How that breaks down: The DC comics movie is looking at $65M-$75M stateside from 4,100 locations, which on the low end compares to the Marvel superhero openings of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Wonder Woman‘s estimate has the power to go much higher, perhaps north of $90M according to other tracking services, that is if she can maintain a strong Rotten Tomatoes score. Currently, the Patty Jenkins-directed movie starring Gal Godot is at 97% fresh off 66 reviews, however, but typically these titles file north of 250 reviews on the aggregator website. Should Wonder Woman become certified fresh, it will be the first time for a DC movie hit 87% since The Dark Knight Rises five years ago.
Abroad, Diana Prince’s alter ego flies into 55 markets with a range between $92M-$118M, though $100M currently is the comfortable projection. Wonder Woman will leap into such major markets as China, the UK, Russia, Korea and Brazil, planting a foot in about 72% of the world outside North America. Other key plays including France, Germany and Japan come later. As ever, that’s because China will be the swing. The sophisticated South Korea might also pop here, too.
Wonder Woman is long overdue for her solo big-screen debut, after making a cameo in last year’s Warner Bros/DC hit Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($873M worldwide). Joss Whedon was expected to make a Wonder Woman movie for Warner Bros. 10 years ago. When the plug was pulled on that project, the studio tried to adapt Wonder Woman for TV with a 2011 David E. Kelley NBC pilot starring Adrianne Palicki, which didn’t go to series.
Should Wonder Woman click in a massive way, it will be the second time that Warner Bros.’ deeper DC universe has worked recently at the B.O., already having reaped $325.1M domestic and $745.6M worldwide last August off its Joker/Harley Quinn-led villain feature Suicide Squad. Six years ago, Warner Bros./DC’s $200M attempt to bring Green Lantern to the big screen was halted by fans, critics and moviegoers with a big red light as they only spent a dismal $220M worldwide. To date, female comic-book superhero (or villain) movies have been a minority at the B.O., not to mention they’ve even bombed, i.e. 1984’s Supergirl ($14.3M domestic), 2004’s Catwoman ($82.1M global) and 2005’s Elektra ($56.7M global). Wonder Woman is a $300M gamble for Warner Bros. in production and P&A costs. Catwoman before P&A cost $100M 13 years ago and was an early textbook example in the nascent social media age of fanboys sealing a comic book movie’s fate before it even opened — their ire being over Halle Berry’s costume.
Moviegoers couldn’t be more excited for Wonder Woman with a recent Fandango poll reporting that 92% of all ticket buyers are excited to finally see a female superhero movie, while 80% say that Gadot’s appearance as Wonder Woman in BvS was one of their favorite moments. Four years ago, Zack Snyder selected Israeli supermodel and Fast and Furious actress Gadot to play the metal bathing-suit-clad superhero.
Similarly to BvS, Wonder Woman talent stopped in Shanghai a few weeks ago to get Chinese moviegoers energized and likewise a visit to Mexico City.
The London premiere for Wonder Woman, however, was canceled at the last minute owing to the terrorist attack in Manchester. Box office in the UK was down last weekend. But that frame’s new title, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, saw increases each day from Thursday through Monday locally. This bodes well for Wonder Woman as the thinking is that people are coming out to the movies. Although Diana Prince may still have to deflect some of Pirates’ curbside appeal.
Overseas, 2011’s Thor is also a comp. That Chris Hemsworth movie opened in 56 markets to $83M at historic rates. Other comps: Captain America: The First Avenger, which started with $50M in historic dollars in a staggered two-weekend release abroad, and ended with $194M total IBO, and Ant-Man, which opened to $55.4M in 37 markets at launch (not including China). If Wonder Woman really digs in her heels, Man of Steel also could be a worthwhile foreign comp, having bowed to $132M at historic rates. It is very important to recall there have been impactful exchange swings overseas, so we’ll be looking more closely at local currency throughout the weekend.
Wonder Woman has been marketed globally as a four-quadrant flick, appealing to men in Gadot’s beauty and to women as a symbol of empowerment. That latter message should translate in South Korea, where women can have an impact on tentpoles. Wonder Woman opens there tomorrow, a non-traditional Wednesday, giving it an extra day of play for the frame. In China, we’ve recently seen a phenomenon in the performance of Aamir Khan starrer Dangal, a sports drama with two female protagonists, which has grossed more than $150M.
By the end of the weekend, the top markets for Wonder Woman are expected to be a mix of China, the UK, Mexico, Korea, Russia and Brazil. France opens next Wednesday, June 7, with Germany seeking justice on June 15 and Japan bowing in August.
In addition at the domestic box office, 20th Century Fox is releasing its final DreamWorks Animation title, Captain Underpants, before the label segues over to Universal. The pic based on the kids book series will open at 5 PM Thursday, while Wonder Woman will starting projecting at 7 PM. Wonder Woman will be 3,500 locations on Thursday, including available in Imax, PLFs, 3D and DBox. Captain Underpants is estimated to open with at least $20M at 3,400 locations, and in 3D. Memorial Day opener Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will ease 55% from its three-day of $62.98M for $28.4M, while Paramount’s Baywatch will sink 60% from its three-day of $18.5M for $7.4M.