BOX OFFICE ROUNDUP: WONDER WOMAN, UNIVERSE SLAYER

Image Warner Bros. Studios

Wonder Woman May Have Slain Universal’s Monster Universe Before It Even Got Started

When Wonder Woman debuted with over 100 million domestically last weekend, Warner Bros and DC were probably asking a few questions after all the celebrating was over.

First, despite all the positive reviews about the latest entry into DC’s super hero universe, the fact couldn’t be ignored that Wonder Woman had the lowest domestic opening of any of the DCEU’s movies. More than a few people were wondering where all the fans that came out to see Man of Steel, Batman Vs. Superman and Suicide Squad were?

And secondly, could Diana expect a similar second weekend drop to those aforementioned movies? MoS dropped 64% in its second weekend; Suicide Squad fell 67% while BvS had the granddaddy of all plummets with an astounding 69% drop. If Wonder Woman experienced a similar drop (especially facing a Mummy remake staring Tom Cruise, arguably the biggest star on the planet right now), it could easily wipe out all the good will her opening weekend generated and throw another severe roadblock in the DCEU’s way.

Well, it looks like the answer to the question about the fans may have been that they were all waiting for the second weekend and Wonder Woman’s outstanding second weekend silenced concerns about her performing power. DC’s Amazon fell just 43.3% in her second frame, she claimed the top spot at the box office for the second week in a row and she now has over 206 million dollars under her domestic belt (she was pulling in record numbers during the week as well). She still owns the third largest domestic opening of the year and by this time next week she will have probably caught both Logan and Fate of the Furious to become the third highest domestic earner of the year as well. After this weekend, it seems millions of moviegoers were asking “Tom Who?”

To add a little perspective to how much steam Wonder Woman has built up, Suicide Squad opened with 133.6 million in North America before falling to a little over 43 million in its second weekend. Wonder Woman opened around 30 million less in its first frame, but collected nearly 16 million more in its second weekend despite facing arguably stronger competition.

And about that competition.

Don’t be surprised to see a few heads beginning to roll at Universal. This weekend was a double-edged sword for The Mummy, the first entry in their ambitious Dark Universe (a shared cinematic universe populated by monsters). On the one hand, its 141 million overseas gross is the best international opening of Tom Cruise’s career. On the other, its 32.2 million domestic opening was a disaster.

We’re not talking King Arthur territory here, but it could prove bad enough to cost a few execs their jobs. Where Universal goes from here, with serious questions about the domestic audience’s appetite for the Dark Universe franchise needing to be answered, remains to be seen. This was Universal’s second (and with a 125 million dollar budget, the most expensive) attempt to launch the Dark Universe, so another shot is out of the question. Right now it looks like they’re plowing ahead with 2019’s Bride of Frankenstein directed by Bill Condon (whose still basking in the billion dollar success of Beauty and the Beast).

Looking ahead, there’s little doubt that next weekend will belong to Pixar’s Cars 3, though the question is by how much. Cars isn’t close to Pixar’s most popular franchise and more than a few eyebrows were raised when they announced they were making a third one (though Lightning McQueen and the gang have proven to be a merchandising dream for parent company Disney). Can it break the hundred million dollar threshold on its opening weekend (Father’s Day weekend, no less)? And how much of a head start can it build before Universal and Illumination release Despicable Me 3 at the end of the month?

Don’t forget, while Universal’s Minions owned the animated box office in 2015, Pixar roared back last year with Finding Dory, one of the top grossing movies on the planet. Who will take round three? You have to admit; watching the budding rivalry between the two animated juggernauts is nearly as entertaining as the watching the movies they make.

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