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When it was announced in mid-November that Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman 1984 would be premiering in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, there was quite a lot of concern from exhibitors worried about the precedent that such a release would potentially set . Now that the smoke has cleared after a crazy weekend, however, it's worth recognizing that circumstances are rosier than those pessimistic prognostications. While it's true that many more people domestically watched the movie on the aforementioned streaming service than in a cinema this past weekend, the blockbuster did still manage to sell a large number of tickets and provide a boost to the theater industry in general.
According to Deadline, Wonder Woman 1984 not only had the biggest three-day opening weekend of any theatrical release since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, but the business that it was able to do also caused the value of major theater chains to increase.
From Friday to Sunday, the DC Extended Universe title sold $16.7 million domestically, which tops the total brought in by Christopher Nolan's Tenet back in early September (while that release had the benefit of the Labor Day holiday to juice its numbers, it technically only made $9 million in its first three days). The performance doesn't look like much when you put the numbers side-by-side with those put up by the first Wonder Woman movie in summer 2017, which hit nine figures, but obviously these are different circumstances.
While most major markets remain closed, including Los Angeles and New York, Wonder Woman 1984 played in over 2,100 locations this past weekend in North America – albeit with theaters operating at limited capacity. The film also got a lot of eyeballs overseas where HBO Max isn't available yet, and to date has made $68.3 million in foreign markets. According to Warner Bros., its current worldwide box office haul stands at $85 million (which admittedly means that the film, which had a budget of $200 million before marketing, still has a long way to go before being considered profitable on paper).
As for the theater industry, the markets definitely liked seeing a blockbuster playing on the big screen again. Thanks to the wide appeal of Wonder Woman 1984, the stock prices of Cinemark, Imax, Marcus Corp. and National CineMedia all went up between three and seven percent before the end of the market day on Monday. Hopefully this translates to positive developments for cinemas as the world hopefully turns the corner on the pandemic and starts to return towards normal life.
Check your local listings to see if Wonder Woman 1984 is playing on a big screen near you, and we here at CinemaBlend will keep you up to date with the latest developments about theaters (hopefully) reopening as we launch into 2021.