Warner Bros. announced Sunday that it is fast-tracking development of "Wonder Woman 3," with Patty Jenkins attached to write and direct and Gal Gadot once again starring in the title role.
"As fans around the world continue to embrace Diana Prince, driving the strong opening weekend performance of Wonder Woman 1984, we are excited to be able to continue her story with our real life Wonder Women - Gal and Patty - who will return to conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy," Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement Sunday.
The announcement comes just two days after the premiere of "Wonder Woman 1984," which thanks to the pandemic ditched a traditional theatrical release and instead launched Christmas Day in the U.S. on HBO Max, where it will stream for the next month, alongside a limited theatrical release. It released in theaters internationally on Dec. 16.
According to Warner Bros., nearly half of all HBO Max subscribers watched "Wonder Woman 1984" on Christmas on top of "millions" more who accessed HBO Max through existing cable or streaming packages that offer HBO Max access. The company said also that total viewing hours on HBO Max tripled.
At the box office, "Wonder Woman 1984" has the best domestic opening weekend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Friday to Sunday it earned $16.7 million in the U.S. and to date has brought in $85 million worldwide. Those numbers come amid a bleak theatrical landscape in the United States, where nationwide less than 40% of theaters are open at limited capacity, and in the largest markets theaters are closed outright. That's due of course to the sad fact that the United States has had one of the worst responses to the pandemic, which has ravaged almost unchecked and to-date has killed more than 330,000 Americans.
Though vaccines have begun to roll out, the pandemic still brings with it much uncertainty about the future of theatrical releases, uncertainty compounded by Warner Bros.' contentious decision to preemptively move its entire 2021 slate of films to a hybrid HBO Max/limited theatrical release like "Wonder Woman 1984" rather than continue to wait things out.
Jenkins even suggested during an interview last week with the New York Times that she would only return for a third film if it was guaranteed to have a traditional exclusive theatrical release. And based on the news today, it would appear she and Warner Bros. are confident that the situation will be very different by the time "Wonder Woman 3" is completed.