Diana wraps up first place!

This very different Christmas weekend had a famous superhero giving a relative boost to the box office as WONDER WOMAN 1984 opened in first place with an estimated $16.7 million.

The second solo adventure of the bullet-deflecting DC Comics icon managed the strongest three-day total since the pandemic began, beating the $9.3 million that Christopher Nolan’s TENET collected over three days during Labor Day weekend.

Given the current coronavirus circumstances, director Patty Jenkins’ follow-up obviously couldn’t compare to the first WONDER WOMAN’s $103.2 million domestic opening back in June of 2017 — for starters, WONDER WOMAN 1984 only released on 2150 screens, about half of the original movie’s reach back when audiences could actually pack theaters. WONDER WOMAN went on to a domestic total of $412 million and $818 million worldwide.

The new Warner Bros. sequel, with Gal Gadot’s lasso-wielding Amazon dealing with Kristen Wiig’s villain Cheetah and Pedro Pascal’s wishful tycoon Max Lord, had a reported cost of $200 million.

The studio’s controversial decision to simultaneously make the movie available via their HBO Max streaming service seemed to meet some technical difficulties, with reports of choppy video and app crashes (along with complaints of 4K unavailability and limited platform options for the channel).

The PG-13 sequel has generated a worldwide total of $85 million thus far (it started internationally last weekend), which combined with its performance on HBO Max was apparently sufficient for Warner Bros. to announce that a third collaboration with Jenkins and Gadot is already rolling on the fast track.

Critics were mixed about their visit to the era of gaudy wardrobe and large hair, giving the movie a 65% average on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 59 on Metacritic. Land your invisible plane on the JoBlo review HERE.

Opening in second place was the new Tom Hanks period drama NEWS OF THE WORLD with $2.4 million as Universal released it on 1900 domestic screens.

Adapted from the Paulette Jiles novel, the PG-13 Western (reuniting Hanks with his CAPTAIN PHILLIPS director Paul Greengrass) cost a reported $38 million.

Critics were mostly satisfied with Hanks’ dangerous journey on the dusty trail, giving the movie an average of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 73 score on Metacritic. Get your wagon on over to the JoBlo review HERE.

Some comparison to pre-pandemic business: This period last year had saga-ender STAR WARS: EPISODE IX – THE RISE OF SKYWALKER on top with $72 million on its second weekend, followed by JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL with $35 million. The last time Christmas Day landed on a Friday was in 2015, when Rian Johnson’s divisive STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE LAST JEDI took first place (also over its second weekend) with $149 million, and the closest competitor was the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy DADDY’S HOME in second with $38 million.

The PG-rated animated sequel THE CROODS: A NEW AGE was in third place with $1.7 million on its fifth weekend in theaters. The Universal-distributed DreamWorks feature (also currently available via premium VOD) has a domestic total of $30.3 million and nearly $100 million worldwide on a $65 million reported cost.

In fourth place was director Paul W.S. Anderson’s PG-13 videogame adaptation MONSTER HUNTER with $1.12 million. The $60 million action movie with Milla Jovovich dropped by 50% from its opening last weekend for a ten-day domestic total of $4.2 million and $13 million worldwide.

Released on 1300 screens through Universal’s Focus Features, the new R-rated black comedy PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN opened in fifth place with $680,000. 

Written and directed by Emerald Fennell (also an actor on the Netflix hit “The Crown”), the revenge thriller with Carey Mulligan got high marks from critics with a 91% Rotten Tomatoes average and a Metacritic score of 71. The JoBlo review can be found HERE.

On the bottom half of the list, the R-rated Hilary Swank/Michael Ealy thriller FATALE was in sixth place with $660,000 for a ten-day domestic total of $1.96 million.

A new spin on the classic wooden-boy fairy tale PINOCCHIO was in seventh place with $274,000 for its debut on 764 screens, followed by the Will Ferrell holiday comedy ELF, the Robert De Niro comedy THE WAR WITH GRANDPA (now on the chart for three months) and the reissue of NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION.

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