Title: Wonder Woman 1984
Directed By: Patty Jenkins
Written By: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham
Release Date: December 25, 2020
Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielson, Lilly Aspell, Amr Waked
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Box Office Information
- Budget: $200 Million
- Financed by: Warner Bros.
- Domestic Box Office Gross: $46,530,051
- Overseas Box Office Gross: $119,559,196
Based on the DC Comics character Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) is the sequel to the 2017 flick Wonder Woman.
Having already saved the world once in the 2017 movie, fast forward to 1984, and Diana is back in action. This time, immortal warrior Princess Diana of Themyscira finds herself working as an archaeologist and trying to stay under the radar.
Her call to action comes, however, when she is embroiled in a sinister conspiracy of global proportions to steal a rare gemstone. Greed, desire, and deceit abound, as the emotionally vulnerable Diana attempts to save mankind once again.
After the success of Patty Jenkin’s 2017 film, and with the return of Chris Pine as the deceased Steve Trevor, there was a lot of hype and anticipation surrounding the sequel.
In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the suits at AT&T and WarnerMedia were forced to push back the release date from its original date of June 2020. The movie was delayed a total of three times before finally hitting theatres on December 25, 2020.
In an unprecedented move, Wonder Woman 1984 was released simultaneously to theatres and HBO Max.
It is not clear to what degree this affected the Wonder Woman 1984 box office numbers.
Wonder Woman 1984 Box Office Numbers
Wonder Woman 1984 box office numbers were far from impressive. With a production budget of some $200 million, the movie took $46,530,051 domestically and grossed $119,559,196 worldwide at the box office.
The film played to 2,151 theatres in its opening weekend and took $16,701,957 (35.9% of total gross) – a fraction of what the 2017 film took.
Having ranked first in its opening weekend, WW84 held the top spot for a total of 3 weeks – with an average weekend domestic gross of $3,692,861 based on a 12.6 weeks average run per theatre.
Wonder Woman 1984 was released to a total of 32 countries internationally, with the main markets being China (with the largest opening of $18.8 million) with a lifetime gross of $25,500,000, Australia $19,204,042, Taiwan $8,900,000, Brazil $6,900,000, and Mexico $4,959,500.
It’s a Wrap
As speculated by The Hollywood Reporter, industry sources expected Wonder Woman 1984 to lose north of $100 million at the box office.
In reality, you can probably double that number.
Whilst financials are not available for the day-and-date launch on HBO Max – it is unlikely that they mitigated this loss to any large degree. In a move that was likely intended as a bid for new subscribers more than anything else.
A number of mid-range titles were being pushed off to streamers during the pandemic – which makes it somewhat surprising that WW84 got a theatrical release at all.
In any normal year, the numbers would be considered atrocious, and they were far from acceptable by normal industry standards.
Clearly, the pandemic took its toll on the Wonder Woman 1984 Box Office numbers – with theatre closers (only 35% of theaters were open) and stay-at-home orders – on what would otherwise have been a run-of-the-mill sequel release. The 2017 film grossed $100 million in its opening weekend – WW84 was never going to come close to that.
That said, the simultaneous release to SVOD cannot of aided a movie that barely limped across the finish line.
A question mark remains over the future direction of movie distribution in the post-pandemic era. Was this move just a product of exceptional circumstances or an indication of a new direction for the industry? Should studios relinquish the generous high-upside revenues of theatrical releases at all?
Even concluding that circumstances forced on studios due to restrictions and consequent changes in consumer behavior were the main driver. The double-dip of box office and SVOD may prove too tempting for studios going forward.
This, combined with the fact that movies typically make the majority of their gross within 38 days, may well lead to ever shorter theatrical windows. Perhaps this is the biggest legacy of an otherwise mundane sequel.