Like everything else in 2020, movie theaters are struggling.
Any of the major blockbusters scheduled to release this year have been pushed back indefinitely until things return to “ normal ” and people can safely return to theaters. Fan favorites such as “Black Widow” and “No Time to Die” were some of the many movies delayed in 2021.
All but one: “Wonder Woman 1984” will be released in movie theaters and HBO Max on Christmas Day.
“We love our movie as we love our fans, so we really hope our movie gives you all a little bit of joy and respite over the holidays,” said film director Patty Jenkins on Twitter. “Check it out in theaters, where it’s made safe to do (check out the great work theaters have done to make it that way!) And available in the safety of your own home on HBO Max where it’s not.”
Jenkins also stated that there are plans to keep the film in theaters for as long as possible, but no other concrete details on the topic have been released so far.
If the pandemic of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has taught production companies anything, it is that people greatly appreciate the theater experience.
Warner Bros. Pictures, the studio behind “Wonder Woman,” the September release of “Tenet,” got very mediocre sales. While the Christopher Nolan-directed movie was long-awaited, the movie made just $ 29.5 million in the US, out of the $ 200 million made worldwide.
“We believe in theaters because hundreds of millions of fans around the world value movie theater,” said Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia.
The decision to release “Wonder Woman 1984” in both theaters and a streaming site met with conflicting opinions from fans. While some were thrilled to be able to stream the movie rather than risk going to the cinema, some cinema workers said this decision was harmful.
“As a cinema clerk, it’s really shocking because (the film) would save us this season, and now it’s worrying if I’ll keep my job,” said Hand, according to Twitter. “It’s so hard. I don’t want anyone to get sick, so having an option at home is nice, but worrying financially is a constant battle!”
Nevertheless, going to indoor theaters is still a high-risk activity that could promote the spread of the virus, experts said. In order for theaters to survive the financial burden of the pandemic, they need to change the way they operate.
“An optimal cinema scenario would mean no concessions being sold and flexible schedules for employees and good sick leave policies,” said Dr. Annabelle De St. Maurice, according to Los Angeles Times. “So they can stay at home when they feel sick, instead of being encouraged to work through it.”
Obviously, the key to safety is keeping employees from working when they are not feeling their best. But the pressure to sell, even during a pandemic, has caught companies and workers on a crux, a testament to how the capitalist system ignores workers.
“Theaters are caught between a rock and a hard place,” he said Shawn Robbins according to CNN Business. “But there must be drastically more communication and coordination between local authorities and studios before theaters can confidently resume their full operations. There is no perfect blueprint, but what has been done so far has not been enough.”
As of now, no one is sure what will happen to the pandemic trajectory in the coming months. We can hope that things will return to normal soon, but that is not very likely. Ultimately, movie theaters (and we, as moviegoers), will have to adapt to security restrictions to survive.
I personally applaud Warner Bros. Pictures and Jenkins because they have decided to release the film in both theaters and streaming. I’ve been looking forward to “Wonder Woman 1984” and I’m glad I don’t have to risk my health to enjoy it.
Hopefully, once things really get back to normal and COVID-19 is no longer something to worry about, we can all safely watch “Wonder Woman 1984” and other movies on the big screen. After all, people will always want the experience of watching movies – it’s irreplaceable. But for now, public safety is top priority!