Wonder Woman 1984 Beats Monster Hunter
On Christmas Day, Warner Bros. released Wonder Woman 1984 both in US cinemas and on the streaming site HBO Max. This was the first release in WarnerMedia’s new and controversial hybrid distribution model. And it turned out to be quite a success – at least by COVID-19 standards, that is. According to Box Office Mojo, Wonder Woman 1984 earned approximately $16,7 million in cinemas in its first weekend. At the same time, according to the CEO of Warner Media Toby Emmerich, the film was seen by “nearly half” of 12.6 million active users of HBO Max. The film came out overseas a week earlier. At the time of this writing, Wonder Woman 1984 earned $68,700,000 overseas, bringing the total worldwide gross up to $85,4 million.
In the second place at the last weekend’s box office is the western drama News of the World, starring Tom Hanks as a grizzled veteran traveling the Wild West in the years after the American Civil War. Directed by Paul Greengrass (Bourne trilogy), News of the World grossed about 2,2 million in its inaugural weekend. Family adventure The Croods: A New Age is currently in third place with $1,7 million and a total domestic gross of $30,4 million. After premiering in the number one spot, Thomas W. C. Anderson’s sci-fi adventure Monster Hunter dropped three places last weekend. It is now in fourth place with $1,1 million and a total domestic gross of $4,2 million. In the fifth place is the final newcomer of the week – a darkly humorous thriller Promising Young Woman with $719,305.
Walter Hamada Hints at Ambitious DC Movies Schedule
In his recent talk with The New York Times, the president of DC Films Walter Hamada described the studio’s plans for superhero movies. And, at least according to him, they’re certainly something. Hamada says the studio plans to release up to four superhero films in cinemas every year, with up to two more released directly on HBO Max. On top of that, DC Films would develop new superhero TV shows for streaming.
Any other year, these plans would have seemed ambitious. But in the year of the COVID-19, they sound like a pipe dream. Since March, we have been reporting on the ways the pandemic disturbed the entertainment industry like halted productions, postponed releases, and cinemas facing bankruptcy. WarnerMedia also angered plenty of people – from directors to movie theater owners – with a plan to release its slate of 2021 titles both in cinemas and on streaming at the same time.
But you know who might be benefiting from WarnerMedia’s decisions? Sony. The Verge reports Sony CEO Tony Vinciquerra has been bragging about “talent” – meaning actors, directors, and such – contacting the studio in hopes of working with someone who won’t throw movie-going experience under the bus of digital streaming. There are concrete financial reasons for this – many actors and filmmakers collect more money depending on how well their film does at the box office. But streaming puts those same people in uncharted waters. Streaming services are also notoriously secretive about their viewing numbers, let alone how much money a program made. Of course, Vinciquerra may only be hyping his studio, just like Hamada.
Most TV and Film Productions Halted Until Mid-January Due to COVID-19 Surge
And speaking of the ever-present COVID-19, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is urging movie, music and TV productions to consider halting their work for several weeks in hopes of reducing the possible spread of the virus. According to SlashFilm, officials sent out an e-mail on December 23, imploring people to stop on-site production work for several weeks in hopes of slowing down the pandemic. This came after California became the first US state to reach a grim milestone of over two million COVID-19 cases.
Yesterday the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) responded. The Organization’s president Gabrielle Carteris and the national executive director David White said in their letter:
“Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later. This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.”
The letter continues, saying that the organization remains in contact with other unions and guilds as well as with epidemiologists, public health officials, and other sanitation specialists. Their intent is for the work to resume in the safest possible environment.