‘Wonder Woman’ box office predictions are all over the place. It’s complicated.
Box office early tracking is like a broken clock — there are times when either can be right.
So take this with a cinematic universe-sized grain of salt: Wonder Woman predictions for opening weekend in North America, which just started coming online this week, range from $65 million (modest, but acceptable) to over $100 million (still a bit soft, in my humble estimation).
The numbers come from a variety of reports published Thursday in the Hollywood trade press, including THR and Deadline — which have it on the low end — and TheWrap, which cites one “outlying” tracking service putting it at $105 million.
(Going purely on instinct here, I’d call that a lowball. Put me down for something creeping up on $110 million, a prediction I feel pretty confident about after years of playing this guessing-game.)
Keep this in mind: Early box office tracking is not meant to predict a film’s outcome; it’s meant to guide a studio’s resource allocation in the late stages of movie marketing. If the bosses at DC/Warner Bros. don’t like what the numbers say today, they can amp up their efforts to goose the result for its June 2 release.
“It could be a sensation,” Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Mashable. “Even if it opens at $65 [million], it could have long-term playability and I think the international numbers will be through the roof given the diverse cast, settings and Gal Gadot being red hot after BvS.”
Meantime, we’ve been hearing some internet grousing about Wonder Woman‘s marketing not being all that robust so far — but I’m not buying that. The good folks over at ScreenRant point out that the film is just being marketed differently, with all the focus on Gal Gadot’s Diana of Themyscira, instead of a shotgunned mish-mash of character posters and garish branding partnerships (like with Suicide Squad).
Given that she was easily the most appealing thing about Batman v Superman, that’s probably a good idea. And Comscore’s “Most Talked About Movies,” based on recent social data, has WW popping well above movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Alien: Covenant and Blade Runner 2049, all of which had major marketing pushes in early May.
And yes, this is all important, because yes, the stakes are high. As my colleague, Mashable movies writer Angie Han, put it in a Slack conversation today:
The anxiety that WW isn’t being marketed heavily enough makes perfect sense … if WW bombs the lesson won’t be “BVS and Suicide Squad ruined the brand” or “we should have marketed this harder” or even “maybe we should have made a better movie.” There’s a real risk that the takeaway will be “see, girl superhero movies don’t sell.”
Sadly, she’s right.
That takeaway (which is just plain wrong — good movies sell no matter the identifying qualities of their lead characters) will sadly endure until something distinctly proves otherwise. And by “distinctly,” I mean a film that’s not superhero-adjacent, like The Hunger Games or Lucy or The Force Awakens or even Ghostbusters, but one that’s an actual, bona fide, comic book-based superhero.
The last couple of outings for such movies, Elektra and Catwoman, were used as ammunition in a now-infamous 2015 email from then-Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter to then-Sony head Michael Lynton that was dug up after the Sony hack. The widely loathed Perlmutter (now severed from all moviemaking decisions, praise Odin) was being reductive, but he’s not wrong about those movies being disastrous.
If Wonder Woman performs like I think it will, we can finally put that sort of wrongheaded thinking to rest once and for all.
And here’s the good news: Even if Wonder Woman comes in at the low end of early-tracking expectations — let’s say just over $60 million in a worst-case scenario — that still puts it on equal footing with character-franchise debuts for 2011 Marvel films Captain America: The First Avenger ($65 million) and Thor ($65.7 million), and better than 2015’s Ant-Man ($57 million).
Here’s betting it beats them all — and even soars past last year’s $85 million domestic start for Doctor Strange — effectively opening the door for all manner of female-centered superhero movies to come.
And there will be so very many, for so very many years … until you are dead and your children are old.