Weekend Box Office: ‘Wonder Woman’ Soars to $11M Thursday Night
The movie is one of the few Hollywood tentpoles ever directed by a woman; it is also the first time the marquee female superhero has gotten her own big-screen feature.
Director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is already impressing at the box office.
The female-centric tentpole soared to $11 million in previews as it began rolling out Thursday night in North American theaters before opening everywhere on Friday, when it will be in a total 4,165 locations. The audience was evenly split in terms of males and females, according to comScore. Usually, a superhero tentpole skews male.
Starring Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman should lasso $95 million or more in its domestic debut, thanks to pent-up demand for a satisfying summer tentpole and rapturous reviews. Warner Bros. is being more cautious and suggesting $65 million-$70 million. Thursday night’s number in the U.S. included $1.5 million from Imax theaters.
Overseas, Wonder Woman is opening in almost every major market, including China. The film’s early foreign gross is already $18.7 million, including $1.6 million from the U.K. on Thursday.
Wonder Woman could prove a defining moment for Hollywood’s much-debated gender gap and should land the biggest three-day domestic opening ever for a female director, supplanting Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey. That film debuted to $93 million over the four-day Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend in 2015, including a three-day haul of $85 million and Thursday previews of $8.6 million.
In terms of other superhero films, Wonder Woman’s Thursday night performance was on par with the first Guardians of the Galaxy ($11.2 million) and ahead of the first Captain America ($10.2 million). And it wasn’t too far behind Deadpool ($12.7 million). Early last month, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 grossed $17 million in previews. Superhero tentpoles sporting the biggest Thursday night numbers include The Dark Knight Rises ($30.6 million), Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($27.7 million) and Avengers: Age of Ultron $27.6 million.
Wonder Woman opens as World War I pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and his plane crash on Themyscira, the island of the Amazons, where the Princess Diana (Gadot) has been trained by her aunt, the great warrior Antiope (Robin Wright). Soon, Diana leaves the island to try and stop the war, marking the beginning of her transformation into Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman currently sports a stellar 94 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes in a major win for Warners and DC Entertainment, whose Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) were largely snubbed by critics. The film also marks the first time Wonder Woman has received her own big-screen adaptation. (Gadot did appear in Dawn of Justice.)
The weekend’s other new offering, DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, is targeting younger tots. The animated film is tracking to open in the $25 million range after costing a modest $38 million to produce.
Based on the popular book series, Captain Underpants tells the tale of two fourth-grade troublemakers (voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) who hypnotize their mean principal (Ed Helms) into thinking he’s Captain Underpants, a hero from a comic book. The movie’s characters also include Professor Pippy P. Poopypants (Nick Kroll) and a school snitch named Melvin Sneedly (Jordan Peele).