How many of you remember seeing Inception in theaters? It was great, right? As much as I have my issues with how Christopher Nolan structures his movies and avoids truly lacerating emotions, his abilities as a visual artist are not easy to deny. Inception is almost impressively dull and surprisingly predictable as written by Nolan but is also given ample dazzle by the filmmaker’s vision, shaped in concert with his work with the talented DP Wally Pfister. It was original in premise, looked excellent, and made lots of money at the box office, and yet every studio suit who was asked went out of their way to suggest it was a fluke and that it ultimately made no real argument for supporting auteurs or more original movie ideas outside of the fifth installment of a movie based on a boring amusement park ride.
It’s my very real fear that a similar issue may come up with the remarkable success of Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman, which is now owns the biggest opening for a female-directed film in the history of the American cinema. As I said last week, there is no lack of great female directors out there looking for work, and that’s not even getting into the innumerable female talents that have been making their bones on TV, much like Jenkins did in the aftermath of her Oscar-nominated Monster. The hiring of Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden to helm Captain Marvel for Marvel suggests that studios are learning but if the year goes on and that’s the only big announcement for a major project with a woman (partially) at the helm, I will be at once disappointed and not really all that surprised.
In its second frame this weekend, Jenkins’ movie remained at number one with an estimated $57.1 million and did so while fending off a Tom Cruise movie, namely the latest remake of The Mummy, which came in at second with approximately $32.2 million. (Its worth noting that despite its mediocre domestic earnings, The Mummy cleaned up overseas and the movie itself looks to be Cruise’s best worldwide debut to date, if the numbers stand where they are right now.) I suppose the argument would be that it’s more that Wonder Woman is a DC title than it being female-centric and directed by a woman that got people interested, but that wouldn’t explain away the fact that the demos showed significant increases in female attendance. It’s unlikely that the other movies in the top five, including Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie at third with $12.3 million and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean at fourth with $10.7 million, would pull in such a promising new variation on audience make-up. The same might be said for the fifth place contender, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, which took in $6.2 million this weekend. The question becomes if the studios are interested at all in exploring such avenues when making movies almost exclusively for white males aged 16-45 has already made them rich. We shall see.
Here’s your top five for the weekend:
|Title||Weekend Domestic BO||Total Domestic BO|
|1. ‘Wonder Woman’||$57,180,000||$205,002,503|
|2. ‘The Mummy’||$32,246,120||$32,246,120|
|3. ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’||$12,300,000||$44,562,512|
|4. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’||$10,713,000||$135,839,294|
|5. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’||$6,242,000||$366,361,172|