WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Wonder Woman 1984 Lassoes Highest Debut of the Pandemic Era to Date

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Amid the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. to date, Wonder Woman 1984 easily conquered the North American box office with an estimated $16.7 million at roughy 2,100 locations, marking the highest debut gross at the domestic box office since mid-March. Embedded in the studio’s release was news that the studio is already fast-tracking a third installment in the series with Patty Jenkins once again at the helm and Gal Gadot returning as the iconic superhero.

“As fans around the world continue to embrace Diana Prince, driving the strong opening weekend performance of Wonder Woman 1984, we are excited to be able continue her story with our real life Wonder Women – Gal and Patty – who will return to conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy,” said Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich in a statement.

Wonder Woman 1984 finished at the high end of expectations on a weekend that proved difficult to predict given the highly variable nature of the pandemic and the shutdowns of multiplexes in multiple top markets during COVID-19’s deadliest phase yet in the U.S. According to the studio’s own estimates, just 39% of theaters are currently open at limited capacity in the U.S. while only 5% are open in Canada (for comparison’s sake, the first Wonder Woman opened on 4,165 screens at full capacity). Of course, the sequel was released day-and-date on HBO Max and will play on the streaming platform for a one-month run, further dampening its box office prospects. In Canada, the film was released on PVOD in addition to its limited theatrical engagements.

Warner Bros. reports that Wonder Woman 1984 was particularly popular on large format screens (IMAX, Dolby, PLF) and at private watch parties in theaters, with over 10,000 booked over the weekend. The Cinemascore came in at a “B+”, a couple of ticks lower than the first film’s “A” grade.

News of the World finished at No. 2 in its debut weekend, coming in a shade below our forecast with $2.4 million from 1,900 locations. The Paul Greengrass-directed drama drew an expectedly older crowd, with 70% of the opening weekend audience over the age of 35. The Cinemascore for the Oscar-tipped title came in at a B+ and its Rotten Tomatoes score is “Fresh” at 86%.

The Croods: A New Age dipped to third place in its fifth weekend with an estimated $1.73 million, bringing the total for the Universal release to $30.35 million in North America to date. With little in the way of competition for family audiences willing to venture to the theater in the pandemic, the animated follow-up has had a lane essentially all to itself for the duration of its domestic run.

Coming in at No. 4 was Sony’s Monster Hunter, which took in an estimated $1.13 million from 1,817 locations in its sophomore frame. The video game adaptation starring Milla Jovovich, which debuted at the top of the chart last weekend with $2.2 million, now has $4.22 million in North America.

Opening in fifth place was Focus Features’ Promising Young Woman, which grossed an estimated $680,000 from 1,310 locations. Starring Carey Mulligan as a woman on a quest for revenge, the film has played well with critics and audiences alike, but unlike Wonder Woman 1984 or The Croods, it doesn’t have the event-sized scope that might lure people to the theater during a particularly fraught time in the pandemic. The studio notes it played particularly well in Texas markets including Dallas (6.8% DBO), Houston (4.6%) and Austin (3%), as well as Atlanta (3%), Orlando (3%), Miami (2.7%) and Tampa (2.5%).

Roadside Attractions released Matteo Garone’s reimagining of Pinocchio starring Roberto Benigni on 764 screens and brought in an estimated $274,605 in its debut frame. 

OVERSEAS

Wonder Woman 1984 continued its overseas run with an estimated $36.1 million from 42 markets. The title has now grossed a total of $68.3 million over its first two weekends outside of North America, bringing its global total to $85 million. Next weekend’s overseas grosses will be crucial for the industry to assess the early impact of piracy on the title’s international performance, after having a pristine digital copy of the film widely available in North America. Key overseas markets, including France, Germany, Italy, and several major cities in England, remain closed through the holiday period. 

The Croods: A New Age took in an estimated $9.2 million internationally this weekend, including new openings in Russia ($3 million), Australia ($2.7 million) and Spain ($1.4 million). In China, where the Dreamworks Animation sequel grossed an additional $1.05 million this weekend, A New Age has $51.4 million so far. To date, the film’s international cume is $67.91 million and its global total is $98.26 million.

Studio Weekend Estimates (Domestic)

FRI, DEC. 25 – SUN, DEC. 27

WIDE RELEASE (1000+ Screens)

#TITLEWEEKENDLOCATIONSAVG.TOTALWKS.DIST.
1Wonder Woman 1984$16,700,0002,100$7,952$16,700,0001Warner Bros.
2News of The World$2,400,0001,900$1,263$2,400,0001Universal Pictures
3The Croods: A New Age$1,730,000-17%1,726-180$1,002$30,346,7405Universal Pictures
4Monster Hunter$1,125,000-49%1,81781$619$1,125,0002Sony Pictures
5Promising Young Woman$680,0001,310$519$680,0001Focus Features
6Fatale$660,000-28%1,16861$565$1,961,2612Lionsgate

LIMITED RELEASE (100-999 Screens)

#TITLEWEEKENDLOCATIONSAVG.TOTALWKS.DIST.
1Pinocchio$274,605764$359$274,6051Roadside Attractions
2The War With Grandpa$90,882-47%515-288$176$18,446,43912101 Studios
3Freaky$50,000-71%255-530$196$8,660,0957Universal Pictures
4Come Play$40,000-66%123-304$325$9,467,4509Focus Features
5Half Brothers$35,000-87%186-957$188$1,989,6454Focus Features
6The Muppet Christmas Carol (2020 re-release)$8,000-91%160-565$50$8,0002Disney

PLATFORM RELEASE (1-99 Screens)

#TITLEWEEKENDLOCATIONSAVG.TOTALWKS.DIST.
1Let Him Go$7,000-88%54-352$130$9,342,6258Focus Features
2The Forgotten Carols$3,300-85%483$69$498,4246Purdie Distribution
3The Empty Man$3,00090%42-38$71$3,0001020th Century Studios
4The New Mutants$3,00048%10-42$300$3,0001820th Century Studios

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