NEW YORK (AP) – Despite the simultaneous premiere via streaming service, “Wonder Woman 1984” made the best box office debut of the pandemic, which, according to studio estimates, opened on Sunday for $ 16.7 million over the Christmas weekend.
That’s just a faint glimmer of typical business during the holiday season, when the cinemas are usually full and the receipts are among the best of the year. Last year, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker exceeded $ 32 million on Christmas Day alone. According to the data firm Comscore, 35% of all North American theaters are currently open.
But Warner Bros. could still celebrate the showing of “Wonder Woman 1984,” which hit 2,150 theaters at the same time as HBO Max. The film grossed an additional $ 19.4 million in international markets that it began starring in a week earlier. The sequel starring Gal Gadot, directed by Patty Jenkins, has earned US $ 85 million worldwide to date.
“This is a very poor theatrical opening,” said David Gross, who heads FranchiseRe film consultancy. “With more than half of North American theaters closed and the pandemic escalating, the majority of moviegoers and fans have no choice but to watch the movie on TV. The early overseas openings were also weak. “
Warner Bros. has been criticized across Hollywood for its plans to redirect Wonder Woman 1984 and all of its 2021 titles along with a theatrical release to HBO Max in an attempt to increase subscribers. Earlier this month, AT&T CEO John Stankey said the service had 12.6 million activated users, up from 8.6 million as of September 30.
Over the weekend, reports were circulated of some users experiencing technical difficulties streaming Wonder Woman 1984, particularly when playing the movie on Roku. After months of negotiations, HBO Max went live on Roku in mid-December.
Warner Bros. used the returns on Wonder Woman 1984, however, as the best that could be expected under the circumstances. The studio announced on Sunday that it would be speeding up a third “Wonder Woman” film, with Jenkins and Gadot returning.
“Wonder Woman 1984 broke records in the first 24 hours of service and exceeded our expectations for all major ad and subscriber metrics. The interest and momentum we’re seeing suggest this is likely well beyond the weekend will continue, “said Andy Forssell, executive vice president and general manager, direct sales for WarnerMedia. “In these very difficult times, it was nice to give families the opportunity to enjoy this uplifting movie at home where going to the theater wasn’t an option.”
“Wonder Woman 1984” wasn’t the only big movie that hit homes over Christmas. Walt Disney Co. directed the latest Pixar release, Soul, to Disney +. It opened in theaters in some international markets, particularly China, where it grossed $ 5.5 million.
Streaming numbers were not provided for either “Soul” or “Wonder Woman 1984”. According to WarnerMedia, nearly half of HBO Max subscribers saw “Wonder Woman 1984” on the streaming platform on the first day.
Universal Pictures released News of the World, a western starring Tom Hanks and directed by Paul Greengrass, in theaters only. Comcast’s own studio took a different approach during the pandemic, cutting contracts with exhibitors to radically cut the exclusive movie theater window down to just 17 days before moving films to premium video-on-demand. News of the World grossed an estimated $ 2.4 million domestically
Emerald Fennell’s acclaimed “Promising Young Woman,” starring Carey Mulligan, debuted in 1,300 theaters and earned $ 680,000 for Focus Features.