Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like Milla Jovovich hunting some monsters. Monster Hunter, the latest effects-heavy team-up between Jovovich and husband Paul W.S. Anderson, will now open on Christmas Day. That puts it directly up against Wonder Woman 1984, but Wonder Woman 1984 is also debuting on HBO Max that same day, so Sony might figure this is their chance to corner big theatrical numbers for that day. Of course, all of that hinges on the idea of movie theaters actually being open.

Any other year, I might be over the moon at the idea of going to the movies on Christmas Day to watch Monster Hunter. This year, though, is another story. The coronavirus continues to be a very serious problem, and in many places, things are getting worse, not better. As a result, many 2020 movies have been pushed back to 2021 – but Hollywood isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. Which is why Sony is deciding to drop Monster Hunter into theaters on December 25, putting it up against Wonder Woman 1984, which will also hit HBO Max the same day.

At one point, Monster Hunter was supposed to open in September of 2020. Then it got pushed to April 2021. Then, curiously, it got moved back – to December 30, 2020. Now, it’s arriving in theaters and IMAX on Christmas Day. If I had to guess, I’d say Warner Bros.’ decision to release Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max is what gave Sony the confidence to move in on that December 25 date. The logic being that even though Wonder Woman will be at the box office, most people will probably watch it at home, while Monster Hunter remains exclusive to theaters. “You want a big movie you can only see on the big screen?” Sony is essentially asking. “Well, here’s your chance!”

In Monster Hunter, “When an unexpected sandstorm transports Lt. Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (TI Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by the Admiral (Ron Perlman). Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown.”

Sony also shuffled around some other release dates – Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, which was set for January 15, 2021, has now moved to April 2, 2021; and Fatherhood is moving to April 16, 2021 from its original date of April 2, 2021.

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