As if the whole pandemic thing wasn't enough, COVID-19 went even further this year by all but decimating the moviemaking industry. As a result, the already devastating effects of the pandemic couldn't be mitigated by a stream of new releases, thanks to movie theater closures and studios' reluctance to release their big-budget projects directly to streaming services. Against all odds, however, 2020 is ending on a (desperately needed) high note for movie buffs in quarantine: Warner Bros. making the paradigm-shifting decision to debut its next year's slate of films simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.
First up on that list is Wonder Woman 1984, which will arrive in theaters of both the home and cineplex varieties on December 25. The superhero movie, a sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman set—would you believe it—in 1984, was scheduled to premiere in early June, but due to the onset of the pandemic was delayed, first to August and then to October, before landing on a Christmas Day release.
Though countless other films have continued pushing their release dates to 2021 and beyond, WW84 director Patty Jenkins recently explained what finally convinced her to give up on what, in any other year, surely would have been a massive theatrical release. "There was no good option," she said, per Deadline, "[but] I literally gasped a little bit when the pitch for this idea was said, because I was like, 'Oh, the idea of it going into people's homes on Christmas Day.'" In such a "crazy year," Jenkins said, more important than being a box office success was this newfound goal to "just try to reach people however they can see it."
That's good news for us all, because now, we'll be able to watch WW84 from the comfort (and safety) of our own couches beginning on December 25. Here's how.
How can I stream Wonder Woman 1984?
You will, of course, need an HBO Max login to stream the superhero sequel. If you don't already subscribe or mooch off someone who does, you can sign up for $14.99 a month. The streamer is currently offering a discounted rate if you pay for your first six months upfront; at $69.99 for half a year, that brings your monthly rate down to about $11.67. Those who already feel overwhelmed by the multitude of streaming options out there can add HBO Max onto their existing Hulu or Amazon Prime accounts for the $14.99/month rate.
Once you've subscribed, you'll be able to watch and rewatch WW84 to your heart's content beginning on Dec. 25—but only for the ensuing 31 days. (This restriction holds true for all of the WB new releases coming to HBO Max in the next year, including In the Heights, The Suicide Squad, and The Matrix 4.)
Can I stream Wonder Woman 1984 for free?
Unfortunately for those who like to game the streaming ecosystem by strategically signing up for free trials of various services on an as-needed basis, HBO Max recently removed its weeklong free trial just in time for WW84's release, just as Disney+ did before its own major Hamilton release over the summer.
Instead, you'll have to decide whether a month's worth of unfettered access to the Wonder Woman sequel for $15 is worth it for you, and then if that price remains worth it throughout Warner Bros.' year of straight-to-HBO releases. Bear in mind that, between those releases, you'll also have access to HBO Max's gigantic library of TV shows and movies, including Friends, Euphoria, and Selena + Chef (the best show of 2020—trust me).
If the price just isn't worth it to you—completely understandable, since it's one of the priciest streamers by far—you'll have the option sometime next spring to subscribe to a cheaper, ad-supported HBO Max plan.
Will the HBO Max version of WW84 have any special features?
Not really, unless you count staying in the comfort of your own home and having the ability to pause and take bathroom breaks as needed (so, yes). That said, the home version of WW84 will be exactly like the theatrical release in all the best ways, meaning it will be available in the super high-quality 4K Ultra HD, HDR 10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos technologies. It will also include a post-credits scene that is so top-secret it reportedly wasn't made available to reviewers. Another home-viewing bonus: You'll be able to fast-forward through the credits to get to that scene instead of awkwardly loitering in a theater for an extra 10 minutes.