Though its overseas returns were less than stellar, superpowered sequel Wonder Woman 1984 brought in record-setting numbers at the Christmas-bolstered box office this past weekend, despite the controversial dual-release of Patty Jenkins’ film to HBO Max and theaters.
With an estimated $16.7 million brought in at the domestic box office, 1984‘s numbers might sound unimpressive. When you consider that the first film brought in over $100 million upon its debut back in 2017, that number seems even less boast-worthy. The fact is that 1984‘s opening weekend is the highest gross achieved for a film’s theatrical debut since the pandemic started. To put things in perspective, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, one of the biggest tentpole films of the year, opened to a $9.3 million dollar weekend. Wonder Woman 1984 has raised an additional $68.3 million from its release to international markets.
Wonder Woman 1984 is also the first film to be featured in Warner Bros.’ controversial streaming plan, which has their entire 2021 catalogue of films premiering on HBO Max (for a month) alongside theatrical showings, where available.
Joining the news of the film’s success, Warner Bros. chief Toby Emmerich has confirmed that a third Wonder Woman film has been greenlit for development starring Gal Gadot in the title role, directed by Patty Jenkins once again. Jenkins was recently revealed to be developing a Rogue Squadron film, set within the Star Wars universe, for Disney.
With theatrical screenings still unavailable for many in the US, amidst raging virus numbers, the positive reception of Wonder Woman 1984 is a somewhat surprising development, especially considering the studio’s decision to push their streaming service. How 1984‘s commercial reception will factor into future HBO Max developments remains to be seen, but certainly this will be a considerable moment for the future of theaters, and Warner Bros.’ plans.