With two very different types of superheroes hitting the big screen on Friday, June’s first weekend is shaping up to be a big one at the box office. Our final analysis and forecast:
- Wonder Woman is easily one of the most widely recognizable characters from comic book lore beyond the core fan base. Her 75+ year history has included many successful comic book runs, pop culture references, and multiple television incarnations — most famously the popular Lynda Carter show in the late 1970s. That gives this first big screen treatment of the character plenty of awareness and appeal across multiple generations of audiences.
- Trying political times often coincide with superhero breakouts at the box office. Great examples of that in the modern era have been Spider-Man, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight (for varying reasons). No matter one’s opinion on the state of the world right now, there is a clear and present demand for an empowering female-led (Gal Gadot) and female-directed (Patti Jenkins) big screen superhero. This may be a perfect storm of cultural relevancy and mass audience appeal.
- If the box office history of the DC Extended Universe has proven anything so far, it’s that there are plenty of audiences (DC fans, especially) interested in seeing more than just Marvel movies. Despite mixed-to-poor word of mouth and critical reception, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad each proved to be financial blockbusters for Warner Bros.
- Of course, positive critical reviews ahead of release do help thanks to the growing popularity of sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. For the first time, the DCEU has a resoundingly “fresh” rated film with Wonder Woman. We’re betting that will help send ticket sales into overdrive. The film stands at a remarkable 93 percent with 105 reviews counted on Rotten Tomatoes as of this publishing, making it one of the best reviewed comic book films of all-time.
- Social media buzz is on fire. The film had already been generating Twitter activity ahead of films like Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy before reviews were unleashed on Monday, and the fervor has only expanded since then. Facebook growth has also come in notably ahead of where Man of Steel stood before its release, while Flixster growth has outpaced the likes of Strange and Suicide Squad in recent day-to-day comparisons.
- The character’s introduction in Batman v Superman was one of the more widely praised aspects of that film, serving as a strong setup for this solo origin story.
- The recent under-performance of several May titles has the market primed for a widely appealing film to break out beyond initial expectations. We’re betting this is the one to do it, with some optimistic internal projections even leaving a debut close to $120 million or more on the table. The chance of a total domestic run close to $300 million or more looks increasingly likely.
- One can argue that Wonder Woman, as a brand name, doesn’t have the same popularity level or audience reach of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, etc. Conversely, there are plenty of examples of “obscure” comic book characters delivering blockbuster grosses in recent years.
- Traditional tracking metrics have been mixed, with some interpretations of interest and intent-to-see levels being more conservative than others.
- The World War I setting poses a different feel from most “modern day” comic book films. That might be a minor factor against appealing to younger moviegoers.
- Despite strong reviews and a very timely character, it is within the realm of possibility that the underwhelming reception of past DC films could finally catch up with them on opening weekend. We doubt that at this point, but it’s worth considering on balance and justifies the studio’s expectations of a debut in the $70-75 million range.
Fox / DreamWorks Animation
- Animated films have had a recent history of over-performing beyond expectations. Given the dearth of appealing animated options since April, this could do quite well among families with young children.
- There is some notable brand familiarity with this film as it’s based on a series of popular children’s novels by Dav Pilkey.
- Flixster activity has been on par with that of The Boss Baby leading up to release.
- With Pixar’s Cars 3 and Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 on deck later this month, some families may opt to hold out for those higher profile offerings.
- Facebook activity has been quite muted, falling well shy of Boss Baby‘s levels. Twitter activity has been modest but with very few outright negative signs.
- No critical reviews have been published as of this writing, although animated films tend to be critic-proof on some level anyway.
Check out our weekend forecast in the table below.
|Title||Distributor||Weekend||Domestic Total through Sunday, June 4||% Change|
|Wonder Woman||Warner Bros.||$111,000,000||$111,000,000||NEW|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales||Disney||$20,150,000||$114,250,000||-68.00%|
|Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2||Disney||$10,000,000||$356,840,000||-52.00%|
|Everything, Everything||Warner Bros.||$3,010,000||$27,690,000||-50.00%|
|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul||Fox||$2,460,000||$19,430,000||-45.00%|
|King Arthur: Legend of the Sword||Warner Bros.||$1,650,000||$37,620,000||-50.00%|
Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.