‘Wonder Woman’ Flogs ‘Fifty Shades’ Opening Record For Female Director With $95M+

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3rd Update Writethru, Friday 4:38PM: Late afternoon industry estimates show Warner Bros/DC and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman rising to $38.5M today, and $95M+ for the weekend. That’s easily the best domestic opening for a female director, beating previous champ Fifty Shades of Grey directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson ($85.1M).  Some think Wonder Woman can tip $100M over three days; we’ll have a better idea later tonight. Too soon to call.

At this box office level, Wonder Woman is beating the debuts of such first-time superhero features as Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange ($32.6M first day, $85M for the weekend), Guardians Of The Galaxy ($37.8M, $94.3M weekend), Thor ($65.7M) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($65M). Wonder Woman even beats the five-day haul of her DC peer Batman Begins ($72.9M).

Other top openings by female directors include Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight ($69.6M), Jennifer Lee’s Frozen (with Chris Buck, $67.4M) and Brenda Chapman’s Brave (with Mark Andrews at $66.3M).
Breaking down age groups by gender last night, Screen Engine/comScore’s PostTrak showed that women over 25 (37%) led the charge into theaters, followed by men over 25 (35%), then men under 25 (15%) and women under 25 (13%). It will be interesting to see whether that latter demo explodes as we head into the weekend as they’re apt to make decisions on the fly, and in groups. Sixty-three percent of the audience bought tickets yesterday vs. 10% more than a week ago. Fifty-three percent watched Wonder Woman in 3D versus 47% in 2D.

Dreamworks

Also doing well is 20th Century Fox’s Captain Underpants with an estimated $8M-$9M per industry sources today and between $25M-$31M at 3,434 venues for the weekend, slotting second. Why so good? Because we hear the movie cost under $30M (before P&A) as it was part of a new experimental model under the DreamWorks Animation umbrella. Great reviews at 84% are certainly helping here. The movie is based on the epic kids books by Dav Pilkey, directed by David Soren and starring the voices of Ed Helms, Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal.

Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales isn’t far behind with $6M today and an estimated $21M in Weekend 2, down 67%, for a 10-day run of $110.4M. Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 looks like $2.5M today and a fifth weekend of $9.5M, down 55%, for an estimated running cume of $353.8M by Sunday.

Paramount’s Baywatch is swimming toward $1.8M today and $5.8M in Week 2, down 69%, for a running domestic total by Sunday of $37.7M.

PREVIOUS, Friday, 7:24 AM: Just in time for her 75th anniversary this year, Wonder Woman finally arrived in U.S. cinemas last night courtesy of Warner Bros/DC and director Patty Jenkins with $11 million. It marks the best preview night ever at the domestic box office for a movie directed by a female. The previous record was held by Sam Taylor Johnson’s Fifty Shades Of Grey, which made $8.6M.

Warner Bros had Wonder Woman estimated at a weekend opening of $65M-$75M, while tracking has been more aggressive suggesting a $90M three-day at 4,165 theaters. Critics were cruel last year with the WB/DC movies Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (27% Rotten) and Suicide Squad (25%), but Wonder Woman at 93% Certified Fresh is the best-reviewed DC movie since The Dark Knight Rises five years ago (87% Certified Fresh). And in this box office marketplace, ruby red Rotten Tomatoes ratings are like hard cash, and as such Warner Bros can count on Wonder Woman overperforming since most moviegoers make their ticket-buying decisions off the aggregator site. On Screen Engine/ComScore’s PostTrak, Wonder Woman received an overall 85% total positive score, with an awesome 70% definite recommend. Forty nine-percent said the movie met their expectations, while 47% said it exceeded expectations.

Wonder Woman’s Thursday night charts above the preview nights of such superhero origin stories as Doctor Strange ($9.4M), Ant-Man ($6.4M), Thor ($3.2M) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($4M), and just below Guardians Of The Galaxy ($11.2M). Of Wonder Woman‘s $11M, $1.5M was generated by Imax.

Further deep diving into audience stats, PostTrak shows that 39% attended last night because of their interest in the DC franchise, 53% because it was a superhero movie, and 31% because they love leading actress Gal Gadot. Even more impressive: a 50-50 split between male and female audience members. Thirty-one percent plan to buy Wonder Woman on Blu-ray, while 24% plan to see the movie again in the theater. 

For years, the Burbank, CA studio has tried to bring the most famous female superhero to the big screen, with previous attempts including a 2005 Joel Silver-produced, Joss Whedon-penned version; a 2003 take involving Wonder Woman’s daughter Donna Troy; the 2007 Kieran and Michele Mulroney-scripted Justice League project in which Diana Prince’s alter ego faces off with Superman; and David E. Kelley’s 2011 NBC pilot. While we’ve had previous female superhero titles in the past like Supergirl and Elektra, Wonder Woman is arguably the biggest major studio feature for the sub-genre with an estimated total production & P&A cost of $300M.

Heading into the weekend, social media monitor RelishMix reports glowing word of mouth from a very good social media universe of 333.5M across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube views and Instagram, and the pic’s social media superhero Gal Gadot, who counts 14.2M online fans.

Says RelishMix, “Fans of the DC character are obviously in a cold sweat awaiting tonight’s opening.  They love Gal Gadot, the fact the film was directed by a woman, and that the critics are giving this adventure solid reviews so far. While it’s interesting to see the feminist side-discussion and the superfans rage on, we also see a fair share of summer moviegoers chiming in exclaiming that the trailer looks good, the cast looks awesome — and so does the action.”

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox’s final release of DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants drew $650,000 from previews at 2,550 locations last night which started at 5 PM. School isn’t really out yet for the K-12 crowd, and it pays to note that DWA’s Home made the same amount of money on March 27, 2015. Captain Underpants, which is known to largely appeal to the handholder kid crowd, will open at 3,434 theaters today with an eye on $20M-$22M.

Among those films in regular release, Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales charted an estimated $3.4M at 4,276 venues yesterday taking its opening-week cume to $93M, 18% behind the first week of its previous sequel On Stranger Tides ($113.6M).

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 from Disney/Marvel collected $1.39M yesterday at 3,871 theaters in second, bringing its four-week tally to $345.7M. Paramount’s R-rated Dwayne Johnson-Zac Efron comedy Baywatch slotted third with $1.34M at 3,647 with a running eight-day cume of $33.2M.

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