Depending on what happens with Christopher Nolan's sci-fi film Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984 could end up being delayed from its August release date to the end of 2020. The Wonder Woman sequel was originally scheduled to open in November 2019, but was later pushed back to June 2020 to give director Patty Jenkins and her team the time they needed to finish post-production without rushing.
After it became obvious the film would have to move again due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns in March, it was reported Warner Bros. was giving serious thought to sending Wonder Woman 1984 directly to PVOD. However, the studio was quick to shoot the idea down and subsequently rescheduled the film to arrive on August 14. In the weeks that've followed, they've only doubled-down on their commitment to releasing both Tenet and the Wonder Woman sequel in theaters before making them available on the home viewing market.
Throughout the lockdowns, Tenet has been the rare Summer 2020 tentpole to hold onto its original release date on July 17, in the hope of becoming the first major movie to welcome audiences back after theaters reopen. But as July inches closer and closer, it's still unclear if theaters are going to be up and running in large enough numbers for Tenet to do that. And according to Deadline, if the film moves, theater owners are expecting Wonder Woman 1984 to shift out of August and over to December 2020, with Tenet (maybe) taking its most recent spot.
Due to its high price tag (Tenet is estimated to cost $200 million, even without marketing), Deadline says WB needs a minimum of 80% of the world's theaters to be open to justify keeping the film on July 17. That includes major markets like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, which are typically responsible for 25% of a movie's opening weekend between them. But with L.A. County potentially staying on lock-down through to the end of July, that might not be possible. The site's sources are also dismissive of recent reports suggesting Tenet and Mulan could still be profitable screening with reduced audience capacities, which raises all the more doubts about Tenet's ability to open in either July or August.
This lends further support to a separate report claiming if Tenet is delayed, there won't be any new movies opening until Christmas. Studios are (understandably) anxious about releasing their biggest movies in light of all this uncertainty, so it's not hard to imagine Tenet's delay having a domino effect similar to what happened in March, when No Time to Die moved back to November and kicked off a massive wave of release date delays in the weeks that followed. Shifting to the winter holidays could also be to Wonder Woman 1984's advantage since there's no Star Wars film arriving this year and the DCEU's performed strongly in December before (namely, when Aquaman premiered in 2018). No doubt, WB will be taking this under consideration as it prepares to make its final decision by the end of the month.