Can ‘Wonder Woman’ Break $100 Million on Opening Weekend?

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Following a Friday night opening that rang up an estimated $38.9 million, ‘Wonder Woman’ is estimated to reach opening weekend box office receipts of at least $95 million with a total of $100 million not out of reach. The Warner Bros. film, from Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), opened on 4,165 U.S. screens and in 55 foreign markets where Friday’s receipts topped an estimated $47 million.

If the film reaches $95 million it will be the biggest opening weekend ever for a film directed by a woman, surpassing 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” which rang up $93 million on its opening.

In addition to its ability to ring the cash register, the film, directed by Patty Jenkins, has received excellent reviews, including a score of 75 from Metacritic. To put that in perspective, of the other movies in the DC Extended Universe, only 2013’s  “Man of Steel” scored more than 50. Rotten Tomatoes has a stratospheric fresh rating of 94 for the film.

Writing in The New Yorker, Harvard history professor Jill Lepore notes:

The film seems eager not to offend. … But it’s also remarkably sly, a superhero movie that raises an eyebrow at superhero movies, so bloody and brutal, so senseless and dreadful.

“Wonder Woman” is smart, charming, playful, and glamorous—things not often said of superhero movies. It is also long overdue.

The film has generated unusually high ticket sales among women. According to the Hollywood Reporter, 54% of tickets have been purchased by women. A typical superhero movie would draw an audience that is about 60% male. Also atypical is that males 25 and younger accounted for just 12% of Friday ticket sales, far below the total for a male superhero epic.

Warner Bros. had projected a far more modest U.S. opening of $65 to $75 million and industry observers were looking for a more robust $85 to $90 million.

Whether “Wonder Woman” can reach $100 million in ticket sales this weekend remains to be seen. Either way, however, the film seems to have dented a category overrun with male-dominated superheroes. And as Lepore says, it is long overdue.