During a sleepy December weekend for the industry at the box office, Warner Bros. became the first major studio to cross $2 billion this year. It will ultimately end up as their second-best year ever, after 2009’s $2.13 billion. The Burbank, CA studio also set an industry record for exceeding $1 billion at the domestic B.O. during 18 of the last 19 years.
Responsible for amassing those figures are seven titles that have crossed $100M, more than any studio year-to-date so far, including DC’s Wonder Woman —the second highest movie of the year and best overall for the summer ($412.5M), It ($327.3M), Justice League ($212M), Dunkirk ($188M), The LEGO Batman Movie ($175.7M), Kong: Skull Island ($168M), and Annabelle: Creation ($100M). Worldwide, Warner Bros. is set to hit $5.1 billion, ranked right behind Disney. In sum, Warner Bros. has had eight No. 1 opening weekends and 12 #1 overall weekends, which is more than any other studio so far in calendar year 2017.
True, Disney will shake up or match some of these stats once Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on Thursday night, so Warner Bros. will ultimately rank second at the domestic B.O. for 2017. Currently Disney is around $1.85 billion through the end of today.
While critics have dinged Justice League and the film has strained to break even, earning $613.4M worldwide, Warner Bros. is responsible for driving the autumn box office thanks to that DC title plus their monster hit It. Ditto that for the summer season, where Warner Bros. led all studios for the four- month period with $790M, thanks to Wonder Woman. At $212M through four weekends, Justice League is running 6.5% ahead of where the studio’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them stood a year ago. That pic ended its run at $234M, and it’s conceivable that Justice League could still outstrip that pic.
While the studio’s final release this year on Dec. 22 is Alcon’s comedy Father Figures, starring Owen Wilson and Ed Helms, potential box office needle-moving titles that Warner Bros. is looking forward to are Paddington 2 on Jan. 12, Clint Eastwood’s the 15:17 to Paris on Feb. 9, Tomb Raider on March 16, and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One on Easter weekend, March 30.