Following the Christmas Day release of Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and on HBO Max, Warner Bros. has announced that Wonder Woman 3 is officially coming, whether we like it or not. Additionally, DC Films has outlined an ambitious plan to release up to six movies per year between theaters and the streaming service.
The latest 1980s-set installment of the Gal Gadot-led superhero franchise has performed well so far. Screen Rant reports that WW 1984 scored the best opening weekend box office numbers since the coronavirus pandemic began, despite a lukewarm reception from critics.
A 65 percent Rotten Tomatoes score is accompanied by a critical consensus reading, "Wonder Woman 1984 struggles with sequel overload, but still offers enough vibrant escapism to satisfy fans of the franchise and its classic central character." The audience score is better at 73 percent.
While the streaming/theatrical release made WW 1984 more accessible, it wasn't universally accepted. IndieWire condemned the strategy as a "kick in the teeth" to audiences, and respected filmmaker Christopher Nolan previously ripped the Warners' larger overall decision to deliver movies straight to HBO Max.
“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” Nolan said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
That backlash likely influenced Warner Bros.' decision to deliver Wonder Woman 3 in a traditional theatrical format. However, the final movie in the superhero trilogy is likely years away from release, as director Patty Jenkins is committed to helm Star Wars: Rogue Squadron before WW3, per Screen Rant.
There is an even bigger development for DC movie fans. In a recent interview with the New York Times, DC Films President Walter Hamada stated that up to four of the "most expensive" movies to make could be released in theaters each year. According to CBR.com, DC Films and WarnerMedia also plan to put out out an additional two movies per year as HBO Max exclusives.“With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?’” Hamada said.
The Batman, The Flash and Aquaman 2 are the three DC movies currently slated for a 2022 release, followed by Shazam! Fury of the Gods in 2023 and an unscheduled Black Adam.