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Wonder Woman 1984 delayed due to coronavirus pandemic

The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn't the only superhero universe feeling the heat from the current global pandemic.

The ongoing public health crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has hit the entertainment industry especially hard. Increasingly draconian social distancing measures are tanking box office receipts and disbanding production crews all across the globe, with the list of projects delayed or otherwise affected by the spread of the virus seeming to grow every day. No project appears to be safe — and that includes one DC movie featuring a super-powered Amazon with a Lasso of Truth. 

As reported by Variety, Wonder Woman 1984 is the latest big-budget victim of COVID-19. Warner Bros. confirmed on March 24 that the return of Gal Gadot's Diana Prince has been pushed from its original release date of June 5 to August 14. A new thriller entitled Malignant, from Aquaman director James Wan, will be bumped from its August 14 release date to accommodate the move. 

Although perhaps one of the most high-profile delays that has resulted from the spread of the coronavirus, the sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman wasn't Warner Bros.' only casualty cited in the announcement. The studio has indefinitely pulled the theatrical release of In the Heights, an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name by Hamilton creator Lin Manuel-Miranda, which was also due out in June.

Wonder Woman 1984 is the latest casualty of COVID-19, but likely not the last

Like many industries, Hollywood has struggled to find its footing in the midst of this unprecedented crisis. Some studios have rushed their tentpole properties to streaming to avoid the collapsing box office demand. Warner Bros. even employed this strategy with Birds of Prey, the most recent entry in the DC Cinematic Universe. The fact that Warner Bros. refuses to surrender Wonder Woman 1984's theatrical release reaffirms the studio's commitment to the traditional distribution model, even in these trying times.

Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich expressed optimism about the delay in a statement saying, "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. 14. We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then."

A delay was literally the only option available to studio execs bending over backwards to preserve the film's theatrical window. Multiplexes across the country have shuttered their doors to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, and with over 40 million Americans currently living under "shelter in place" orders, there wouldn't be much demand for their services even if they hadn't. As previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter, AMC Theaters, the nation's largest cinema chain, has closed all of their locations for 6 to 12 weeks. That timeline is likely to be extended if the coronavirus threat hasn't been mitigated.

The new August release date for Wonder Woman 1984 gives Warner Bros. a little breathing room (no pun intended). With a little luck, we'll still get to see Wonder Woman storming the Reagan era by summer's end.