Warner Bros/DC’s Wonder Woman 1984 begins offshore rollout today in such markets as Indonesia, Portugal and the UK — though on a very limited basis in the latter where London cinemas have been re-shuterred as the capital moves into a Tier 3 Covid lockdown.
In total, there will be 32 markets open through Friday with Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, Spain, Japan and China among those coming on board over the next two days. Missing out on the Patty Jenkins-directed sequel, for now, are such important hubs as France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands whose movie theaters are all currently closed.
As we saw with Tenet, the only other major tentpole getting a wide international theatrical release during the pandemic era, prospects are difficult to measure. However, industry sources estimate the overseas opening to land in the $60M+ range. There are asterisks aplenty for the weekend given the disruption caused by the coronavirus and restrictions still in place in many markets, while a vibrant China remains typically unpredictable. Although it’s a tough comp amid the current state of the world, for reference, the 2017 Wonder Woman did about $73M when it opened in like-for-like markets and at today’s exchange rates, per our sources. It went on to gross $409.4M internationally and $822M global.
Ultimately, China will be the swing this session. The last Wonder Woman debuted there with about $38M and finaled at $90.5M. Signs are pointing to a start for WW84 in the $40M neighborhood give or take. The Middle Kingdom has bounced back significantly over the past several months, but there is concern that a local title could give Gal Gadot’s Amazon warrior a run for her money.
China recently scheduled Dante Lam’s Operation Red Sea follow-up, The Rescue, head-to-head with WW84 and that film is currently leading pre-sales on Friday (though on Saturday, the titles are essentially neck-and-neck and WW84 is ahead on Sunday). Reactions to The Rescue, we hear, have so far not been very positive and WW84’s word of mouth could see it build on Saturday and Sunday. There should also be more family appeal on the weekend days. And as this is the first superhero movie of 2020 to hit Chinese screens, there’s reason to be optimistic. It will have 90% of IMAX China’s showtimes versus 10% going to The Rescue.
WW84 is currently 89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but critical and social scores out of the Middle Kingdom won’t come until closer to the end of the week.
As for other markets, it’s likely the bulk of the business is done in the South East Asian hubs. The Middle East should also be healthy (and there’s no concern right now over a ban in Lebanon like last time since theaters are not open there). Although Brazil was the biggest market on the previous Wonder Woman, only about 64% of cinemas are now open, there’s been a Covid resurgence of late and the exchange rate has taken a big hit.
In the UK, major circuit Cineworld is not open and Vue has about 30 of its venues operating across the market. Last time around, the UK launched to $6.7M and finaled at $28M. That’s unfortunately not going to happen this time. Japan bowed Wonder Woman to $2.4M and is expected to do roughly the same or maybe even come in a little higher on WW84. Japan is a solid DC market, but it’s also still riding the Demon Slayer train.
Like all movies released theatrically since the start of the pandemic, WW84’s bow and ultimate offshore box office will be taken with a grain of salt. Some in exhibition have wondered why risk opening a potential $1B global grosser when so much of the world is closed or restricted, and then of course there’s the HBO Max day-and-date strategy domestically which means piracy will be a factor once the film hits the streamer on December 25.
More to come over the weekend…
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