Last weekend started with a vague level of uncertainty about whether Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales or Baywatch would lead the pack at the box office, though almost all prognosticators rightly pegged the former as the alpha. In contrast, there’s no such fretting over who will be taking the lead this weekend. Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman will own the weekend wholesale and the take, which could get up north of $100 million when all is said and done, will likely point to a fact that most well-adjusted people on this planet have known for years: movies directed by women and anchored by women can make lots of money and aren’t especially “risky.”
Indeed, Wonder Woman has already brought in some $38.8 million domestically at the box office between Thursday night previews and Friday attendance, putting it way in front of competition from the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It’s a good movie that deserves both the largely positive critical reception and its monetary rewards, and this has inevitably caused trolls, journalists, and general commentators to go all-in while continuing the conversation of women in Hollywood. This began with the kerfuffle over Alama Drafthouse’s decision to hold all-women screenings of the movie, news that made this nation’s most petty men to lose their collective cool and pull out their soapboxes. On the other side, a recent feature in the trades went to ridiculous lengths to make Warner Bros. sound like war heroes for choosing an Oscar-nominated female filmmaker to direct the movie rather than sticking to the old formula that had produced nothing but lucrative dumpster fires. Both reactions are the natural, unfortunate byproduct of doing the right thing.
I don’t foresee Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, the weekend’s other big opener, which landed in the second spot with $8 million, making those kinds of waves.Neither did Pirates of the Caribbean‘s fifth outing, which landed in third place with $6.2 million, nor Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which wrangled $2.6 million on Friday to arrive in fourth, spur such conversations and will likely not share the impact of Wonder Woman. I’m skeptical that the success of Wonder Woman will change much in terms of getting more female directors attached to big movies or making better DCEU movies altogether, but who knows? Perhaps things will get better because of Wonder Woman. For right now, it’s good enough to know that Jenkins’ film is on top and that the noxious Baywatch has been knocked down to number five, with $2.6 million, because of it.