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Wonder Woman 1984 release date delay looks likely after Tenet flops

WW84 has been delayed more times than almost any movie in superhero cinema history, but new reports suggest its release date could change again.

Believe it or not, Wonder Woman 1984 was originally supposed to release on December 13, 2019. But after the movie was pushed to summer 2020 and then Covid-19 happened, it's been shoved all the way back to October 2 — for now.

However, after a somewhat disappointing re-opening weekend for U.S. movie theaters, rumors are swirling that Wonder Woman 1984 could be delayed yet again. Are these release date changes legit? Here's what you need to know.

The first inkling that Wonder Woman 1984's release date could be in trouble came from Grace Randolph, a YouTube host with a less-than-stellar track record for breaking superhero movie news. In a September 2 tweet, she wrote:

"Heads up - I hear Warner Bros might MIGHT
be moving #WonderWoman1984 & #Dune
#Tenet box office so far has been okay, unless tracking for US debut looks bad?
I’d think they wouldn’t decide for sure until after this weekend...
Stay tuned...

At the time, I didn't give this much thought. Sure, Wonder Woman 1984 could be delayed, but with Warner seemingly committed to bringing back big-screen releases, it seemed unlikely. And Randolph's hedging here ("MIGHT") suggested even she wasn't so sure. But after Tenet's U.S. release, it's not looking good for Wonder Woman.

Over the weekend, Tenet brought in just over $20 million in U.S. ticket sales, The New York Times reports. That's pretty bad by usual standards (a new Christopher Nolan movie typically makes $50 million on opening weekend), but, of course, these are not usual times. Many theaters are running at a lower capacity to follow social distancing protocols, while plenty of movie fans are likely uncomfortable attending at all. On top of that, the two biggest markets in America (New York City and Los Angeles) are still keeping movie theaters closed.

But even with all these qualifiers in mind, those numbers can't be looking good to Warner executives who gambled on Tenet and now need to decide what to do with Wonder Woman 1984. According to analyst Rich Greenfield, all of 2020's big remaining movies will likely shift to 2021 as a result. On Monday, he tweeted:

In trying to save movie theaters, Christopher Nolan's forced domestic release of Tenet has likely helped accelerate the shift of movies away from theaters after a lackluster domestic opening illustrates consumers are not ready as a whole
Highly likely that remaining major 2020 films move into 2021 now:
Disney's Black Widow
MGM's No Time to Die
Warner's Wonder Woman 1984

Whether Wonder Woman 1984 moves to November or December 2020 or all the way to early next year, it's starting to look less and less likely that the film will stick to its current October release date. Another delay is definitely being seriously considered, at the very least.

The Inverse Analysis — What Greenfield fails to account for is Mulan and Disney's new streaming experiment. We still don't know how many people paid $30 to watch the live-action adaptation last weekend, but if those numbers are high enough, we could see Disney take the same approach with Black Widow rather than risk a poor box office performance or yet another delay. Along those same lines, Warner could easily roll our a similar feature through HBO Max, giving DC movie fans the option to pay $30 for a chance to watch Wonder Woman 1984 this October from the safety of their living rooms.

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