June 3, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Wonder Woman” Becomes Summer’s Superhero; “Pirates” Collapses


WONDER WOMAN (RatPac/Wanda/Ten Cent/DC/Warners) is proving to be exactly what its studio–and the summer box office in general–needed.  For Warners, it’s giving the embattled DC mega-franchise its first taste of critical praise since the days of The Dark Knight, which is important in itself, and that’s paying off in ticket sales.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline give Wonder Woman a $39M opening day (including $11M from Thursday night), and since word of mouth should be very strong, it’s likely to claim a $100M weekend.  That would make it the #4 superhero origin movie of all time, behind only Deadpool ($132.7M), Man of Steel ($116.6M), and the 2002 Spider-Man ($114.8M).  It should also enjoy a lengthy run, even in the midst of summer blockbuster competition.  We’ll see on Sunday what the international response looks like, but healthy profits on around $300M in production/marketing costs are a certainty.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE (DreamWorks Animation/20th) is more modest in every way.  The Captain was produced on an unusually low production budget for a DreamWorks Animation movie, reportedly under $40M, and even with a big-studio marketing campaign, its total costs are in the neighborhood of $150M.  After a $7.6M Friday, it should reach an OK $25M for the weekend.  The big question it faces is how it will hold in the face of Cars 3 in 2 weeks.

The arrival of Wonder Woman was terrible news for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (Disney), which plunged 74% from last Friday to $6.1M, for what may be an awful $21M weekend.  That puts it on track for no more than $160M in the US, by far the worst of the Pirates franchise (down more than 30% from On Stranger Tides, which had been the lowest).  Even if Pirates can duplicate the US/international split of Fate of the Furious and make 4x as much overseas as it does here, it will still be at only $750M worldwide, again down 30% from the franchise’s last installment.  Disney will have a big decision to make as to whether additional chapters of the expensive series make financial sense.

BAYWATCH (Huahua/Shanghai/Skydance/Paramount) also had no staying power, down 58% from last Friday to $2.4M.  It might earn $8M for the weekend, and probably won’t reach $60M in the US, with uncertain prospects overseas.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 (Marvel/Disney) is nearing the end of its thriving run, down 54% Friday-to-Friday to $2.4M, with a $10M weekend ahead as it stretches for $375M in the US.

ALIEN: COVENANT (TSG/20th) is playing out its string, down 61% from last Friday to $1.1M, on its way to a $3.5M weekend and perhaps $75M in the US, another franchise with a shaky future.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."