Once upon a time the theatrical window was considered sacred, but that’s been slowly changing for years thanks to the advent of on-demand and streaming. And the process of eliminating that once-sacred window has of course accelerated recently thanks to the theater closings brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Already, Universal has taken the step of dropping The Hunt, The Invisible Man and Emma early as COVID-19 related closings prematurely end their theatrical runs. WB is now following suit by releasing the relative box office disappointment Birds of Prey as well as the Ben Affleck drama The Way Back on digital much sooner than they had originally planned.
And now, Warners is reportedly considering the even more drastic step of releasing their planned summer blockbuster event film Wonder Woman 1984 online as concerns grow that theaters will not be ready to open by the movie’s June release date.
Joker Almost Do the Same Fashion
In their article on Wonder Woman 1984 possibly being launched online instead of in theaters, The Wrap revealed that last year WB actually considered an online release for one of their other recent big movies, but for very different reasons.
According to The Wrap’s source, the studio at one point considered releasing Joker online instead of putting it out in theaters, out of fear that backlash would hamper the film’s box office. Of course, Joker went on to be a massive success with over $1 billion in worldwide grosses.
Worries about negative reaction to Joker broke out largely because of the movie’s subject matter, which concerns a man named Arthur Fleck who takes one beating too many from a cruel society and transforms into a vigilante in clown makeup who goes on to become a media star and unintentional hero to the disaffected.
Given recent mass violence incidents, some believed the violent R-rated film would end up encouraging loner types with guns to take to the streets, and perhaps even shoot up theaters where the film was being shown.
Some pointed to the infamous James Holmes Dark Knight Rises shooting in Colorado as an example of the real life mayhem that might ensue should Joker be released theatrically.
Conversely, A Successful Box-Office
However, no violence resulted from Joker being released, and indeed the supposed backlash over the movie quite frankly was more of a media-driven thing than anything that reflected public perception of the film.
Clearly though, some people at Warners bought into the idea that Joker might cause an outbreak of violence or at the very least was not a tasteful film to put out amid concerns over mass shootings. Luckily for the studio, they stuck to their guns and put Joker in theaters, and the result was a lot of money in the till.
So now, what do you think about this guys?