The title, Wonder Wheel, in addition to referring to the Coney Island Ferris Wheel, is metaphorical for the characters' behaviors and mindsets. When describing the title, Woody Allen stated "The view is beautiful from the Wonder Wheel, but you're going no place. It has an element of romance to it, an element of beauty to it, but ultimately, an element of futility."
Set on Coney Island in the 1950s, the Wonder Wheel is still in operation, but the Parachute Drop, seen in the background, ceased operation in 1964 and survives only as a tower. It's nicknamed the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn.
The film was released on December 1, 2017, Woody Allen's 82nd birthday.
Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro created a contrasting color scheme between the two main female characters. Ginny has a warmer red/orange palette resembling the sun and symbolizing her attachment to the past. For Carolina, lighter shades of blue were used, symbolically linking her to the future in accordance with the "magic hour," the time between the sun setting and the moon rising.
Costume designer Suzy Benzinger initially had difficulty in creating a lifeguard outfit for Justin Timerlake's character Mickey since the photos of 1950s Coney Island at her disposal had few clear shots of the lifeguards. She eventually got the information she needed after reaching out to Marty Alvin, a former Coney Island lifeguard who was interviewed by Esquire Magazine in 1949.
Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro took inspiration from the Coney Island paintings of artist Reginald Marsh in creating the look for the film.