This weekend Wonder Woman snagged $101.4 million and led the charts in a heart racing US debut. Israeli actress Gal Gadot as the DC comics heroine battled the God of War, fought the Nazis on her native island of Themyscira and deep in the Ottoman empire, and liberated Belgium with her mythical martial prowess and arsenal of swords, lassoes and magical bullet proof bracelets.
Helping her along this odyssey to save the western world is Army Air Service captain Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine. It transpires that the Greek war god Ares has orchestrated World War I and it’s up to the immortal Amazon and her tough cynical sidekick to save the world from annihilation. Wonder Woman’s massive opening marks the biggest ever weekend for a female director. Patty Jenkins, the films helmswoman, beat previous female directing box office champ Sam Taylor-Johnson’s $85.1 million debut with 50 Shades of Grey in 2015.
WW’s audience was evenly split among males and females, a first for superhero movies, and earned an A Cinemasore placing it among Christopher Nolan’s and Tim Burton’s Batman films as the only DC/Warner Bros. movies to earn that grade. And as Gal Gadot becomes an instant superstar, Wonder Woman has become the subject of social commentary about Hollywood and women and there is even talk of a possible awards season push.
Overseas Wonder Woman roped up every one of her 55 international markets and finished the weekend on $122.5 million. China was the hottest territory, earning $38 million for Warner Bros.’ after a telling $11.7 million Friday showing. The UK started strong with a $3.4 million Thursday and Friday but was hobbled by Saturday nights terror attack, the second in less than two weeks for the beleaguered nation. It ended up with $7.5 million. South Korea, its second biggest market, made $8.5 million. Mexico was worth $8.4 million, while Brazil followed closely at $8.3 million. Even India was good for a surprising half million dollars. All things considered it looks like Warner Bros.’ has recovered well from their massive miss on King Arthur: Legends of the Sword earlier in May.
Slipping in, as counterprogramming was kid-friendly hero comedy Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which finished second with $3.5 million in North America. This adaptations of the beloved late 90s kids book series by Dav Pilkey is about a pair of fourth graders who hypnotize their principal into believing he is a superhero. In this movie Captain Underpants, voiced by Ed Helms, does battle with Nick Kroll’s evil scientist Captain Poopypants. Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch voice the two young hypnotists while Jordan Peele plays their grade-school nemesis Melvin Sneedly. Captain U made its way into six overseas territories, earning $740 thousand for a global cume of $24.2 million.
In holdover news Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales took a nosedive off the plank with a 65% drop from last weekend for $22 million at third place in the US. This is the steepest second week fall in the series’ history. It remains popular overseas however, where sales have reached $386.6 million. Its cumulative rests at a comfortable $501.2 million and won’t have anyone at Disney calling for mutiny just yet. Stable mate Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 came next with $9.7 million, bringing its now five week domestic cume to $355.4 million. Its worldwide earnings now sit at an indisputably blockbuster level $816.5 million.
Paramount’s Baywatch meanwhile continued to flounder at home with just $8.5 million in its return frame, but found some solace overseas where it earned $23.8 million to reach a slightly less disappointing $67.2 million global cume.
Next week we’ll see how these movies do against the reboot of The Mummy, now starring Tom Cruise, and whether A24 can pull a Blumhouse with indie horror pic It Comes at Night.