Wonder Woman 1984 got a lot of attention as the first big blockbuster to have a simultaneous release in theaters and on a streaming service. Many folks assumed that it could spell doom for the movie in theaters. Because of this, box office prognosticators have been eagerly awaiting the results of the film’s first weekend in theaters. With the pandemic still in full force, no one knew exactly what to expect with the release.
However, it looks like Wonder Woman 1984 has done an exceptional job considering all the strangeness surrounding its release. The superhero sequel brought in $16.7 million in its first weekend. That gives it the highest box office for any movie released theatrically during the pandemic. This is especially impressive since the DC movie is playing in fewer theaters than Christopher Nolan’s overhyped Tenet. And it must be a welcome relief for WarnerMedia who have suffered incredible backlash with their simultaneous release decision.
Along with its worldwide earnings, Wonder Woman 1984 now stands with an $85 million cume since its release. Warner Bros. was so pleased with the success that they immediately announced another follow-up that will be getting fast-tracked at the studio. Naturally, this performance would be an unmitigated disaster if the movie had released under normal circumstances. However, considering both the pandemic and the decision to put the movie on HBO Max at the same time as its theatrical release, this level of income for the movie cannot be spun as a failure. This is good news for both DC fans and the theatrical exhibition business. It seems that people were willing to brave a trip to movie theaters for a big event film like Wonder Woman 1984.
While this positive response is worth celebrating, it will be very fascinating to see how big of a drop Wonder Woman 1984 suffers in its second weekend. The film will still be available to HBO Max subscribers until January 24. Will its accessibility on the streaming platform mean fewer people are interested in seeing it in theaters as the month progresses? Or will it be able to claim some more records during the pandemic era by having the largest second weekend of any film released in the midst of the outbreak? Whatever does happen, it is safe to say that WarnerMedia has to be feeling pretty happy right now.
We will have to wait and see if that happiness is sustainable. Wonder Woman 1984 was poised to be a hit no matter what the circumstances, but the rest of the WarnerMedia slate for 2021 will have some difficult barriers to cross. Their next release will be The Little Things, a psychological thriller starring Denzel Washington and Jared Leto. Exactly how much will WarnerMedia push for the film’s theatrical advertising as opposed to its presence on HBO Max? And how supportive will audiences be with this new releasing strategy?
Above all, it is great to see Wonder Woman 1984 perform admirably and that we will be getting another entry in the series. Though critical reaction seems to be mixed with the sequel, we are firmly in its camp (read our 5-star review). Bring on more Wonder Woman!