Wonder Woman box office predictions all over the map

Contributed by
May 14, 2017, 7:42 PM EDT (Updated)

One of the great mysteries of this summer's movie season is just how much money Diana of Themyscira's first standalone feature film will make.

Here we are, 75 years after the character made her debut in the comics, and Wonder Woman is at last getting her own theatrical motion picture. Of course, she made her debut last year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with fans and critics alike both singling out her appearance -- and Gal Gadot's performance -- as one of that film's highlights. But now she's got her own movie to carry, and the question is: Can she do it?

According to the people who track box-office predictions for a living, the prospects for the opening weekend of the Patty Jenkins-directed film are right now all over the place. The Wrap reports that several tracking services have estimated an opening weekend for Wonder Woman ranging from $65 million to $70 million, with one outlier predicting a much higher $105 million debut.

Deadline also pegs the film for a $65 million opening weekend, which would place it right in line with 2010's Thor and 2011's Captain America, both of which made around the same in their first weekend out. But that also places Wonder Woman far behind the two previous DC Extended Universe films, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, which opened with $166 million and $133 million respectively.

More important will be the picture's longevity -- will the box office plunge 70 percent in the second weekend like Batman v Superman did due to poor word of mouth, or will Diana punch her way to a relatively strong 50 percent drop like most superhero blockbusters? That depends on what kind of buzz about the movie emerges from that crucial first weekend.

If Wonder Woman is a success, both critically and financially, it will both bolster the wobbly standing of the DC Extended Universe and provide another nail in the coffin of Hollywood's ongoing reluctance to create tentpole films based around female lead characters. Yes, the studios are still hesitant, even with films like The Hunger Games series printing money for their distributor.

But if Wonder Woman does not do as well as the studio would like, or tanks completely, look for those same arguments to be trotted out about how women can't lead blockbusters, women don't want to see them, on and on and on until you want to pull your eyes out.

The truth is, many factors could either make Wonder Woman a hit or a miss, the quality of the film itself being the most important. But less-than-superlative marketing, a crowded release schedule, and audience unfamiliarity with either Gadot or even the character herself could all play a role.

And if the movie does open to $65 million or more, that's a positive outcome for everyone: the studio, the director, Gadot, the character, and most of all, the fans, young and old alike, who have waited patiently to see one of the comics' greatest superheroes get her well-deserved due. As another woman -- Hope Van Dyne in Ant-Man -- said, "It's about damn time."

Wonder Woman opens on June 2.

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