Courtesy of Clay Enos | Warner Bros.
“Wonder Woman 1984” used its lasso of truth to rope in a modest $5.5 million over the New Year’s holiday. The sequel also ensnared another $10.1 million from overseas markets, bringing its global total to a ho-hum $118.5 million.
Wonder Woman may be an iconic comic book character, but the film’s lackluster results aren’t that surprising given how severely coronavirus has upended the movie business. However, the weekend’s domestic grosses do represent a steep decline, signaling waning interest from fans, and are a far cry from the box office returns of pre-pandemic blockbusters. Stateside, “Wonder Woman 1984,” which is being released by Warner Bros., has earned $28.5 million.
The superhero sequel, which is currently suffering some social media backlash for not rising to the level of its beloved predecessor, is being simultaneously released on HBO Max in a bid to bolster the WarnerMedia streaming service and as a concession to a global health crisis that’s left the theatrical distribution landscape severely diminished.
The company has issued some vague numbers touting “Wonder Woman 1984’s” popularity on HBO Max, but little in the way of hard data. With a budget of $200 million, the film had better goose subscription numbers for the service to make up for the tens of millions it will likely lose at the box office. Warner Bros. did announce that Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins will reunite for a third film in the franchise, a sign that it believes the Amazonian warrior is a vital part of its plans for growing its DC cinematic universe.
Beyond “Wonder Woman 1984,” Universal and Dreamworks Animation’s “The Croods: A New Age” pulled in $2.2 million in its sixth week of release. That pushes the animated sequel’s domestic haul to $34.5 million and its global total to just under $115 million. The film is being released due to a pact between the studio and major exhibitors such as AMC and Cinemark by which the movies can get released premium video on-demand with two weeks of their theatrical debuts. In return, struggling theater chains get a cut of the digital revenues. Universal also released “News of the World,” a western that reunites Tom Hanks with his “Captain Philips” director Paul Greengrass. The film grossed $1.7 million, pushing its domestic total to $5.4 million. Netflix bought the international rights to the movie this winter. Hanks stars as a Civil War vet who must return a young girl who was captured by natives to her remaining family.
Sony’s “Monster Hunter,” a video game adaptation with Milla Jovovich, took in $1.2 million to bring its domestic total to $6.3 million. Lionsgate’s “Fatale,” a psychological thriller with Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy, grossed $700,000 in its third weekend of release. That brings its total to $3.1 million.
Focus’ “Promising Young Woman,” which like “News of the World” and “The Croods” sequel is part of its parent studio Universal’s deal with exhibitors, picked up $660,000 in its second weekend. Its domestic total now stands at $1.9 million. “Promising Young Woman” has inspired a great deal of chatter over its provocative look at sexual violence and revenge, and has earned awards buzz for star Carey Mulligan’s performance.
Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” has been streaming on Disney Plus over the holidays, but it has been made available in theaters in overseas markets such as China, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. The animated story of a middle school music teacher whose soul gets separated from his body grossed $16.5 million in its second weekend of release. That pushes its total to $32.5 million.
The grosses for these movies were modest (at best), ushering in 2021 on a muted note. Still, Hollywood, hit hard by coronavirus, is eager to turn the page on last year and to look forward to a time, perhaps a few months from now, when the general public will be vaccinate and moviegoing will return as a popular pastime.
Variety's Brett Lang contributed to this post.