‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Director Patty Jenkins Knows Her Movie Is Theaters’ Last Hope of Survival

2017’s Wonder Woman was an integral building block in shaping the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). As much as fans love Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill), Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has carried the DCEU on her shoulders. Now, with Wonder Woman 1984’s fate uncertain, director Patty Jenkins spoke up about the imminent future of movie theaters. 

Director Patty Jenkins at the 'Wonder Woman' premiere
Director Patty Jenkins at the ‘Wonder Woman’ premiere | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is the last blockbuster standing in 2020

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting movie theater shutdown, Hollywood has cleared the decks. Just about every major release scheduled from March 2020 until the end of the year failed to secure a theatrical release. Some movies — such as Disney’s Mulan — opted for an online release. But most studio tentpoles moved to 2021.

So far, Wonder Woman 1984 remains set for a Christmas Day release. But another theater shutdown has already begun. Regal Cinemas — the second-largest theater chain in the U.S. — announced a temporary closure of its theaters. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. pushed all its upcoming releases, including December’s Dune. Only Wonder Woman 1984 remains in 2020.

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Director Patty Jenkins speaks out about saving movie theaters

Under this context, rumors began to swirl that Warner Bros. still intended to release Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day. However, rather than its anticipated theatrical release, the movie would debut on streaming platforms. After all, Warner Bros. went that route with several other 2020 titles. But according to Reuters, Jenkins is determined to see her film hit the big screen. In fact, she’s fighting on behalf of movie theaters themselves.

“If we shut this down, this will not be a reversible process,” the director told Reuters. “We could lose movie theater-going forever.” She and other directors hope the federal government will take action to save theaters. Jenkins believes closing them again could lead to Hollywood abandoning the big screen altogether. With streaming on the rise, she has a point.

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Her ‘Wonder Woman’ sequel could shape the future of cinema

To be fair, Jenkins is — at least in part — fighting for her own film. Because of the pandemic, Warner Bros. pushed Wonder Woman 1984 back three times. And Jenkins admitted to Reuters she hoped her movie would “be one of the very first ones to come back and bring [theater-going] into everyone’s life.” In some ways, movie theaters are counting on Wonder Woman 1984.

Right now, Hollywood is overwhelmed by remakes and reboots as it combats the rise of streaming and so-called “peak TV.” Superhero movies and other franchise fare are often the only reliable box office hits. As such, Wonder Woman 1984 — a $200 million spectacle and one of 2020’s most anticipated movies — is the kind of movie still keeping theaters afloat.

But if Wonder Woman can’t save cinemas, then perhaps it is already too late.