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Weekend Box Office: Girl Power Rules as Wonder Woman Shatters Records

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By Chris Kavan - 06/04/17 at 06:03 PM CT

Wonder Woman wasn't just the top draw at the box office this weekend, it broke all kinds of records for female-driven (and female-directed) films. Plus, the dour DC universe got a much-needed shot in the arm from Wonder Woman, which helped brighten things up after the too-dark Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. Now we'll just have to see if the other directors take note. Another hero, Captain Underpants, had modest success while Pirates crossed a major milestone on the global front. All told, the post-Memorial Day weekend was up a very nice 38% compared to the same weekend in 2016 and hopefully means good things to come.


To say there was a lot riding on the success of Wonder Woman is putting things mildly. Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins both had a lot of pressure to deliver a strong female-driven superhero film and, with a $149 million budget, a lot to prove as well. But deliver they did, and in a big way as Wonder Woman opened to $100.5 million. On the international front it added $122.5 million for a global total of $223. To put that in perspective, that is a bigger opening than the likes of Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man and Iron Man 2, both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Doctor Strange, the first two Captain America movies, Man of Steel and Ant-Man. Jenkins now holds the record for biggest opening by a female director (topping the $85 million that Sam Taylor-Johnson brought in with 50 Shades of Grey) and Wonder Woman is by far the highest-grossing, female-led superhero movies (not that it had much competition - Catwoman made $40.2 million back in 2004. If studios were wary about female superheros following the under-performing Catwoman and Elektra, Wonder Woman should help turn that around (and maybe, maybe we can finally get a Black Widow film, maybe?). Unlike most of the DC films, which tended to be incredibly front-loaded on their Thursday openings, leading to limited weekend multipliers, but Wonder Woman performed more like a typical Marvel films with an excellent 2.58 multiplier, meaning fans just didn't show up for one day - it played well the entire weekend. It earned an "A" Cinemascore from audiences, as well as a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was the 16th best (6th best among non-sequels) superhero opening of all time and the 6th best June opening of all time and the highest opening of any June movie on the first weekend. Depending on how things play out, Wonder Woman is looking at anywhere from a $250 million to $300 million plus domestic total and will hopefully open the doors for studios to take more chances with women in lead roles and behind the camera.


While most eyes were on Wonder Woman, families still managed to make Captain Underpants a mild succes. The animated film with the vocal talents of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal opened with a solid $23.5 million, which was right along with studio estimates. It is still pretty low for a Dreamworks animated film (26th out of 35 titles) but luckily the budget for this is much lower than, say Rise of the Guardians (which opened to $23.7 million on a $145 million budget). The film earned a "B+" Cinemascore and 91% of its audience was between the ages of 7-12. The competition is going to heat up very soon as both Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 are coming up fast and may mean a short journey for Captain Underpants.


Jack Sparrow's (purportedly) final journey took a rough hit in its second weekend with a 65.7% drop and a $21.6 million weekend. That gives Dead Men a $114.6 million domestic total. The domestic total looks like it will stall out at the $150-$160 million mark, well below the $300 million of Stranger Tides, or the $400 plus of the other Pirates films. Despite its domestic woes, it did push across the $500 million mark on the international front - with Japan still to come, and, much like X-Men: Days of Future Past, is going to make most of its money overseas. Future Past eventually wound up with $757 million, we'll see if Dead Men Tell No Tales can match or even top that total.


The real bright spot of the summer movie season (well, now aside from Wonder Woman), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 dropped 53.4% in its fifth weekend, taking in $9.733 million and raised its total to $355.4 million - all on a $200 million budget. It added $4.4 million oveseas and its global total stands at $816.6 million, already the 5th highest total among all the MCU films. The film is likely going to wind up at around $375 million domestic and $850 million global - maybe not quite as high as some would have wanted, but looking still quite good for the series. We'll have to wait and see how Wonder Woman compares to this one once it completes its run.


After a less-than-stellar opening, the Zac Efron/Dwayne Johnson R-rated comedy took a 54% hit in its second weekend, earning $8.5 million and giving the film a new total of $41 million. It has only earned $25.5 million overseas for a total of $67.7 million worldwide. Now, if the film had cost closer to $50 million than $70 million, things might not look so grim, but, as it stands, Baywatch is going to find it pretty hard to break even amidst marketing costs and the like. It will probably survive through June, barely, but I don't see this earning much more than $55 to $60 million total.

Outside the top five: The sweet teen romance Everything, Everything cracked the $25 million mark with a $3.32 million weekend and a new $28.3 million total. It looks like a lock to at least triple its $10 million budget.

Nothing more in the news as we await new weekend when The Mummy drops along with the stylish horror film It Comes at Night and the real-life story Megan Leavey.


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