (U.S.), streaming services have become a defining factor in entertainment over the past decade, and they’re still evolving (in part, due to the pandemic). Whether it be the price of a monthly subscription, a renewed interface, or the surprise “Home Premiere” of a big-budget blockbuster like Warner Media’s TENET and Wonder Woman 1984, or Disney/Pixar’s Soul, 2020 has been sure to influence the most dramatic changes to the way we view entertainment.
When the pandemic first hit, movie theatres across the globe were forced to close their doors in order to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. This left production studios with no other choice but to push back and in some cases even cancel major motion picture release dates, like the twice-delayed Candyman reboot and Marvel Studios’ long-awaited Black Widow – both of which have yet to confirm new release dates.
Video-On-Demand has been revealed to be the only logical, safe, and redeeming way for big-budget blockbuster movies to continue making any money in a post-COVID world. But it’s not foolproof, as the new Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman 1984 has reportedly stumbled at the beginning of its box office sprint.
Over in China this past weekend, it’s said Wonder Woman 1984 “limps towards second place” behind Chinese action/adventure, The Rescue. The highly anticipated, female-led and directed DCEU (DC Extended Universe) film stars Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, and Pedro Pascal, and it debuted among North American critics with an impressive 94% Rotten Tomatoes score. It’s since dropped, where it currently sits at 80%.
All things considered, Wonder Woman 1984 only earned $18.8M of its projected $40M in China, a significant drop from the first Wonder Woman‘s $38.7M earnings over its three-day opening in 2017, especially since movie-goers are in fact going to the movies in China… They’re just going to see The Rescue, instead.
If the pandemic did not play a role in Wonder Woman 1984‘s low Chinese box office numbers, it definitely influenced the lack of overall earnings overseas (a total of $30.8M). Many countries in Europe went into another lockdown over this past weekend, limiting the number of people going to the movies. Perhaps North America will salvage Gal Gadot’s latest portrayal of this classic and empowering DC Comics hero, but with the majority of movie theaters across the globe remaining closed, Wonder Woman 1984‘s North American and worldwide box office and streaming numbers will be closely watched by industry players.
The streaming race is set to begin on Christmas Day (the official and final release date for Wonder Woman 1984), but Warner Bros. has some stiff competition: Disney/Pixar’s latest animation project Soul (starring Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx) premieres on Disney+ for no extra cost; the first Netflix-produced Shonda Rhymes series Bridgerton sees its debut, and Universal’s News of the World (starring Academy Award winner Tom Hanks) hits theatres but will be made available to stream on PVOD two weeks later.
So what will you be watching this quarantined Christmas? We surveyed 100 people and 62% of them said they’ll be renting Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day while another 30% said they’re going to stream Soul on Disney+. Another 8% say they’ll be watching “Both/Other.” Whatever you choose, you’re sure to have something new and exciting to watch over the holidays! At the very least, there’s that.
Note: Wonder Woman 1984 will be made available to rent at noon on Christmas Day via Cineplex and will carry a $29.99 CAD rental price for a 48-hour period. This is the first of many Warner Media movie releases to premiere simultaneously in theatres and streaming; a new release method the production company calls a “hybrid release strategy.” Expect to see every scheduled 2021 flick from Warner Media (including Mortal Kombat and The Matrix 4, to name a very select few) to debut in cinemas and Video-On-Demand rentals on the same day.