Patty Jenkins Warns Theater Shutdowns ‘Will Not Be a Reversible Process’

One of the major moviegoing casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic has been Patty Jenkins’ upcoming DC tentpole “Wonder Woman 1984.” The sequel starring Gal Gadot as the title superhero has been shuffled four times on the release calendar by Warner Bros. due to the global situation, but the movie is now expected to open as a Christmas Day release on December 25, 2020. It was originally set to open June 5, then August 14, then October 2.

Meanwhile, Cineworld-owned Regal venues have shuttered their doors around the world once again, and significant markets like New York and Los Angeles remain closed to audiences. In a recent interview with Reuters, “Wonder Woman 1984” director Jenkins warned that the damage done by theaters shutting down entirely will be difficult to undo, and Jenkins is joining the chorus of Hollywood directors appealing to the U.S. government to help save cinemas.

“If we shut this down, this will not be a reversible process,” she said. “We could lose movie theater-going forever.”

Though nearly three-quarters of U.S. theaters are open, and “Tenet” resuscitated the global box office with healthy returns to the tune of more than $307 million, studios like Warner Bros. are continuing to push their movies off into next year, from “Dune” to MGM/United Artists’ “No Time to Die.”

“It could be the kind of thing that happened to the music industry, where you could crumble the entire industry by making it something that can’t be profitable,” Jenkins said. She also added, “I don’t think any of us want to live in a world where the only option is to take your kids to watch a movie in your own living room, and not have a place to go for a date.”

Another movie heading the straight-to-VOD route is Disney/Pixar’s “Soul,” pushed off its November release and debuting on Disney+ on December 25. But Jenkins and Warner Bros. continue to insist that VOD play is not being considered for “Wonder Woman 1984.”

“I really hope that we are able to be one of the very first ones to come back and bring that into everyone’s life,” she said of the movie’s role in hopefully jumpstarting moviegoing again this winter.

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