Struggling Hollywood Needs a Superhero, and ‘Wonder Woman’ Might Be the One

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The summer movie season has not gotten off to a boffo start, with a disappointing debut by the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. So the film industry is hoping a superhero can come to its rescue. That could happen this weekend when the Warner Bros. film “Wonder Woman” opens in U.S. movie theaters on June 2.

Hollywood can be heartened by the fact that the flick is the most anticipated summer movie, according to online ticketing service Fandango. Reviews of the film on Rotten Tomatoes have been mostly positive.

The Los Angeles Times said “Wonder Woman,” with a budget of $120 million, may take in as much as $90 million this weekend. The movie opened in Asia this week, and has generated more than $28 million in sales internationally, according to the motion picture website The Numbers.

The plot revolves around a woman named Diana, princess of the Amazons, who is trained to be a warrior in a remote island paradise. Her idyllic world is changed when an American pilot crashes on the island and tells of a great conflict — World War I — that is engulfing civilization. Diana leaves her home to try and end the war.

Hollywood is in need of a rescue. Memorial Day weekend ticket sales totaled $173 million in the United States and Canada, the lowest result for the four-day holiday period since 1999, according to data from comScore. Besides “Pirates,” whose $77 million take paled in comparison to its 2011 predecessor “On Stranger Tides,” the opening of  R-rated “Baywatch” was a dud and the film was panned by critics.

“Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, stars Gal Gadot in the title role and Chris Pine. It is the fourth installment of the DC Extended Universe, following “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.”

Gadot is a 32-year-old Israeli model and actress who served in the Israeli army. Because of this, there is a movement in Lebanon to ban the showing of the “Wonder Woman” movie in that country.

Jenkins is quite at home with the superhero genre. Her film credits include the 2001 short “Velocity Rules” about a physically awkward housewife turned superhero. She also directed the 2003 movie “Monster” for which Charlize Theron received an Oscar.

Much of the gloom behind surrounding the disappointing Memorial Day opening to the summer has to do with inroads streaming and at-home entertainment have made at the expense of movie theaters.

“Wonder Woman” might be able to live up to the buzz. The film, based on the character that first appeared in DC Comics in 1941, is the first female superhero blockbuster and a rare big-budget movie directed by a woman. It also boasts significant tie-in possibilities as marketers try to tap into the young female audience.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced a new Wonder Woman fashion line to tie in to the movie’s release. “Wonder Woman” also is partnering with protein bar brand ThinkThin, which is offering a discounted ticket and the chance to win a trip to the film’s premiere. Other tie-ins are with NASCAR and Dr Pepper.