Wonder Woman 1984 recently changed release dates, and there are some good reasons why. Warner Bros. and DC Films have had a pretty rough go at it over the past few years, but 2017's Wonder Woman was the lone notable exception. Patty Jenkins' origin story received widespread praise and broke box office records en route to an $821.8 million worldwide gross. In terms of critical and commercial reception, the first Wonder Woman movie was the most successful DC film since Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Obviously, a followup was quickly moved through the pipeline.
While there was never a question Wonder Woman would get a sequel, WB hasn't had the best luck finding a release date for it. Originally, Wonder Woman 1984 was scheduled for December 2019, but moved up to November of that year when Lucasfilm set Star Wars: Episode IX for a holiday premiere. Now, the studio has switched things up again, pushing 1984 back seven months to June 2020. A close analysis of the situation makes it easy to understand their decision.
WB's official statement on the matter mentioned a "changing competitive landscape," a direct reference to the sheer amount of high-profile titles coming out next fall. In the time after Wonder Woman 1984 was first moved to November 2019, the likes of Terminator 6, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Kingsman 3 all staked claim to prime real estate that month, joining the likes of Frozen 2 and (for now) an untitled Fox/Marvel film. November 2019 resembles the summer movie season, with a number of franchise sequels and family films competing for attention. Wonder Woman 1984 is obviously highly-anticipated and would likely beat any of these in a head-to-head matchup (with the arguable exception of Frozen 2), but the goal with tentpoles is to maximize profits. WB would run the risk of Wonder Woman 2's bottom line being cannibalized by other noteworthy films if it remained in this window. It's one thing to have a few weeks' cushion on the Frozen sequel, but all these other offerings make the month quite crowded.
WB also pulled Mark Wahlberg's The Six Billion Man from their release schedule, creating an open slot on their calendar in June 2020. Especially considering the overwhelming success of the first Wonder Woman in June 2017, it was logical to move the sequel to a similar time frame. Yes, 1984 is going to have to contend with a new Pixar film and Top Gun: Maverick, but it gets a little bit of a head start on those and should dominate the multiplex in the early stages of its run. The studio is clearly trying to replicate the circumstances of the original movie's premiere, hoping the box office results are similar. It'll be interesting to see if Universal opts to move their action film Red Notice (which also stars Gal Gadot) from its June 12, 2020 release date, since audiences will prioritize one Gadot vehicle over another.
Since the first Wonder Woman was immensely popular, the sequel would have done well at the box office no matter when it was released. However, some weekends are more lucrative than others, and WB wants Wonder Woman 1984 to make as much as it possibly can. With Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman reportedly moving on, Diana Prince is now the face of the franchise, so there's a lot riding on the continued success of her standalone series. Making it a summer tentpole simply puts it in a better position to thrive longterm.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020