Upcoming Film Releases

Photo: Shane McGowan – Pitchfork.com

David Prendeville

It remains to be seen whether cinemas will be able to reopen in Ireland and other territories before Christmas, what sort of shape they will be in, and what they will be able to show. There are plenty of promising titles that are still sitting in limbo, having had their release dates moved around numerous times and still with no certainty as to when they will be released. The big news on that front was Warners’ recent decision to release their much-anticipated, massively budgeted tentpole Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max, along with cinemas in territories they’re open in, on their planned Christmas release date.

It’s an interesting and surprising move by Warners who already gambled on releasing Tenet as lockdown restrictions eased in the summer. As I’ve covered in the paper already, the gamble did not pay off, and Tenet is set to lose quite a lot of money. With Covid rates surging in the subsequent months, things have gotten yet more bleak for cinemas. The Wonder Woman news could provide a boon for them, in that at least they will have a big, new film to show. People’s appetite to return to the cinema, however, is hardly likely to be increased by the film’s online availability.

Wonder Woman 1984 is still slated for cinema release here and the UK on December 16th, despite the continued uncertainty. It is set to open in cinemas and exclusively to stream on HBO Max in the States on Christmas Day. It remains unclear exactly when the film will become available to stream in other territories. The plan in the US is for it to be exclusive to HBO Max (which is unavailable outside of America) for a month, before other streaming services can play it. That is presumably when it would become available to stream in other countries. However, it seems like such a plan could lead to huge piracy issues for Warner. Certainly, if cinemas remain shuttered in the UK through December, expect Warners to devise another streaming strategy for this side of the world.

Another hotly anticipated title that is set for release in the coming weeks is David Fincher’s Mank. The film is a Netflix production and will be available to view on the streaming giant from December 4th. The film stars Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins and Tom Burke. It follows the relationship between screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles during the writing of Citizen Kane. The film has already received ecstatic reviews and is tipped to be a big Oscar-contender. Another film to watch out for is Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor, which is now streaming on Volta. The film has attracted praise for it’s striking visuals and notoriety for its extreme violence. Cronenberg, son of the brilliant David, made an auspicious debut with the superb Antiviral in 2012. Another thing to keep an eye out for, if cinemas are to reopen this month, are two music documentaries about Irish icons. Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane McGowan and the Phil Lynott doc Songs for While I’m Away. Both films have received excellent notices, while both come with strong pedigree, being directed by Julien Temple (The Filth and the Fury) and Emer Reynolds (The Farthest), respectively.