Box office predictions: How high will Wonder Woman soar?
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UPDATE: Wonder Woman is off to an impressive start at the domestic box office. The blockbuster has lassoed a robust $11 million from Thursday night preshows, putting in on track to clear at least $90 million across its first three days in wide release. Comparatively, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy collected $11.2 million in Thursday preview ticket sales back in 2014 en route to a $94.3 million debut. In terms of recent DC releases, Wonder Woman‘s Thursday numbers still trail those of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, which bagged $27.7 million ($166 million) and $20.5 million ($133.7 million) on opening day, respectively, last year.
EARLIER: A glass ceiling isn’t the only thing Wonder Woman is poised to break this weekend; the Warner Bros. blockbuster also has its sights set on shattering records for female-fronted superhero flicks as it eyes an opening that could topple $100 million. With only one major newcomer (Fox’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie) entering the fray this weekend as well, Wonder Woman should handily conquer the domestic chart. As for where the rest of this week’s contenders will fall, read on for EW’s June 2-4 box office predictions.
1: Wonder Woman – $100 million+
It’s been more than 75 years in the making, but Wonder Woman is finally headlining her first major standalone feature this weekend, as the namesake DC Comics adaptation storms roughly 4,100 theaters Friday (with Thursday preshows). While the film’s contemporary DCEU forerunners (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) opened to well over $100 million across their three-day debuts, industry forecasts have remained a tad conservative on Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, with the studio expecting an opening in the $70-75 million range.
Still, with some of the best critical reviews for a monolithic superhero picture to date, Wonder Woman has seemingly tapped into a powerful vein, as the narrative surrounding the U.S. political divide has largely been wedged by issues pertaining to gender equality, meaning the $149 million picture is landing at a time when a story about a strong-willed woman fighting back against seemingly insurmountable opposition has more social relevance than ever before.
As we’ve seen in the recent past, critical reviews can make or break a picture at the box office, but when it comes to big-budget tentpoles of the Marvel and DC ilk, these pictures are often review-proof, as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad (44 percent and 40 percent on Metacritic, respectively) earned buckets of cash despite scathing reception from film journalists; On the other hand, Wonder Woman is being hailed as one of the best DC movies of all time, and that certainly can’t hurt its box office prospects.
Historically, action films led by women have performed better in recent years, with all four of Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games films climbing past $100 million openings since 2012, and two prominent Star Wars titles — The Force Awakens and Rogue One — rocketing to worldwide success with women (Daisy Ridley, Felicity Jones) at the center in 2015 and 2016. Before that, Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner, and Charlize Theron each starred in a high-profile action flop (Catwoman, Elektra, Aeon Flux).
Expect Wonder Woman to approach the $100 million mark through Sunday.
2: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – $28 million
While the broad appeal of Wonder Woman will draw single adults and families alike to theaters around the country, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie will hold its own at the box office this weekend when it opens at 3,434 locations. With a popular book series providing a solid foundation of familiarity, primarily with children, the animated title will be difficult for ticket-buyers to ignore, even with titanic competition looming overhead. It doesn’t have the potential to clear the opening grosses of similar summer pictures like or The Secret Life of Pets or The Angry Birds Movie, but it should be in good shape if it posts $25–30 million by the end of the week.
3: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – $22 million
Disney’s fifth Pirates outing is taking on water in the days ahead, as Wonder Woman swoops into the game to steal most of its demographic. The franchise picture already underwhelmed over the Memorial Day stretch, bagging a so-so $63 million over the standard three-day weekend, indicating the once-passionate fanbase for this $4 billion series has mostly jumped ship since its 2003 start. Despite solid audience reception (the film received an A- grade on CinemaScore), expect Pirates 5 to sink roughly 60 percent to $20 million–$22 million this weekend.
4: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – $10 million
At $342 million and counting, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has already zoomed past the $333 million North American haul of its predecessor after just 26 days in release. It bested Baywatch, which premiered last weekend, for the holiday period’s No. 2 slot, meaning another gradual slide in the 40 percent-50 percent range is in the cards.
5: Baywatch – $7.5 million
After an underwhelming launch over Memorial Day weekend, Baywatch is entering troubled waters for its second go-round at the box office, with the all-encompassing appeal of Wonder Woman likely funneling away a large portion of this raunchy comedy’s adult audience. As a whole, comedy has struggled at the box office in recent months, with everything from Amy Schumer’s Snatched to the contemporary reboot of CHiPs coming in below modest industry expectations. Look for Baywatch to take on around $7–8 million through Sunday.
Outside the top five, the Mexican comedy 3 Idiotas looks to extend the winning streak of Hispanic-oriented productions in the modern market, after both Lowriders and How to Be a Latin Lover averaged $8,149 and $10,959, respectively, during their opening frames. The film opens Friday at approximately 325 sites.
Elsewhere, Zoe Lister-Jones’ Band Aid and Demetri Martin’s Dean open in limited release, where they should both translate decent festival reception into healthy bows on the specialty scene.