Box Office Brasserie – Movie News For Movie Lovers
Wonder Woman To The Rescue!
Back in the summer of 1989, Tim Burton’s “Batman” was all the buzz and audiences ended up going batty, thanks, in part, to Prince’s Batdance, but mostly because Warner Bros. finally put together a definitive comic book adaptation featuring the caped crusader, something that broke the mold for all superhero flicks, and ushered in multi-tiered merchandising in a major way, forever thereafter.
And now, nearly three decades later—talk about delayed affirmative action—with cineplexes awash with spandex-clad superhero flicks, and codpieces up the wazoo, we can finally welcome the definitive superheroine, “Wonder Woman.”
Outside of “Superman” and “Batman,” DC has struggled mightily with public perception compared to Marvel, whose cinematic universe has been the critical darling and the standard to which all other comic book adaptations are compared.
Well, I’m here to tell you, DC finally cracked the code: girl power has officially arrived.
Whereas DC’s “Suicide Squad,” “Green Lantern,” and “Batman V. Superman” faced a massive critical crossfire—none of them registering above 26% fresh on the review aggregate, Rotten Tomatoes—“Wonder Woman” arrives at the perfect time, at a place just when the industry needs her the most, sporting the best reviews of the summer at 92%.
With the sequel slump already in full effect this season, just like 2016, this is exactly what theaters need–good word-of-mouth and something for audiences to get downright giddy about.
Gal Gadot, princess of the Amazon, and arguably the best part of “Batman v. Superman,” delivers a career-defining performance with “Wonder Woman,” while director Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” “Arrested Development,”) captures the Marvel-esque flow in a feminine fashion that has way more to do with empowerment than, say, cleavage, which fans of both genders will flock to.
Yes, we’re likely talking about a debut north of $100M+, folks, and maybe even as high as $125M. That said, WB is going conservative, predicting a debut of around $70M this weekend.
Truth is, outside of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2″ it’s been a pretty lackluster series of wannabe blockbusters so far this summer, so it’ll be fitting that girl power saves the day, as Wonder Woman is certainly the most well-known comic book character of the female gender.
She deserves this. We deserve this. It’s been a long time coming. 28 years since “Batman,” people. 28 years. Not only are audiences going gaga over the film, but critics are wowed as well.
Whereas last summer failed to rally girl power with the ill-conceived “Ghostbusters” reboot, “Wonder Woman” succeeds with action as the main distraction, a degree of empathy that only a woman can harness, as well as a tinge of comedy and romance. In other words: the perfect summer flick has arrived.
Remember suffering through “Catwoman,” “Elektra,” and heck, even “Barb Wire?” While none of those female comic book adaptations had the script support or budgetary backup—”Wonder Woman” clocks in at $150M—this feels like something fresh, much the way Burton’s “Batman” did back in ’89.
And get this: the studio isn’t even selling her in a swimsuit?!? Look how far we’ve come, people! Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson whipped off their shirts, but their rippling bods could hardly muster up a box office bulge for “Baywatch,” as it debuted with a wimpy $18M last weekend.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman’s posters feature words like “power,” “wonder,” and “courage,” instead of: yo, check out her rack. That’s a lot different from the 1980s TV series, where Linda Carter’s version was sold on her sexuality–in other words, the tightest swimsuit they could get away with on ye ol’ boob tube.
FYI- She was my brother’s and my first crush. And we didn’t even really know what a crush was. I think we just wanted her to be our mom. Make us sandwiches. Tuck us in at night. Sorry, mom.
Also set to Melvin theatergoers, especially young males, is DreamWorks’ Animation’s “Captain Underpants,” the animated adaptation of the insanely popular series of graphic novels from author Dav Pickly.
As is usually the case when you open against a film that pulls in $100M+, the other competitors get short changed. “Underpants” may get a box office wedgie on the low-end of $25M or so, but should have a healthy run through the summer as family entertainment will be at a premium.
In limited release, CBS Films drops Demetri Martin’s directing-writing-acting opus, “Dean,” albeit with very little fanfare. Those who search it out will likely be rewarded, and fans of his stand-up will likely treasure it. The dramedy also stars the always sublime, Kevin Kline as his father.
In moderate wide release, Lionsgate delivers another film of latin-flavor with “3 Idiotas.” Should do moderate business, maybe close to $1M in 350 theaters.
- Wonder Woman – $110M
- Captain Underpants – $27M
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – $26M
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – $12M
- Baywatch – $8M
CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Fox’s “Murder on the Orient Express” (Nov. 10, 2017)
Kenneth Branagh is a vastly underrated director…and actor. Here he remakes Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit. Looks like a lot of fun. And that cast…perfection.
The only thing out of place is the “Imagine Dragons” song at the end of the trailer. What a waste of money. Someone should be sternly chastised for that or even just publicly shamed–completely out of place and out of touch with what’s going on here. Can we get a remix, Fox?
Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.