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Warner Bros. uses Wonder Woman 1984 to push HBO Max, but what happens in countries where the streaming service (or equivalent partner) is simply not an option? Apparently, early rentals. Deadline and Variety confirmed WW84 will be available for 48-hour digital rentals in the UK and Ireland on January 13th, just under a month after the superhero’s debut in the country on December 16th. Notably, the film will still be in theatres past that date—those still open during the COVID-19 pandemic, anyway.
The studio did not say which services would carry Wonder Woman in 1984, although it should be available through multiple outlets. Possible major options include Amazon Prime Video, Apple’s TV app, Google Play, and UK-specific outlets such as BT TV and TalkTalk TV. It’s also uncertain whether other movies will follow this route, although it’s possible when Warner Bros said all of his 2021 movies would debut on HBO Max in the US.
Deadline understood that Warner Bros. had reached an agreement with the UK theatre chains to shorten the theatre window from its usual 16 weeks to just four. It’s not a permanent deal, and it would simply reflect the reality of the pandemic. Only 150 of the UK’s movie theatres are both open and play WW84, and this is unlikely to get much better in the next few months.
It’s not a totally unexpected move when other movie giants have moved titles to streaming services or rentals during the pandemic. Still, it is significant that Warner Bros. is making one of his blockbusters available for rent so quickly. This also underscores the limitations of WarnerMedia’s huge HBO Max bet. When a service is only available in one country, any attempt to base a strategy around it is bound to lead to some embarrassing compromises in other parts of the world.