Can ‘Wonder Woman’ Save the Summer Box Office?

Wonder Woman
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The summer box office needs saving; will “Wonder Woman” come to the rescue?

It will most likely do its part, as current projections for the Warner Bros. film’s domestic opening weekend stand north of $100 million. That’s far above the studio’s more conservative estimate between $65 million and $75 million. Overseas, the movie should score as well — its worldwide grosses by the end of the weekend may exceed $175 million.

For a parched summer, those are refreshing estimates for the latest DC Comics installment, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot. The opening expectations are still below the first weekends of other DC Comics films, including two critically maligned, but profitable 2016 releases: “Suicide Squad” ($133.6 million) and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” ($166 million). “Wonder Woman,” meanwhile, has the critical community on its side — it currently holds a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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‘Wonder Woman’ Banned in Lebanon Due to Israeli Lead Gal Gadot

The gender politics at play for the film are — brace yourself for an understatement — loaded. Of the 19 superhero movies released featuring Marvel and DC Comics properties since their respective cinematic universes launched in 2008, zero have featured a female character in the leading role. The Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin, Texas made headlines for planning a “No Guys Allowed” screening of the movie, which sparked backlash, then backlash to the backlash, ad infinitum. Politics have come into play as well — Lebanon decided to ban all screenings of the film due to Gadot’s Israeli heritage.

Jenkins faces an enormous amount of pressure, considering her first and only feature to date is “Monster” — an Academy Award winner, but one she made more than a decade ago with an $8 million budget. This time around Jenkins had $150 million at her disposal, meaning the movie-making process was an entirely different beast.

The weekend’s only other major opening is Fox’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” which is anticipating a more modest take in the $25 million to $30 million range. The studio is projecting a $20 million opening weekend. Based on Dav Pilkey’s children’s books about two young pranksters who hypnotize their principal into thinking that he has superpowers, the DreamWorks Animation production features the voices of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, and Thomas Middleditch.

A number of pictures are opening in limited release, including Lionsgate and Pantelion’s Mexican coming-of-age dramedy “3 Idiotas,” and CBS Films’ “Dean,” comic Demetri Martin’s the directorial debut, starring himself.

Ticket sales for the year are up about 2% thanks to the massive success of pre-summer releases like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Fate of the Furious.” But the summer tells a different story. Apart from the hugely successful “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” the box office has seen a string of flops and disappointments, including “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “Alien: Covenant,” and most recently, “Baywatch.” The damage has resulted in sales for the summer slumping almost 9% below the same point last year, according to ComScore. Memorial Day weekend, in particular, was the lowest-earning since 1999. Bold projections that this summer could break records are seeming less and less attainable each weekend.

“Wonder Woman” should perform much better than the box office winner this time last year, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” which crawled back into its shell after opening to $35 million. But putting pressure on one movie to single-handedly muscle the summer box office back in winning form is, frankly, one more unfair expectation for a film that has enough of those already. That said, “Wonder Woman” seems ready for battle.

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  1. Ben says:

    The mass audience loves terrible movies, more than not, if the reviews are awful, and the movie is truly terrible, the mass audience comes out in droves. There is a reason Hollywood makes retreads, remakes, reboots and sequels, none of which are very good, the audience demands terrible and non creative movies, just like McDonalds continues to sell millions of cheeseburgers every year. The failure of King Arthur was a good thing, but probably a momentary blip when terrible movie actually meant terrible box office.

  2. alexander downey says:

    i doubt one movie can do that much but if it gets people back into cinemas then that is a good start. aliens is boring and well past its sell by date. king arthur well that was bad beyond bad and baywatch well lets just say a few years too late for that one. i hope wonder woman does amazing and think the idea of all female screenings with the proceeds going to charity is a lovely idea. lets get behind something positive after all the sad things we have endured of recent.

  3. tuffgong says:

    No… not because of her israeli heritage, but because she was a vocal supporter of the IDF campaign in which hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent men, women and children were killed.

  4. CelluloidFan35mm says:

    Who cares? This summer movie season is going to suck like all the other movies that’s been shoved in out faces these recent summer seasons.
    Of course, the same dime a dozen superhero movies will save their asses yet again and hog up all the screens keeping possible better movies limited to one or maybe two showtimes.
    In my eyes, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, War for the Planet of the Apes, It Comes At Night (with some surprises) have the potential to save this sorry excuse for a summer movie season.

  5. It’s no wonder the world & especially the U.S. have gone to s***. All the hatred & vitriol over movies & especially Wonder Woman specifically. It’s a fantastical superhero (one that’s been around since 1941 I might add) for f*** sake so stop reading so God damn much into it!!!

  6. godzilla502 says:

    Please STOP with the sensational headlines and PC BS.

    Can Wonder Woman save summer? It’s May.

    Still to come this summer:
    THE MUMMY, CARS 3, TRANSFORMERS, DESPICABLE ME 3, BABY DRIVER, SPIDER-MAN, PLANET OF THE APES, DUNKIRK, THE DARK TOWER, DETROIT, EMOJI MOVIE, ATOMIC BLONDE, to name a few.

    Sure, some of these might disappoint, but GOTG 2 surpassed GOTG 1. Pirates 5 just opened successfully and is on its way to $900 M worldwide (and Pirates 6). Fast 8 has made $1.2 billion worldwide. LOGAN was a hit. GET OUT was a hit. JOHN WICK 2 was a hit. Hell, even Resident Evil 6 was the highest grossing in the series this year.

    So stop the nonsense.

  7. Haz says:

    Sorry but I don’t expect a change unless Hollywood stops trying to drag politics into every little thing. The Alamo Drafthouse “marketing ploy” is only alienating moviegoers and considering the amount of money superhero films generate alienating comic book fans is a huge mistake. Hollywood can’t afford to alienate movie and TV viewers and are going to learn this the hard way.

    • So if Hollywood makes a movie with a female lead they are “dragging politics” into it? Sounds like people like you are making the inclusion of women political. One theater hurt the feelings of insecure men, get over it.

  8. Damon Tammas says:

    So let me get this straight , the movies the “critics” savaged all had 9 figure openings, but the one the “critics” love will have the the lowest opening for DC ever… yeah something is rotten here, but it ain’t tomatoes.

  9. Prime says:

    Why does the summer need saving? Its only 3 weekends old and we’ve had one great film in Guardians of the Galaxy and one still beat studio projections in Pirates 5. Baywatch was never going to make a huge box office. The only disappointment so far was the second weekend for Aliens and the King Arthur movie which never should have been greenlit.

  10. Galactus99999 says:

    I hope that it crashes and burns this year. So many people want to make a political statement out of this movie that they have taken all the fun out of it. I still remember the Summer of 1977 when Star Wars made a kid out of everyone who saw it. We need that joy again.

    • Lisa says:

      What’s this obsession with guys comparing Wonder Woman to Star Wars? For girls in the 70s, Wonder Woman was the only female hero we had. Why are you trying to steal it’s shine with a film that’s been recycled to oblivion?
      Males suffer from self-entitlement. For example, there was a study done with a third grade class to measure the attention given to each gender. It was found girls were left to their own devices most of the time. They were basically neglected. So, the researchers asked the teacher to start giving girls 50% of the attention. Once the attention level hit something like 35% the needy, bottomless-pit little boys started whining that the girls were ‘getting all the attention’. Not only was it not even close to the truth, but the boy’s actual perception of reality was way off. Self-entitlement is the only word to describe the problem males have today.
      Seriously, grow up and take it like a man!

      • If all males are self-entitled, as you presuppose, then wouldn’t taking it “like a man” entail acting self-entitled?

      • Kaboom! says:

        Well we got the message…you hate men. That’s ok. Kathy Griffin is looking for a like minded woman. You would be perfect. Just watch your head.

  11. SPIKE says:

    IT’LL TAKE MORE THAN WONDER WOMAN

  12. JoeM says:

    Don’t worry, they still have another Transformers movie.

  13. CJB says:

    Don’t bet on it.

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