The director of Wonder Woman 1984 has stated her support for the sanctity of the cinematic experience, as her film is released amid a fierce debate over the threat streaming poses to theatres.
Warner Bros, one of Hollywood’s biggest studios, shook the industry earlier this month after announcing its entire slate of 2021 films would arrive on HBO Max in the US at the same time as in cinemas.
It had previously said Wonder Woman 1984, the superhero movie starring Gal Gadot, would do the same in a response to the pandemic closing theatres. The film will have a full theatrical release in the UK, where the HBO Max streaming service is not available.
Warner Bros’ statement drew the ire of A-list filmmakers including Tenet director Christopher Nolan and Dune’s Denis Villeneuve.
Now, Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins has said while she is supportive of the decision to stream her movie after multiple pandemic-enforced delays, long-term she is a firm believer in the cinematic experience.
She told the PA news agency: “I’m very wedded to the theatrical release model unless there’s a new way we can find that really protects the in-theatre experience.
“It was a very hard choice for us to figure out how to release this film. I myself am so surprised that I embraced this plan so much but it just was the right time, we’d waited long enough.
“I’m so excited this is a new way to release a film, everybody in the world is trying to adjust to these crazy circumstances but I really hope we respect what we have in the theatrical industry going forward.
“We may discover all kinds of new and interesting things for different projects but I do very much believe in the right films going just to theatres and having fans see it the way you made the film to be seen first.”
Wonder Woman 1984 is a sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, a critical and commercial success which grossed more than 821 million dollars (£615 million) at the global box office.
As well as Gadot, the film, set during the Cold War, also stars Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal and Robin Wright.
Israeli actress Gadot, 35, described returning to the film as like a homecoming.
She told PA: “I love this character, this character is like my baby. It’s the most important project. Wonder Woman is everything for me so it felt great.
“And coming back and shooting the next one with Jenkins and with our amazing cast and crew, it just felt like I was coming back home.”
Wonder Woman 1984 will be released in UK cinemas on December 16.