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Wonder Woman 1984 Is Biggest 2020 Streaming Release

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Warner Bros.' Wonder Woman 1984 is the biggest streaming release of 2020. After facing multiple delays over the past year since its initial release date in November 2019, the highly anticipated DCEU sequel was finally released in the U.S. on Christmas Day. Wonder Woman 1984 was the first movie to release in theaters and on HBO Max the same day, a plan that Warner Bros. will apply to all of their 2021 movies. Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, the sequel sees Gal Gadot reprise her role as the titular superhero. Set decades after the events of 2017's Wonder Woman, Diana is now living in Washington, D.C. and working at the Smithsonian. The film also introduces comic villains Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara Minerva/Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) while reuniting Diana with her resurrected love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

With Wonder Woman 1984 serving as the guinea pig to Warner Bros.' latest streaming deal with HBO Max, many were curious to see how the movie would fare at the box office. However, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it seems that Warner Bros.' simultaneous theater and streaming Christmas Day release was a massive success for the streamer. The superhero sequel was watched by half of HBO Max's direct subscribers on Christmas Day, with total viewing hours tripling on Christmas compared to a regular day for the streaming service. While theatrically, the movie did not do nearly as well as it would have in a non-pandemic year, it still opened at $16.7 million over the three-day weekend, making it the best box office performance since the pandemic began. While it's impossible to tell how the box office numbers would have been without the HBO Max release, it's clear that the movie's success was in large thanks to its streaming availability.

According to THR, a Screen Engine survey shows that Wonder Woman 1984 has been streamed more in its first week than any other SVOD movie in 2020, unseating Disney+'s Hamilton release and beating out the Mouse House's more recent premiere of Pixar's Soul. Screen Engine, one of Hollywood's biggest marketing research firms for movie and television consumers, found that 23 percent of Wonder Woman 1984 viewers signed up for HBO Max just to watch the movie over its opening weekend.

Among that 23 percent, 14 percent said they would remain HBO Max subscribers, while nine percent said they would likely cancel their subscriptions soon. Additionally, 19 percent of existing HBO Max subscribers said in the survey that the release of Wonder Woman 1984 stopped them from cancelling their subscriptions for now. Not far behind Wonder Woman 1984's top spot was Soul, which also released on Christmas Day on Disney+. A recent Bloomberg report showed that while both HBO Max and Disney+ saw a significant increase in subscribers thanks to their Christmas Day movie releases, Disney beat HBO Max with over 2.3 million new app downloads with the release of Soul, compared to HBO Max's 554,000 app downloads that weekend.

It's clear after this year that streaming is the future for many studios, but Warner Bros. and HBO Max were really one of the leaders for this new era. Those 554,000 subscribers were a record number for the streaming service, and Wonder Woman 1984's top spot among the streaming releases is a huge success for WarnerMedia. The studio is likely going into their 2021 release strategy with more confidence now.
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