Zack Snyder’s Justice League

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Action;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and some language.

Stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Connie Nielsen, Diane Lane, Harry Lennix, Billy Crudup, Willem Dafoe, Joe Morton, Kiersey Clemons, Jared Leto, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Manganiello, Peter Guinness, Ray Porter, Ciaran Hinds.

The 2017 theatrical version of Justice League foisted upon audiences was undoubtedly a compromised film, the result of a now infamous clash between creative vision and studio sensibilities.

Warner Bros., having been lapped in the superhero shared universe race several times over by rival Marvel, was looking to catch up quickly with its own DC Comics-based franchise. But the studio lost faith in director Zack Snyder, whose efforts in building the universe from the ground up — 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — were met with mixed reaction at best. The studio brought in Avengers director Joss Whedon to help “guide” Snyder in completing the third installment of his trilogy, Justice League, which would see Batman and Wonder Woman recruit additional superheroes to help fight an alien invasion.

Snyder, wary of the studio’s attempts to rein him in, ultimately left the film following the death of his daughter — to whom the new longer cut is dedicated.

Whedon, under a mandate to deliver a taut, two-hour action film, re-wrote Chris Terrio’s screenplay and oversaw extensive reshoots that it is clear now were intended to bridge story points between the action scenes that Snyder had shot. Whedon, known for infusing his projects with witty banter and offbeat humor, also added levity to Justice League to the point where it was much lighter in tone compared with the world established in Snyder’s earlier films. Whedon’s version ultimately did the job of telling the story it needed to, but didn’t satisfy many viewers who had bigger expectations based on what had come before.

And thus, the “Release the Snyder Cut” movement was born, fueled by rumors that the studio was sitting on a longer version of the film turned in by Snyder before he left. While Snyder had created a rough cut of the film before most of the visual effects were completed, the so-called “Snyder Cut” of Justice League was hardly in a state to be seen by the public, and thus its release was little more than a pipe dream without a studio willing to dedicate the resources to finish an alternate cut of a film it had already wrote off.

Then came the deep pockets of HBO Max, the new streaming service from Warner’s parent company, which had not only the deep pockets to finish the Snyder Cut, but also the desire to cash in on the hype surrounding it. The cost to complete Snyder’s version was reportedly north of $70 million (the 2017 theatrical release earned $657.9 million globally against a budget that ballooned to $300 million).

The obvious parallel here is with the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, but the Snyder Cut make that project seem like a lark.

Snyder’s four-hour director’s cut of Justice League plays like a completely different film, treating the story like the epic the theatrical version showed little interest in being.

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Now, admittedly, it’s unlikely that this version of the film, absent studio meddling, would have seen the inside of theaters back in the day either. For starters, a four-hour superhero movie based on Snyder’s take on the characters would have been a big ask of the audience, and he surely would have trimmed it to something in the range of two-and-a-half to three hours, just like he did with BvS (with the longer, better cut available on home video). Certainly, there are several scenes in Snyder’s Justice League that will give it a reputation for indulgence but could easily be cut for a theatrical release, but play better in a streaming format where binging serialized TV shows for six, seven, eight hours at a time (with breaks here and there) is commonplace.

Indeed, the original plan for Snyder’s Justice League was to present it as several episodes, like a TV show, but vagaries in Hollywood contract law supposedly led to the decision to deliver it as a single movie, albeit segmented into six succinctly labeled chapters and an epilogue.

Regardless, the film flows just fine even at four hours, and there is no confusion about what is happening or why the characters are motivated to do what they do. Snyder’s vision is to present the superheroes of today as the modern extension of the legends of old, drawing a direct line between classic mythology and their comic book counterparts.

The big beneficiary of all this is Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, who is given a fully fleshed out backstory that is barely touched upon in the theatrical cut, as well as a full character arc as he learns to accept and understand his powers.

Of course, if Warner had been patient enough to follow Marvel’s formula, Cyborg likely would have gotten his own origin movie before this, negating the need to devote so much screen time to it here. But that’s neither here nor there at this point.

The Snyder Cut is revelatory when compared with the Whedon Cut, which replaced a number of scenes with reshot versions that were similar but not as good, probably to add more of that Whedonesque humor. Fantastic scenes of endearing character interactions that would have added depth and meaning were removed entirely. Instead, Whedon added scenes showing a family imperiled by Steppenwolf’s plan who had to be saved by the League in the final battle. There’s no distracting family in the Snyder Cut, which instead takes the opportunity to foreshadow storylines that were intended for future sequels.

Another change Snyder made was reverting to the musical score by Tom Holkenborg, who continues the musical style established in Snyder’s previous entries. Whedon had replaced it with a more conventional but still serviceable score by Danny Elfman, who reused a number of more iconic themes for the characters from earlier franchises that played on audience nostalgia for the characters as a way to shortcut any development of them as specific to the Snyderverse.

Also, since he’s using his original footage and ignoring the reshoots, Snyder didn’t have to use digital effects to remove the mustache Henry Cavill couldn’t shave off while filming Mission: Impossible — Fallout, famously leading to his awkward-looking mouth in the 2017 version.

Another advantage Snyder’s cut has is that we’ve gotten to explore the DC universe a bit more since 2017, most notably with the 2018 Aquaman movie that really fleshed out Jason Momoa’s character and backstory, and gels nicely with his development here.

Snyder also took the opportunity to fix his presentation of the films’ villains. The CGI for the primary antagonist, Steppenwolf, has been reworked to be much more menacing and looks a lot better. Snyder also gives the audience a chance to see Darkseid, the legendary DC comics warlord who serves as Steppenwolf’s master and was reduced to just one mention of his name in Whedon’s cut.

Steppenwolf’s plan, as in the theatrical cut, is to collect the three “Mother Boxes” on Earth that when united will allow him to re-create Darkseid’s homeworld of Apokolips on Earth. The Mother Boxes were left behind when Darkseid’s first invasion of Earth was repelled thousands of years earlier, and thought lost until Superman’s death at the end of BvS caused them to reactivate, drawing Steppenwolf to them.

We also get an expansion of the nightmare future hinted at in BvS, in which Batman leads a rebellion against a Superman who has become a tyrant ruling over the wasteland Earth has become as a result of Darkseid’s invasion. This particularly impacts the scene of Superman’s resurrection, which plays very differently now that we have the expanded context behind it. Rather than Superman’s revival serving as another plot device in the battle against Steppenwolf, here it is re-framed as a complex ethical question about whether bringing Superman back to life in order to win the battle of today will ultimately lead to the very dystopia his resurrection is meant to prevent — and whether Batman’s desire to atone for his guilt over Superman’s death in BvS is blinding him to this potential outcome.

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Snyder presents his version in the 4:3 format most viewers will associate with the standard square ratio of classic non-widescreen TVs. That means vertical black bars to the right and left of the movie. While this might look odd to viewers accustomed to widescreen, Snyder’s framing actually presents more of the image as originally filmed. The square frame was chosen with Imax exhibitions in mind, since true Imax screens are higher than a typical theater. A standard “widescreen” print of the film is then made by cropping from the top and bottom of the picture. By eschewing this process, Snyder is instead offering us everything in the frame he shot.

Time will tell if we get any follow-ups to plot points developed in Snyder’s Cut that otherwise fell by the wayside in Warner’s DC universe. But even if we don’t the complete Snyder Cut on its own is a triumph of a filmmaker’s singular vision, and the story surrounding it a fascinating glimpse into the process of the Hollywood machine and the often-conflicting instincts of those in charge of it.

The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc versions offer the film spread over two discs. The first disc of both the 4K and regular Blu-ray versions contains the set’s lone extra: a 24-minute featurette of Snyder reflecting on his experience making his trilogy of superhero movies, and the fan effort to bring it to fruition with his vision of Justice League.

Also, the discs do not include a code for a digital copy of the film, so the digital version remains exclusive to HBO Max. The disc does include an insert with an ad touting HBO Max and the black-and-white version of the movie, Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Justice Is Gray.

Originally published as a streaming review March 18, 2021.

Wonder Woman 1984

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Action;
Box Office $46.1 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
$35.99 3D BD Warner Archive;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of action and violence.
Stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal.

The 2017 Wonder Woman movie is pretty commonly regarded as the best of the otherwise mediocre DC Comics shared movie universe. The sequel might have some fans wondering if the first one was a fluke.

Probably not. But while Wonder Woman 1984 unmistakably shares the DNA of the original, it certainly isn’t a retread.

Taking place in a stereotypical movie version of 1984, 65 years after the World War I setting of the first one, the film finds the ageless Diana (Gal Gadot) now working in the antiquities wing of the Smithsonian while going out as Wonder Woman on a lark to stop local crimes. One, a jewelry heist, uncovers a black market smuggling ring that brings Diana into contact with an ancient stone inscribed with the power to grant wishes by an ancient trickster god of lies (one who isn’t Loki, since he plays for the other team).

Diana’s wish is for the return of her lost love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), and sure enough he pops up in a way that raises some questions the movie isn’t interested in answering.

However, the stone attracts the attention of Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a con man selling shares in a phony oil company. He wants the power to wish himself into greatness, but as we are told in a flashback prologue set during Diana’s time as a young girl participating in the Amazonian sports of Themiscyra, “greatness is not what you think.”

Diana’s attempts to stop him put her at odds with a co-worker named Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a wallflower whose wish to be more like Diana inadvertently imbues her with superpowers she’s now unwilling to give up on her path to becoming the supervillain Cheetah. However, tying such a seminal Wonder Woman villain’s origins to this story almost seems like a waste.

On the flip side, Diana discovers the price of her wish is the gradual decline of her own abilities, and as the wishing power spreads, plunging the world into chaos, she is forced to make the difficult decision most movie superheroes have to make at some point: love or duty.

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The film is visually dazzling and offers some moments that will make any superhero movie fan smile, and Wonder Woman fans in particular. For example, the film finds a neat way to work in the invisible jet that isn’t just a transparent plastic model with a doll in it.

But the film runs a bit long at two-and-a-half hours, and the over-reliance on wishes as the central plot device gets rather tedious after a while.

Even in a universe where magic is already established — Diana is the daughter of the Greek god Zeus, after all — the presentation of the wishes being granted just seems a step beyond the plausible since the movie only pays the slightest lip-service to how they are supposed to work. In a screenplay underlined by progressive misunderstandings of Reagan-era politics, the wishes serve whatever basic story points the writers require, and stand up to little scrutiny beyond that.

Which is all a means of saying the individual elements of the story as assembled don’t quite result in a completely satisfying whole. The two-villain team up is practically a superhero sequel tradition at this point, even when their pairing doesn’t seem to make sense. Tonally this type of plot wouldn’t seem too out of place in the 1970s “Wonder Woman” TV show (which, fittingly, is teased in the Blu-ray bonus materials).

The 1980s setting would seem to suggest the story is intended as a screed against the kind of selfishness and greed that are often attributed to the ’80s but are pretty universally present in any time period. But, really, the film’s message of honest work over shortcuts to achievement, and not expecting everything you want to just be handed to you, is an easy one to embrace.

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Since we’ve seen present-day Diana in Batman v Superman and Justice League, a sequel set before those films could have been a story about what brought her back to dabble in superheroism before retreating from humanity’s problems again before BvS. As it stands, WW84 doesn’t necessarily knock against the established DC movie timeline per se, but the two “Wonder Woman” movies definitely stand on their own apart from the greater franchise.

It’s especially hard to reconcile the plot of WW84 with the 2017 Justice League team-up movie, particularly the theatrical cut. It fits in a bit more with Zack Snyder’s Justice League director’s cut, but not by much. (One can only imagine what a teenage Bruce Wayne would have wished for.)

While some of its logical issues are hard to ignore, Wonder Woman 1984 does play better on multiple viewings, mostly because it’s easy enough with Blu-ray and digital copies to just go to the few good scenes. And really, whatever problems the movie has are almost an afterthought to the pure joy of a mid-credits cameo that should serve as the basis of a third film.

Wonder Woman 1984 played in theaters and streamed on HBO Max through Jan. 24, after which it was available exclusively in theaters until hitting PVOD a month before its traditional home video run.

The Blu-ray edition of Warner’s latest “Wonder Woman” adventure includes more than 90 minutes of bonus materials, consisting of a number of detailed behind-the-scenes featurettes and a few fun extras for the fans.

The best is the aforementioned 1970s tie-in, presenting footage from WW84 in the style of the 1970s “Wonder Woman” TV series, complete with the original theme song and animated transitions — and it’s also the first time we get to see Gadot do the classic “Wonder Woman spin.”

Among the other amusing extras are a six-and-a-half-minute gag reel and the raw minute-and-a-half footage from Max Lord’s in-movie “Black Gold” infomercial.

A couple more focus on the teaming of Gadot and Wiig: There’s a five-minute video about them starring together, which leads to a minute-long clip of the pair goofing around on set in the form of a “Saturday Night Live”-style video sketch (no doubt Wiig’s comedy background contributed to this one).

The primary making-of documentary runs 36 minutes and gives a good overview of the production. Tying into this are two “Scene Study” featurettes: a five-minute video focused on the opening mall rescue scene and six-minutes exploring the Middle East truck chase. The most notable aspect to these videos is how dedicated the crew was to re-creating the 1980s — building out several levels of a vintage mall with fully stocked stores, and using old-school practical stunt-work with a minimal reliance on CGI.

The rest of the footage deals with the making of the scenes at the amazonian island. There’s a 21-minute “Meet the Amazons” virtual panel from DC Fandome featuring discussions with director Patty Jenkins and a number of the women and stunt performers who played Amazonian warriors participating in the elaborate games sequences that open the film. Rounding out the presentation is an 11-minute profile of actress Lilly Aspell, who reprises her role as the pre-teen Diana from the 2017 film. The featurette includes some cute audition footage of the enthusiastic Aspell from 2015, showing off how well she makes for a younger version of Gadot.

Originally published as a streaming review Dec. 28, 2020.

‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘Promising Young Woman’ Top Slate of New Digital, Disc Releases Available March 16

Wonder Woman 1984, Promising Young Woman, Songbird and Don’t Tell a Soul top the slate of new releases available for home viewing March 16.

Wonder Woman 1984, which was supposed to be one of last summer’s big theatrical tentpoles, instead became the poster child for the multi-platform release strategy triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The superhero film, starring Gal Gadot, was famously released to theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service on Christmas Day, followed by a  48-hour premium VOD rental window last month.

Now, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing the film through normal digital retail channels on March 16, two weeks ahead of its debut on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray.

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Promising Young Woman becomes available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and on demand March 16, after an initial release for digital purchase. The Universal Pictures film, nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and five Oscars, stars Carey Mulligan as Cassie, whose promising future was derailed by a mysterious event. Wickedly smart and tantalizingly cunning, she’s now living a secret double life by night — and is eager to avenge the wrongs of the past.

Also making its Blu-ray Disc and DVD debut on March 16 is another Universal Pictures film, Songbird, a sci-fi thriller directed by Adam Mason (Into the Dark) and starring K.J. Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Walter Hauser and Demi Moore.

In the film, a devastating pandemic ravages the world and the United States is in its fourth year of lockdown. Infected Americans are ripped from their homes and forced into quarantine camps known as Q-Zones from which there is no escape, as a few brave souls fight back against the forces of oppression. Amid this dystopian landscape, a fearless courier, Nico (Apa), who’s immune to the deadly pathogen, finds hope and love with Sara (Carson), though her lockdown prohibits them from physical contact. When Sara is believed to have become infected, Nico races desperately across the barren streets of Los Angeles in search of the only thing that can save her from imprisonment or worse.

Don’t Tell a Soul, from Lionsgate, arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 16. Already available on demand and through digital retailers, the dramatic thriller stars Rainn Wilson, Fionn Whitehead, Jack Dylan and Mena Suvari. While stealing money to help their sick mother (Suvari), teen brothers Matt and Joey (Whitehead and Grazer) are surprised by Hamby (Wilson), a security officer who gives chase and is then trapped in a well. Over the next few days, Joey and Hamby forge an uneasy relationship. Hamby tells Joey he’ll keep quiet if Joey sets him free. But Hamby holds another secret, one that will threaten Joey and his family in this twist-filled, cat-and-mouse thriller.

Other new March releases of note include the werewolf horror film I Am Lisa, from Mill Creek, available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and VOD; Shout! Factory Steelbook Blu-ray editions of Japanese anime classics Whisper of the Heart (1995) and The Cat Returns (2002); and Warner Archive Blu-ray Discs of Damn Yankees; Driving Miss Daisy; What’s Up, Doc; and Crossfire.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Warner Sets Dates for ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ PVOD, Digital Sellthrough and Disc Release

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will bow Wonder Woman 1984 as a 48-hour premium VOD rental for $19.99 starting Feb. 12, prior to making the superhero sequel available through digital retailers March 16, and on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray March 30.

The film was famously released Christmas Day concurrently in theaters and on streaming service HBO Max, the first in WarnerMedia’s pandemic strategy for its entire theatrical slate through 2021. It earned $40.3 million at the domestic box office while also being available to watch at home by HBO Max subscribers for a month.

For the first time, Warner is creating a PVOD window after the streaming release of a first-run film, perhaps indicating a change in release strategy.

Directed by Patty Jenkins, the follow-up to 2017’s Wonder Woman sees Gal Gadot returning to the title role, updating the setting from World War I Europe to Washington D.C. in the mid 1980s. The latest adventure finds the Amazonian heroine battling a megalomaniacal businessman (Pedro Pascal) who comes into possession of a magical stone that grants wishes. As the world descends into chaos as a result, she must also deal with a co-worker (Kristen Wiig) who becomes the villainous Cheetah, as well as the return of her long-dead boyfriend, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

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The Blu-ray and 4K combo packs will include the featurettes “The Making of Wonder Woman 1984: Expanding the Wonder,” “Gal & Kristen: Friends Forever,” “Small But Mighty,” “Gal & Krissy Having Fun” and “Meet the Amazons,” as well as “Scene Study: The Open Road” and “Scene Study: The Mall.” Other extras include a gag reel, the Black Gold Infomercial seen in the film, and a “Wonder Woman 1984 Retro Remix.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Wonder Woman 1984 will feature DolbyVision HDR, which dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame, as well as HDR10+, a new HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience. It will also feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

 

Warner Bros. Pictures Fast-Tracks Development on ‘Wonder Woman 3’

On the heels of a pandemic-record weekend box office for Wonder Woman 1984, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that it would fast-track development on the third installment of the “Wonder Woman” franchise to be written by Patty Jenkins, who is also attached to direct, and starring Gal Gadot.

Wonder Woman 1984 easily conquered the holiday weekend, exceeding box office projections as the top post-pandemic domestic opening weekend for any feature film this year, with $16.7 million in box office. Wonder Woman 1984 took in an estimated $36.1 million globally from 42 markets in release this weekend (including U.S. and Canada). This takes the international running total to $68.3 million, and the worldwide tally to $85 million.

“As fans around the world continue to embrace [returning to the theater], driving the strong opening weekend performance of Wonder Woman 1984, we are excited to be able continue her story with our real life Wonder Women — Gal and Patty — who will return to conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy,” Toby Emmerich, chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement.

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Private watch parties and large-format screens (Imax, Dolby, PLF) drove ticket sales and were the most popular option among consumers. Over the weekend, over 10,000 private rentals were booked, an innovative and popular way for audiences to feel comfortable watching the film in their own social bubbles. In the U.S., only 39% of U.S. cinemas (representing 56% of the box office) are currently open at limited capacity, with closures in top markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphia, among others. WW84 is playing in more than 2,100 theaters nationwide with limited capacity. This represents about half of the locations and, in these theaters, half of the available seating compared to a pre-pandemic environment. The first Wonder Woman film was available at 4,165 theaters in 2017 at 100% seating. In Canada, only 5% of theaters (representing 3% of the total Canadian box-office) are open. The Canadian theatrical market was supplemented with a PVOD day and date release which yielded an additional estimated $4 million. 40 markets internationally opened Wonder Woman 1984  in the first two weeks representing 68% of total box office, compared to 2017 with 58 markets representing 77% of total box office for Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman 1984 was released via a unique, consumer-focused distribution model in which Warner Bros. exhibited the film theatrically worldwide, while adding an exclusive one-month access period on the HBO Max streaming platform in the U.S. concurrent with the film’s domestic release. This hybrid model was created as a strategic response to the impact of the ongoing global pandemic, particularly in the U.S. Following the one-month HBO Max access period domestically, Wonder Woman 1984 will leave the platform and continue theatrically in the U.S. and international territories, with all customary distribution windows applying to the title.

The film was released in theaters internationally beginning Dec. 16, and in the U.S. in theaters and on Max on Dec. 25.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to Bow on HBO Max Simultaneously With Dec. 25 Theatrical Release

In an unprecedented move for a major tentpole title, Warner Bros.’s highly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 will debut in theaters and on streaming service HBO Max on the very same day, Dec. 25.

After a series of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, Warner Bros. had finally set Wonder Woman 1984 for a Christmas Day theatrical release. Following tepid box office response to Warner’s Tenet over the summer, and with a surge in coronavirus cases nationwide, industry observers had been speculating whether Warner would again push back the release of the big-budget comic book blockbuster into 2021, as many other studios have done with their tentpole titles.

Instead, Warner on Nov. 18 announced that instead of moving Wonder Woman 1984 off its theatrical date, it would instead release the film on HBO Max as well.

HBO Max subscribers in the United States will be able to access the film for a month with no additional cost to the $14.99 monthly fee (HBO Max offers a seven-day free trial for new members). International markets without HBO Max access, the film will open Dec. 16.

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A sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, which grossed $821.8 million worldwide, the follow-up reunites director Patty Jenkins with star Gal Gadot and moves the setting from World War I to 1980s America, where the DC Comics heroine confronts the challenges of the Cold War. The budget of the sequel is estimated at around $200 million.

Apple TV+ to Bow ‘Hedy Lamarr’ Starring Gal Gadot

“Hedy Lamarr,” an eight-episode limited series starring and executive produced by Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman” franchise), will premiere globally on Apple TV+.

The series is written and executive produced by Golden Globe Award winner Sarah Treem (“The Affair,” “House of Cards,” “In Treatment”).

Hailed as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Hedy Lamarr was first exalted and iconized, then destroyed and eventually forgotten by American audiences, all the while keeping her brilliant mind active through a series of inventions, one of which became the basis for the spread spectrum technology used today. The series will follow the life story of the Hollywood glamour girl, spanning 30 years from Hedy’s escape from prewar Vienna, to her meteoric rise in the Golden Age of Hollywood, to her fall and eventual disgrace at the dawn of the Cold War.

The notion for the historical drama originated from Gadot and producing partner Jaron Varsano (“My Dearest Fidel”), who then partnered with Emmy and BAFTA Award winner Warren Littlefield (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Treem, the latter of whom created the series, according to an Apple release.

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In addition to Gadot and Treem, “Hedy Lamarr” will be executive produced by Littlefield and Katie Robbins (“The Affair”). Gadot and Varsano will produce through their production company, Pilot Wave. Adam Haggiag (Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story) and Alexandra Dean (Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story) will serve as co-producers, with Hedy Lamarr’s children Anthony Loder and Denise Deluca consulting on the series.

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Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. The Apple TV app will be available on Sony and VIZIO smart TVs later this year, according to the release.

Warner Rolls Out New ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Poster

With the planned June 5 theatrical launch of Wonder Woman 1984 delayed to Aug. 14, Warner Bros. has updated the movie poster and also is issuing an animated digital poster.

In a social media post, the movie’s star, Gal Gadot, said she is looking forward to a brighter future for people, society and the power of cinema.

“In these dark and scary times, I am looking forward to a brighter future ahead,” Gadot tweeted. “Where we can share the power of cinema together again. Excited to re-date our WW84 film to August 14, 2020. I hope everyone is safe. Sending my love to you all.”

In a separate tweet, the film’s director, Patty Jenkins, reiterated the studio’s support for a theatrical debut rather than offloading the title to retail channels, including transactional VOD and SVOD.

“Wonder Woman 1984 was made for the big screen and I believe in the power of cinema. In these terrible times, when theater owners are struggling as so many are, we are excited to re-date our film … in a theater near you, and pray for better times for all by then.”

The new Wonder Woman poster (courtesy Warner Bros.)

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Theatrical Release Delayed to August

Warner Bros.’ tentpole title Wonder Woman 1984 has had its theatrical release pushed back from June 5 to Aug. 14, the studio disclosed on March 25.

With theaters shuttered and interest in home entertainment spiking due to quarantine measures taken to thwart the spread of the coronavirus, the sequel to the 2017 box office and home entertainment hit Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot, had been speculated as a possible marquee title when WarnerMedia launches the HBO Max streaming service in May.

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But studio executives pushed back on idea considering the film’s reported $200 million production budget and high-profile traction among moviegoers.

“When we greenlit [Wonder Woman 1984] it was with every intention to be viewed on the big screen and are excited to announce that Warner Bros. Pictures will be bringing the film to theaters on Aug. 14th,”  Toby Emmerich,  Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group chairman, said in a statement. “We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then.”

Warner, which has released several theatrical titles early into retail channels, said it was also delaying the theatrical releases of Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights, animated feature Scoob!, and horror movie Malignant from their original box office debuts.

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Warner Bros.’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Still Going to Theaters, Not Streaming — For Now

Warner Bros. remains on schedule to release summer tentpole title Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters June 4. The sequel to 2017 box office and home entertainment blockbuster Wonder Woman again stars Gal Gadot in the title role, along with co-stars Chris Pine, Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen. Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal are newcomers in the sequel.

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With Warner accelerating home entertainment releases for a number of theatrical titles due to coronavirus fears shuttering theaters worldwide, scuttlebutt suggested the studio would deliver Wonder Woman straight to retail channels and/or WarnerMedia Entertainment’s pending SVOD service, HBO Max.

But that scenario, thus far, seems remote, according to media reports citing people familiar with the situation.

Warner confirmed to several media sources the movie remains earmarked for the traditional 90-day theatrical window. The 2017 movie generated more than $820 million at the global box office.

“We’re looking to release the movie theatrically, that’s our plan,” Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution, told The Wrap.

The movie’s producer, Charles Roven, in a separate interview, said it was “ludicrous” to consider shipping Wonder Woman 1984 straight to over-the-top distribution.

“Everybody recognizes that, as interesting as streaming might be, if you want a huge, global worldwide box office, you’ve got to release it in a movie theater,” Roven said.

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With a reported $200 million production budget, taking the movie directly to SVOD would significantly undermine the title’s return-on-investment. Offering the sequel directly to transactional VOD and packaged media would require significant unit sales that did not materialize for Wonder Woman.

Lightshed Partners analyst Richard Greenfield suggests that replacing the gross profit from a $1 billion theatrical release would require upwards of 21 million transactional VOD units sold at $30 each — the price point of the short-lived premium VOD distribution business model.

In addition, bypassing theatrical for a movie like Wonder Woman could permanently undermine the theatrical window — a scenario the National Association of Theatre Owners has no interest exploring.

The trade group said such a move ignores the underlying financial “logic” of studio investment in theatrical titles. To avoid catastrophic losses to the studios, NATO said big-budget titles must have the fullest possible theatrical release around the world.

“While one or two releases may forgo theatrical release, it is our understanding from discussions with distributors that the vast majority of deferred releases will be rescheduled for theatrical release as life returns to normal,” NATO said in a statement.