Wonder Woman 1984 was originally scheduled for a wide theatrical release on June 5, 2020, but was delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film premiered on December 15, 2020, via the DC FanDome virtual platform, and was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures on December 25, 2020, both theatrically and via the HBO Max streaming service. Critics praised its depiction of the 1980s, escapist qualities, and Jenkins's direction, but criticized the plot and screenplay. The film grossed $169.6 million worldwide against a production budget of $200 million, failing to break even due to limited theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic but became the most-watched straight-to-streaming film of 2020. Two follow-ups are in development: a sequel with Jenkins and Gadot returning and a spin-off produced by Jenkins focusing on the Amazons of Themyscira.
As a young child, Diana participates in an athletic competition on Themyscira against adult Amazons. After being knocked off her horse while looking back at her opponents, Diana takes a shortcut and remounts, but misses a checkpoint. Antiope removes her from the race for cheating, explaining anything worthwhile must be obtained honestly, while her mother Hippolyta advises her to be patient in her pursuit of glory and honor.
After the FBI asks the museum to identify stolen antiquities from a robbery that Wonder Woman recently foiled, Barbara and Diana notice one of the artifacts, later identified as the Dreamstone, has a Latin inscription claiming to grant the holder one wish. Neither openly takes the inscription seriously, but Barbara wishes to become like Diana and unintentionally acquires the same superpowers, while Diana yearns for her deceased lover Steve Trevor. He is resurrected in another man's body; the two are reunited at a Smithsonian gala. Failing businessman Maxwell "Max Lord" Lorenzano steals the Dreamstone, hoping to use its power to save his nearly bankrupt oil company. His wish is to "become" the stone and gain its wish-granting powers; whenever he grants someone else's desire, he is able to take what he wants from the wisher, resulting in worldwide chaos, destruction and instability.
Diana discovers that the Dreamstone was created by Dolos/Mendacius, The God of Lies, also known as the Duke of Deception. It grants a user's wish, but exacts an equally strong toll unless they renounce the wish or destroy the stone. Although Diana's powers and Barbara's humanity begin to diminish, neither is willing to renounce their wish. Max visits the U.S President at the White House, who wishes for more nuclear missiles to cow the Soviets, which brings the world to the brink of nuclear war. Max also learns of a new and secret satellite system that can broadcast to anyone in the world; since his powers are causing his body to deteriorate, he plans to grant wishes globally to steal strength and life force from the viewers and regain his health. Diana and Steve confront him, but Barbara betrays Diana and knocks her down, escaping with Max on Marine One.
Steve convinces Diana to renounce her wish and let him go, restoring her to full strength. Donning the armor of Asteria, greatest of all Amazon warriors, Diana flies to the satellite headquarters and again battles Barbara, who has transformed into a humanoid cheetah after wishing to become an apex predator. After a brutal fight that ends in a lake, Diana electrocutes Barbara, then pulls her out of the water. She confronts Max and uses her Lasso of Truth to communicate with the world through him, persuading everyone to renounce their wish. She then shows Max visions of his own unhappy childhood and of his son, Alistair, who is frantically searching for his father amid the chaos. Max renounces his wish and reunites with Alistair, and Barbara returns to normal. Sometime later in the winter, Diana meets the man whose body Steve possessed. Meanwhile, Asteria is revealed to be secretly living among humans.
Gal Gadot both starred in and co-produced the film.
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman: An immortal demigoddess, Amazon princess and warrior. Diana is the daughter of Hippolyta, the Amazonian queen of Themyscira, and Zeus, the king of the Olympian Gods. Gadot spoke about the character's evolution, saying in the first film "[Diana] really is a fish out of water, coming from Themyscira into man's world and learning about the complexities of human life, really. In Wonder Woman 1984, she's been around. She's wiser and she's more mature. She's guarded and lost all of her friends throughout the years, but she's still doing the right thing, yet she is different from when we last saw her." Gadot added, "In the first movie, we really explored the journey of the coming-of-age, of how Diana Prince became Wonder Woman and owned her full strengths and powers."
Lilly Aspell portrays a younger Diana, reprising her role from Wonder Woman (2017).
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor: An American pilot and spy from World War I and the lost love of Diana who died in the first film. His soul possesses another man, portrayed by Kristoffer Polaha in mirror reflections; only Diana can see his face.
The director of the first film, Patty Jenkins, who initially signed for only one film, had expressed interest in returning to direct the sequel. In June 2017, during an interview with Variety, comic book writer Geoff Johns revealed that he and Jenkins had started writing the treatment for a Wonder Woman sequel and that he had a "cool idea for the second one". While speaking in a Q&A at a Women in Film screening of the film, Jenkins stated she would indeed direct the sequel. Jenkins later clarified that "it wasn't a confirmation. Just talking about ideas and hopes."
On July 22, 2017, at San Diego Comic-Con, the studio officially announced a sequel would be produced, with Jenkins returning as director; its title was listed as Wonder Woman 2. In September 2017, it was officially confirmed that Jenkins would be directing the sequel. On September 13, 2017, it was reported that The Expendables writer David Callaham would join the film to co-write the script with Jenkins and Johns, who had already been working on it for several months.
On February 28, 2018, it was reported that the film would be shot with IMAX film cameras in select action sequences. By late May 2018, long-time DCEU producer Zack Snyder confirmed on social media platform Vero that he, along with his wife Deborah Snyder, would serve as producers on the Wonder Woman sequel. On June 13, 2018, the title of the film was announced to be Wonder Woman 1984. A source close to Jenkins described it as a stand-alone film "in the same way that Indiana Jones or [James] Bond films are, instead of one continuous story that requires many installments."
Pre-production officially began by early December 2017 in the United Kingdom. That same month, director Patty Jenkins stated that the film would be another great love story. In April 2018, the film was confirmed to be set in the 1980s. In May, production designer Aline Bonetto (Amélie, Wonder Woman) was announced to be returning for the sequel, as well as Academy Award winner Lindy Hemming, also returning as costume designer.
On June 22, 2018, it was reported that Gal Gadot would be attending the Warner Bros. DC presentation at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and some footage from the film would be shown to promote it. Director Patty Jenkins and actors Gadot and Pine attended the Wonder Woman 1984 panel at SDCC on July 21, 2018, where a short clip of the film was shown. New footage was shown during CinemaCon 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, with a first look at Kristen Wiig in the film. In June 2019, Warner Bros. screened an extended look to European exhibitors at CineEurope in Barcelona, Spain.
A teaser poster debuted on June 5, 2019, one year ahead of the film's then-scheduled release date. In October 2019, it was announced that the film's first trailer would debut during Comic Con Experience CCXP 2019 on December 8, with Gadot and Jenkins attending the event in São Paulo, Brazil. By the end of the month, WarnerMedia Entertainment debuted new footage from the film during the HBO Max presentation to the press. The first trailer debuted on December 8 at the 2019 Comic Con Experience (CCXP), with the show being livestreamed on Twitter around the world in real time. It used Sebastian Böhm's instrumental remix of "Blue Monday" by New Order. The same day, character posters for Wonder Woman, Maxwell Lord, Barbara Ann Minerva and Steve Trevor were released. In August 2020, the film's second trailer was released during DC FanDome.
The second trailer was "re-released" in November 2020 once the film's simultaneous theatrical and streaming debut was confirmed. Later that month, a new international poster was released, along with confirmation the film would have a presence at Brazil's Comic Con event CCXP 2020 on December 6. A one-minute final trailer was released during the convention.
Wonder Woman 1984 premiered on December 15, 2020, in a fan-first event, via the DC FanDome virtual platform. The "Virtual World Premiere" included the participation of director Jenkins, stars Gadot, Pine, Wiig and Pascal and a performance from the film's composer Zimmer. The opening scene of the film was released during the event.
The week prior to its domestic launch, the studio spent $17 million on television ads promoting the film.
Theatrical and streaming
Wonder Woman 1984 was theatrically released by Warner Bros. Pictures in a handful of international markets starting on December 16, 2020, and was theatrically released in the United States and Canada on December 25 in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema and IMAX while streaming on HBO Max in the United States and via premium video-on-demand in Canada the same day. IMAX theaters showed a version of the film with a taller aspect ratio during select scenes. That version was also seen on HBO Max as well. The film was released theatrically in additional markets through January 28, 2021.
It was originally announced for release on December 13, 2019, before being moved up to November 1, 2019, then it was delayed to June 5, 2020. On March 24, 2020, with theatres closed for an uncertain period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was delayed to August 14, 2020, taking the release date of Malignant. In June 2020, another delay saw the film's release pushed to October 2, 2020, before it was delayed further to the Christmas date in September, following the tepid opening weekend of Warner Bros' Tenet in the United States and in response to the continued closure of theaters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City at the time.
Later, Variety reported the film would be keeping its Christmas release date in theaters, while the film would also premiere digitally on HBO Max in the United States the same day, with the film being available at no extra cost to subscribers, after a staggered theatrical release schedule in most international markets that do not have HBO Max starting on December 16, including Greece, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Shortly after, Deadline Hollywood reported that in order to get exhibitors on board with the day-and-date HBO Max release, Warner Bros. agreed to take a lower cut of the rental revenue than it usually does with a tentpole release, as well as to pull the film from HBO Max after a month so that the second month of the film's run would be exclusive to theaters. The site also said industry analysts had estimated the film's break-even point at $500million and that it was expected to lose money for the studio. Adam Aron, CEO of US theater chain AMC Theatres, supported the simultaneous release strategy, stating, "Given that atypical circumstances call for atypical economic relationships between studios and theaters and atypical windows and releasing strategies, AMC is fully onboard for Warner Brothers' announcement."
The film's simultaneous release strategy led to Warner Bros. announcing on December 3, 2020, that its entire slate of 2021 films would be given the same release strategy. This led to many filmmakers, production companies and theater chains (who were not informed and consulted with over the move) to voice their disappointment and displeasure over the move, especially in regards to the special treatment given to the cast and filmmakers of Wonder Woman 1984 that was not given to the other filmmakers and actors with their 2021 films. Despite being paid her bonus by Warner Bros. as a result of the move, Patty Jenkins herself expressed both worry and optimism over the move's impact on the future of theaters and moviegoing.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the film was released on PVOD services as a 48-hour rental for January 13, 2021, due to the lockdown and closure of theaters in response to COVID-19 surges. While in the Philippines, it was released on HBO Go on April 21, 2021, for the same reason.
The film was re-added to HBO Max following its premiere on HBO's linear channel on May 13, 2021.
Wonder Woman 1984 was released as a rental on PVOD services in the United States on February 12, 2021, on Digital HD on March 16, 2021, followed by its physical release on DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on March 30. The sequences shot for IMAX presentation were retained on all home media releases. As of January 2022, Wonder Woman 1984 has sold more than 606,000 DVDs along with an estimated of 818,000 Blu-ray Discs totaling $15.9 million and $22.8 million, respectively, for a total of $38.8 million in sales revenue.
Following its opening weekend, Warner Bros. announced that HBO Max saw total viewing hours on the film's first day more than triple in comparison to a typical day in the previous month. Several days later, Screen Engine reported that 23% of viewers had subscribed to HBO Max in order to watch the film. The company also said that Wonder Woman 1984 was already the most-watched straight-to-streaming title of the year, beating Hamilton. According to Nielsen, the film totaled 2.25 billion minutes spent by HBO Max users over its first three days of release, "equivalent to about 14.9 million complete plays of the 151-minute movie". Following its opening weekend, Samba TV reported the film was streamed in 1.6 million American households over its first three days of release.
Samba TV later reported that the film was watched in 3.2 million households within its first week of release and 3.9 million in the first 17 days and in over 4.3 million U.S. households by the end of its month. Following its third weekend of release, Deadline Hollywood wrote "if there's anything positive to report, we'll hear about on the next AT&T earnings call" but if viewership numbers were noteworthy "we would have already heard about it." In January 2022, tech firm Akami reported that Wonder Woman 1984 was the eighth most pirated film of 2021.
Wonder Woman 1984 grossed $46.8 million in the United States and Canada and $122.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $169.6 million. In January 2021, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film would likely lose the studio "north of $100 million."
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside News of the World, Promising Young Woman and Pinocchio and was projected to gross around $10 million from 2,150 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to $16.7 million, finishing above expectations and with the best total of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 87% less than the first film's opening weekend. Over 10,000 private screenings of the film were held, accounting for about $2 million (12%) of the opening weekend total. It fell 67% in its second weekend, grossing $5.5 million. In its third weekend the film fell another 45% to $3 million, with Deadline Hollywood saying it "continued to emulate the legs of a horror movie". The film grossed $2.6 million in its fourth weekend, finishing second behind newcomer The Marksman.
Internationally, the film was expected to debut to around $60 million from 32 countries. In China, the film had a disappointing first-day opening, only grossing $4.6 million, compared to the local film The Rescue, which grossed $8.9 million its first day. Global projections were subsequently lowered to $35–40 million and the film went on to debut to $38.2 million, including $5 million from IMAX screens. China was the largest opening with $18.8 million, followed by Taiwan ($3.6 million), Thailand ($2 million), Brazil ($1.7 million), Japan ($1.6 million), Mexico ($1.6 million), Singapore ($1.3 million), the United Kingdom ($1.2 million) and Spain ($1.1 million). In its second weekend of international release, the film made $19.4 million from 40 countries. Its largest markets were Australia ($4.5 million) and Japan ($2.5 million), while China's running total reached $23.9 million.
Slate called Wonder Woman 1984's critical response "lukewarm", while Newsweek described it as "mixed".The Washington Post reported that the response changed from "early praise to precipitous decline". Critics praised the film's "escapist qualities" and Jenkins' take on the 1980s, but many commentators found it "overindulgent or cliché".
On the review aggregatorRotten Tomatoes, 58% of 440 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Wonder Woman 1984 struggles with sequel overload, but still offers enough vibrant escapism to satisfy fans of the franchise and its classic central character." Upon the initial drop of the review embargo, the film achieved a 90% positive review score; this score gradually dropped until it ended up at 59% after the release.Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 60 out of 100, based on 57 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale (lower than the "A" received by its predecessor), while PostTrak reported 78% of those gave the film a positive score, with 67% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Kate Erbland of IndieWire gave the film a "B" and wrote "Wonder Woman 1984 is all about playing with magic and wishes and desires, only to see them lead to horrible ramifications, instant gratification and the revelation that lying is never without consequence. Those are some big swings and not every single one lands, but the ones that do are both joyous and genuinely worth pondering." Adam Graham of The Detroit News gave the film a "C" and wrote that "the result is far from wondrous, a reminder of the limitations of the superhero genre and the ways its escapist trappings sacrifice key storytelling elements (narrative, characters, dialogue) for empty spectacle." Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, saying, "To be sure, we get a classic comic book movie storyline about a megalomaniacal madman intent on taking over the world, but there's often a relatively light tone to the proceedings. This is a throwback piece of pure pop entertainment."
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, wrote that "Patty Jenkins is behind the camera again, but this time without the confidence. Certainly some of the problems can be pinned on the uninterestingly janky script, a mess of goofy jokes, storytelling clichés and dubious politics."Alonso Duralde of TheWrap said: "Even if the notion of wishes — making them and then takesies-backsies — isn't quite a cinematic enough concept to support Wonder Woman's final face-off with Lord, Wonder Woman 1984 still brings a freshness and a wit that's often lacking in these gargantuan costumed-hero sagas." Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw gave the film 3 out of 5 stars and stated, "Gadot is terrifically imposing, while Kristen Wiig is the scene-stealing antagonist in Patty Jenkins' epically brash sequel."Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle praised Gadot, saying, "Her performance here has dignity and earned emotion" and called her the best thing about the film and "She was the best thing in the first installment, too, but that was an excellent movie. This one isn't." LaSalle concludes "Often, it's a beautiful-looking film — but it's beauty without substance." In her review for RogerEbert.com, Christy Lemire wrote, "The quality that made the original film such a delight has been squashed almost entirely."
The plot point of Steve inhabiting the body of another man, credited as "Handsome Man", was criticized for putting his body into dangerous situations and being used without his consent, including a sex scene between Diana and Steve. Criticism was aimed at the film's lack of acknowledgment of what happened to the man while Steve was inhabiting his body, as well as Diana and Steve not appearing to consider the issue of consent, even if Steve coming back but in another man's body was not any of the characters' intention.The Mary Sue described the event as a rape and strongly condemned it. Jenkins replied in agreement to a fan's tweet that tries to explain there were no issues with this plot aspect, that the film was following the trope of a body swap, similar to Big or Freaky Friday. Bonnie Burton, writing for CNet, stated that while this may have been Jenkins' intention, the body swap trope may not be as politically correct in the current period as it was in the 1980s.
Roxana Hadadi of Slate criticized the film for what she saw as its negative stereotypical depiction of Arab people.
In January 2019, after principal photography on Wonder Woman 1984 was completed, director and co-writer Patty Jenkins announced that the plot for a third Wonder Woman film was mapped out. The filmmaker stated that the plot of the next installment would take place during the modern day. By December 2019, Jenkins expressed that the wait between the second and third films will be longer than the time it took to release the first sequel. In April 2020, Jenkins said she had a story arc that would take in all four Wonder Woman films, including an Amazons film and then a third Wonder Woman film. In late June 2020, speaking to Heroic Hollywood about the third film's status, Jenkins revealed that she had stopped working on the story which she had been developing six months prior so she could see how to absorb the result of the COVID-19 pandemic into the story. In an interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast in December 2020, Jenkins stated that while she and Geoff Johns had already "beat out an entire story" for a third film, she now has doubts about whether she wants to make it with the world's current state, unsure if it will be her next film and if her feelings about it will change. When interviewed by MTV News about what she would want to see in a third film, Gal Gadot stated that she wants the third film to take place in the present, having no interest on revisiting the past as she feels that those time periods on Wonder Woman's life have been handled perfectly. The sequel was officially greenlit on December 27, 2020, with Jenkins and Gadot officially returning and Warner Bros. confirming that the film would have a traditional theatrical release as compared to Wonder Woman 1984.
In December 2019, director Patty Jenkins announced that a Wonder Woman spin-off film was in development, with the story focusing on the Amazons of Themyscira. Jenkins is attached as executive producer. By April 2020, Jenkins revealed that she will not direct the spin-off, though she will serve as producer. Later that year, the filmmaker stated that the spin-off will take place after Diana leaves Themyscira and that it will be linked to the events between Wonder Woman 1984 and the third Wonder Woman film.