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The Warner Bros. movie, starring Gal Gadot as the marquee superhero, is now headed for a weekend debut of $95 million or more from 4,165 theaters. That would mark the biggest opening of all time for a female director, supplanting Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey, not adjusting for inflation. That film debuted to $93 million over the four-day Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend in 2015, including a three-day haul of $85 million. (Wonder Woman has already scored the biggest opening day ever for a woman director).
Wonder Woman is skewing female, whereas most superhero films draw an audience that’s at a least 60 percent male. Female ticket buyers on Friday made up 54 percent of the audience, according to comScore’s exit polling service, while Warners put that number at 52 percent. Males 25 and younger made up the smallest piece of the pie (12 percent), while females and males over 25 weren’t that far apart, or 37 percent and 34 percent, respectively, according to comScore.
The summer tentpole is prospering thanks to a rapturous reviews and an A CinemaScore.
Overseas, Wonder Woman is opening in almost every major market. The film’s early foreign gross through Friday is $47.1 million from 55 markets, including a $11.7 million from China. It is doing big business in Imax theaters around the globe, including $3.7 million on Friday in North America.
Wonder Woman currently has a stellar 94 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes in a major win for Warners and DC Entertainment, whose Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) were largely snubbed by critics. The film, costing $150 million to make before a major marketing spend, also marks the first time Wonder Woman has received her own big-screen adaptation. (Gadot did appear in Dawn of Justice.)
The film opens as World War I pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and his plane crash on Themyscira, the island of the Amazons, where the Princess Diana (Gadot) has been trained by her aunt, the great warrior Antiope (Robin Wright). Soon, Diana leaves the island to try and stop the war, marking the beginning of her transformation into Wonder Woman.
The weekend’s other new offering, DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, is targeting younger tots and should place No. 2 with $25 million from 3,434 theaters after costing a modest $38 million to produce.
Based on the popular book series, Captain Underpants tells the tale of two fourth-grade troublemakers (voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) who hypnotize their mean principal (Ed Helms) into thinking he’s Captain Underpants, a hero from a comic book. The movie’s characters also include Professor Pippy P. Poopypants (Nick Kroll) and a school snitch named Melvin Sneedly (Jordan Peele).
Among holdovers, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales looks to fall 65 percent in its second weekend to an estimated $22 million, the biggest drop for any film in the franchise. Overseas is a different matter, where the movie remains a potent player and could beat Wonder Woman in some markets.
Dead Men Tell No Tales will place No. 3, followed by fellow Disney release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with roughly $10 million.
Baywatch, which bombed in its U.S. debut last weekend, will round out the top five with an estimated $9 million.
June 2, 12:20 p.m. Updated with weekend estimates.
June 3, 6:45 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and weekend estimates.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins