Last week Warner Bros. announced it was moving its entire 2021 movie slate — some 17 films, many of them big screen blockbusters — to its newish streamer HBO Max. (Granted, they’ll also get theatrical releases on the same day. But still.) The news has not been met kindly by many. One critic is Tenet director Christopher Nolan, who did not hold back, heaping scorn upon the company that’s long distributed his films. But Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman and its forthcoming sequel, had a far more measured response.
Wonder Woman 1984 will in fact be the first of Warner’s blockbusters to do a day-and-day release, in theaters and on HBO Max. Its release was bumped a number of times, and as recently as October Jenkins was holding out hope that it would get a traditional release, her response, picked up by Deadline, finds her grappling with her hopes and the grim realities that we face in the midst of a spiking pandemic.
“If you had told me a year ago that we would ever go straight to streaming in any way, shape or form, I would have flipped out,” Jenkins said in an interview with Jess Cagle on SiriusXM Stars . “Like I’m not for that plan in general, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m very pro theatrical release and I will be that again, as soon as this is over.”
“However, this is such a crazy year. It’s such a crazy year. It’s like all of us are trying to figure out with our lives, how to do everything the best we can. And so I kept saying there is no good option. Like when we would talk about it, there was no good option. Wait until when. And then every movie in the world tries to come out at the same time. And you know, there was no good option. I literally gasped a little bit when the pitch for this idea was said, because I was like, ‘Oh, the idea of it going into people’s homes on Christmas Day.”
She added, “I just was like, you know what, that’s actually pretty incredible to get to share whether, you know, it’s Christmas for people or not the holiday season and in this moment to just try to reach people however they can see it.”
You can compare/contrast that with what Nolan said, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “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,” Nolan said. He added:
“Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
You’ll be able to watch Wonder Woman 1984 in the safety of your home — or, if you chance it, in theaters — starting December 25, on HBO Max. Maybe by then the service — which, despite Nolan’s words, is the most diverse streamer on the market, a place where you can watch the Tim Burton Batman films, The Sopranos, Citizen Kane, and Duck Amuck, among untold others — will actually be on Roku. Or not.