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Wonder Woman 1984 will hit HBO Max on Christmas

It’s a surprise for industry-watchers expecting the film to be postponed to 2021

Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman 1984 poster Warner Bros. Pictures

The repeatedly delayed superhero sequel Wonder Woman 1984 will hit theaters as planned on Dec. 25, but it will also arrive directly on HBO Max on the same day, at no additional charge for subscribers, Warner Bros. announced Wednesday. The film will roll out a week earlier in international markets, debuting theatrically on Dec. 16.

The sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman was originally slated for release on June 5, but rolling theater closures and a dramatic drop in moviegoing, even in open markets, led Warner Bros. to delay the movie to Aug. 14, then Oct. 2, over the course of 2020. The Christmas release date had been announced previously, and there was speculation that the films might debut on streaming services soon afterward, but Warner Bros. has now confirmed plans for a simultaneous streaming and theatrical release, without the kind of surcharge that was added to movies like Disney Plus’ streaming release of Mulan in September.

Wonder Woman 1984 “will be available for a month on HBO Max in the U.S. included at no additional cost to subscribers,” Warner Bros. said in a news release. It’s not immediately clear what will happen after that month is up, but it seems likely that at that point, the movie will become available for premium streaming rental on other digital services. Videophiles may want to wait for that, since HBO Max does not currently support 4K resolution or HDR color.

“This is an amazing film that really comes to life on the big screen,” said Ann Sarnoff, group chair and CEO of WarnerMedia’s Studios and Networks division. “Working with our partners in the exhibition community, we will provide that option to consumers in the U.S. where theaters are open. We realize that a lot of consumers can’t go back to the movies due to the pandemic, so we also want to give them the option to see Wonder Woman 1984 via our HBO Max platform.”

As word spread online about the simultaneous release, writer-director Patty Jenkins issued a Twitter statement wishing her fans happy holiday viewing, and asking them to watch the film in theaters in areas where they can see it safely, and at home in areas where that’s unsafe.

Gal Gadot will return in the new movie as Diana of Themyscira, Chris Pine as ace World War I pilot Steve Trevor, and Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen as Amazons Antiope and Queen Hippolyta, respectively. New to the cast for this installment are Pedro Pascal as the sinister business executive Max Lord, and Kristen Wiig as Barbara Ann Minerva, a British archaeologist who becomes the Cheetah, one of Wonder Woman’s most notorious foes.

We got a first look at Wiig in her full, furry Cheetah getup in a trailer released at this summer’s DC FanDome.

Update: We’ve updated this story with Warner Bros.’ confirmation of the news, as well as a statement from writer-director Patty Jenkins.