'Wonder Woman 1984' will be released in theaters and HBO Max simultaneously on December 25
- "Wonder Woman 1984" will now be released on December 25 simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.
- The sequel will be available to all HBO Max subscribers at no additional cost for a month.
- "It wasn't an easy decision and we never thought we'd have to hold onto the release for such a long time, but COVID rocked all of our worlds," star Gal Gadot wrote on Instagram.
In an unexpected move, Warner Bros. announced on Wednesday that "Wonder Woman 1984" will be released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on December 25.
It will debut theatrically on December 16 in international markets.
The film, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, will be released at no extra cost to HBO Max subscribers for a month, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said in a release sent to Insider.
"We are, of course, in an extraordinary moment," Kilar said in a statement. "We see an opportunity to do something firmly focused on the fans: give them the power to choose between going to their local cinema or opening on HBO Max. Super-fans will likely choose both. This incredible movie will be available both ways in the US on the exact same day."
The sequel, which follows Wonder Woman as she faces off against two new villains — Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) and The Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) — has been delayed multiple times since its initial June 2020 release date.
Kilar said the decision to release the film simultaneously on streaming and in theaters has several benefits, one of which is to provide fans with a choice in how to consume the film while providing exhibitors with an anticipated movie "at a much-needed time."
Director Patty Jenkins and Gadot addressed the announcement on social media.
"At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else," Jenkins wrote in a statement on Twitter. "We love our movie as we love our fans, so we truly hope that our film brings a little bit of joy and reprieve to all of you this holiday season."
Jenkins encouraged fans to see the film in theaters where it may be safe to do so, but to otherwise watch it from "the safety of your home."
Gadot released a message to her fans on Instagram along with a photo of herself in the sequel to the 2017 movie.
"It wasn't an easy decision and we never thought we'd have to hold onto the release for such a long time, but COVID rocked all of our worlds," wrote Gadot. "We feel the movie has never been so relevant and we hope that it'll bring some joy, hope, and love to your hearts. 'Wonder Woman 1984' is a special one for me and I can only hope it'll be as special to you too. We've put our hearts and souls into it."
Fans first spotted a new trailer, which was quickly set to private, announcing the HBO Max release on Wednesday.
The first movie was a big hit for WB, crossing more than $822 million worldwide at the box office. "WW84" was a highly-anticipated sequel that likely would have been one of the studio's biggest hits in 2020.
"We appreciate how patient audiences have been and given the great anticipation around 'Wonder Woman 1984' we are grateful to be able to make this terrifically entertaining movie widely available in these challenging times," said the chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Toby Emmerich, in a statement.
Warner Bros. has since released a new trailer with the release announcement.
"WW84's" streaming release date on HBO Max now gives Disney Plus some competition. In October, Disney announced it was moving its next Pixar movie, "Soul," to streaming on December 25. It will not be released in theaters.