‘Wonder Woman’ shatters records on the way to $100 million debut

Wonder Woman
The most famous female superhero of all time had an appropriately heroic premiere for her first, live-action solo feature — and she broke a few records along the way, too.

Director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman earned an estimated $100.5 million over the weekend, giving it the best opening weekend of all time for a movie directed by a woman. Perhaps more importantly, its big premiere was accompanied by the best reviews so far — from professional critics and general audiences alike — of any movie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ cinematic superhero universe based on DC Comics characters.

Basically, it was a winning weekend for Wonder Woman, Jenkins, star Gal Gadot, and just about anyone else rooting for the film’s success.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Wonder Woman $100.5M $100.5M $223M
2. Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie $23.5M $23.5M $24.2M
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales $21.6M $114.6M $501.2M
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $9.7M $355.4M $816.5M
5. Baywatch $8.5M $41.7M $67.2M
6. Alien: Covenant $4M $67.2M $173.8M
7. Everything, Everything $3.3M $28.3M $28.3M
8. Snatched $1.3M $43.8M $54.4M
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul $1.2M $17.8M $24.3M
10. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword $1.1M $37.1M $129.4M

Wonder Woman surpassed the $85.2 million debut of director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey to become the new record-setter for female-directed films. Although a tremendous amount of positive chatter certainly helped the film hit that elite mark, WB’s superhero movies have typically enjoyed impressive opening weekends, as all three of the other films in the studio’s franchise — Man of SteelBatman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad — earned more their first weekends due to a simultaneous worldwide release in just about every major market, only to take a hard hit in the following weeks due to poor reviews and bad buzz from audiences.

The big difference here is that Wonder Woman is the only one of the four films to get positive reviews across the board, with the film earning an “A” grade on CinemaScore (which surveys audience members) and 94-percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Now it will be interesting to see if that warm welcome the film received will translate into a more sustained run in theaters than previous installments of the studio’s cinematic universe.

As far as the big picture goes with superhero movies, it’s also worth noting that Wonder Woman had a better opening weekend than the first film in every Marvel Studios solo series with the exception of The Avengers, beating the domestic debuts of Iron ManCaptain America: The First AvengerThorDoctor StrangeAnt-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It also accomplished this feat with an audience that was 52-percent female — a major shift from the typical, 60-percent male audiences for most superhero movies.

Beyond the success of Wonder Woman — which really was all that anyone was talking about over the weekend — the second-place film Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie also enjoyed a good debut. The animated feature based on a popular series of books earned an estimated $23.5 million, which is actually very, very good for a movie that cost just $38 million to make.

The only other noteworthy news from the weekend was the juxtaposition of the domestic troubles for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the film’s impressive success internationally. The film opened last week with the second-lowest debut for a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and followed that up with the biggest week-to-week drop for any of the installments in the franchise. However, Dead Men Tell No Tales raked in $73.8 million outside the U.S. and beat Wonder Woman in quite a few large markets. The film’s worldwide gross now sits at a respectable $501.2 million, despite only earning $114.6 million of those ticket sales domestically.

This upcoming week’s big release is Universal Pictures’ The Mummy with Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella. The film is intended to kick off a new cinematic universe based on the studio’s classic movie monsters, so it has a lot riding on its success. also arriving in theaters are a pair of low-profile thrillers, It Comes At Night and My Cousin Rachel, both with some positive buzz. The biopic Megan Leavey also has its debut, chronicling the experiences of a Marine and her dog, Rex, during and after their service together in Iraq.

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