Wonder Woman 1984 Performance at the Box Office - How to Delight HBO Max and Theaters - Comic Years
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Wonder Woman 1984 Performance at the Box Office – How to Delight HBO Max and Theaters

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BY January 1, 2021

The very last month of 2020, a confusedly chaotic year, was filled with movie-lovers sitting in anticipation. Wonder Woman 1984 finally made the decision to debut to eager fans, and its release strategy was a new sight to behold. We have seen various release strategies, delays, and studios just giving up at trying throughout COVID-19’s impact on cinema throughout the past 12 months. But for such a major movie to come out in theaters and a streaming service simultaneously? Well, then, that just gives us something new to experience! Now that the film has been out for a few weeks, it’s time to look at how the Wonder Woman 1984 performance at both the box office and on HBO Max. After all, this information could be a guiding light in the next few months of box office numbers.

Wonder Woman 1984 Performance At The Box Office and Beyond

When it comes to streaming performances, Wonder Woman 1984 did pretty darn good. The film, which released on the U.S.-only streaming service (much to the chagrin of this writer, who had to spend $29.99 to watch it on-demand), was freely available to all subscribers. One survey found that 23% of watchers were new subscribers and that 14% of them plan on keeping their subscriptions.

The same survey mentioned above, completed by Screen Engine, discovered that more people had watched Wonder Woman 1984 in its first week compared to all other 2020 streaming releases (including Hamilton!) Though, one statistic that we think is incredibly important to note is that as many as 19% of subscribers said that they’d keep HBO Max, and had decided not to cancel, all because of WW1984. 

Wonder Woman 1984 Image via Warner Bros.

What Theaters Have To Say

To be honest, we expected a pretty good turnout for the streaming service. It’s a huge movie that’s been talked about since the very impressive turnout of the first film back in 2017. However, we did have hesitations about making any similar claims about actual box office figures. The film did manage to break records, pulling in the best box office weekend since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, how did it make so much money? Not only did casual viewers leave the house for such a theatrical event, but theaters were filled. According to Warner Bros. executives,  thousands of theaters were booked for private screenings of the movie. As somebody who will never stop going to the movies, knowing that there are others who will pay for an entire theater slot just to watch a movie on the big screen brings hope that the theatrical model won’t ever die off.

Dune Trailer Image via Warner Bros.

The 2021 Box Office Will Be Wild

Wonder Woman 1984 certainly won’t be the only film to release with this strategy. Warner Bros. decided to release all of their 2021 films on both the streaming service and in theaters. This means that WW1984 is a big clue to how all of those films will do, assuming that theater closures and restrictions will remain for the majority of the year.

Will they all do as well as WW1984? Probably not. There are some good movies releasing, but few have the hype that the DC film does. We might expect similar turnouts for these big movies, including The Suicide Squad, Dune, and Matrix 4. These are the types of films where we may see similar private screening numbers. (Hey, if anyone wants to invite me to one, I’ll be there.)

When it comes to films that seem less like a theatrical event, we’re pretty sure that HBO Max will have to take more of the credit when it comes down to numbers.

No matter what the outcome, 2021 will determine a lot about the future of the box office, and Wonder Woman 1984 is only one piece of the puzzle. Whatever happens, our fingers are crossed that these movie theaters are able to make it out on the other side.

Featured image via Warner Bros.


Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.

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