I was really pulling for Wonder Woman to crack $100 million. Sure a $90 million plus would have been great and showed female characters can headline a blockbuster film (for the 111th time). Cracking $100 million is rarefied air though as it’s a mark a lot of female headliner films don’t achieve opening weekend. Unless we’re talking Katniss.
Wonder Woman did make the mark — tentatively pending final Sunday numbers, with a $100.5 million debut. That would easily make it the best box opening for a female director. Patty Jenkins bests Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey ($85 million). You’d have to go back to The Hunger Games ($152 million) to find another action film featuring a female lead that kicked off better. Rey and Jyn benefited from the Star Wars license so I’m not going to count them.
Wonder Woman tops a lot of debut films including Iron Man ($98.6 million), Thor ($65 million), The Amazing Spider-Man ($62 million) and last year’s Doctor Strange ($85 million). Wonder Woman comes up shorter than Deadpool ($132 million) and the somewhat maligned Man of Steel ($116 million).
Of course the big thing is the second weekend. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had the best March opening weekend of all time with a sensational $166 million debut. It had a rough stretch afterwards with a 69% drop the next weekend en route to a ‘disappointing’ $330 million total gross.
I don’t expect Wonder Woman to have such a drastic drop thanks to its A CinemaScore and phenomenal word of mouth. Wonder Woman is only the third film to debut over $100 million this year behind Beauty and the Beast ($174 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5 million).
This definitely catapults Gal Gadot to superstar status, but even more so puts big time pressure on Justice League. I love that Wonder Woman is the benchmark for the new DC Cinematic Universe. If it delivers financially and with audience reception, DC will be back in the game. If not, expect the DC films to analyze why Wonder Woman worked and adapt that strategy going forward.
In second place, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie opened to a decent $23.5 million. This was a very odd choice considering the buzz for the other superhero film. Budget estimates weren’t available, but it’s a likely bet the film made a decent dent in its expenses.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales came in third place with $21.6 million. That brings its two weeks total to $114 million. I love that Wonder Woman almost made that in four days. Guardians of the Galaxy finally went down to double digits bringing in $9.7 million to bring its total to $355 million.
Baywatch brings up the rear of the Top 5 with $8.5 million. It will have a fight, but should be able to recoup its $69 million budget with its domestic gross. It’s not going to have a big impact globally though as it’s only managed $873,000.