The DC comic universe—owned by Warner Bros. and containing icons such as Batman, Superman, and the rest of the Justice League—marked its return to stellar storytelling over the weekend with Wonder Woman.
The movie scored an A on CinemaScore and a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. It also topped the global box office and became the first feature film directed by a woman to cross the $100 million mark in the US during its opening weekend. But as a superhero movie, Wonder Woman’s actual box-office performance was modest. It made the smallest debut at the domestic box-office (US and Canada) of the four films in the DC Extended Universe, which began in 2013.
Its predecessors—Man Of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and Suicide Squad—all easily exceeded that $100 million milestone during their respective openings, according to Box Office Mojo data.
They also had bigger average returns per theater—a metric that adjusts for variations in the number of theaters the movies played in. (The data does not adjust for the number of screens each movie was available on.)
To be sure, Batman and Superman are two of the most popular superheroes of all time and have a built-in audience, even if the movies left fans wanting. The US box office is off to a slow start this summer, too, thanks to an underwhelming film slate and strong competition from TV and streaming titles.
Man Of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and Suicide Squad DC titles all sputtered out pretty quickly after critics and audiences tore into them. The opposite appears to be happening with Wonder Woman, Box Office Mojo found:
The critical opinion definitely aided the film’s awareness as the buzz only continued to grow throughout the week. Following an impressive $38.76 million Friday that buzz was no longer due to critics as audiences gave the film an “A” CinemaScore, pushing the film over $100 million for its opening weekend, the first female directed feature to achieve such an opening.
The movie picked up an additional $122.5 million in overseas return, bringing its total gross to $223 million. Wonder Woman is expected to hit $300 million at the US and Canadian box-office during its full run, which would put it ahead of Man of Steel, domestically.
Women may get the movie there. Over the weekend, 52% of Wonder Woman’s audience was female, which is unusual in a category that’s normally dominated by men. It also beat out the first Captain America and Thor films from Disney’s rival Marvel universe, when adjusted for ticket-price inflation.
It came in behind Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men Origins: Wolverine in terms of superhero origins films.
Overall, Wonder Woman’s performance during the weekend restored some confidence among analysts in what has so far been a disappointing summer at the US box office.
“Fortunes rise and fall very quickly within the very small summer movie eco-system and only five weekends into the season, a solid overall marketplace performance can have a profound impact on the bottom line,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore, told Variety. “The trick now is to keep this momentum rolling as we head into June and beyond.”