Following in the footsteps of Sam Taylor-Johnson‘s Fifty Shades of Grey, Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman has both overwhelmingly won the weekend and set a new record for female filmmakers at the box office. With an estimated weekend domestic toll of $100.5 million and a possible global take over $200 million, Wonder Woman now owns the highest box office opening from a female director to date while also ensconced in an A Cinemascore rating and a metric ton of positive notices from critics. And unless Tom Cruise‘s star wattage is enough to bring in audiences for The Mummy next weekend, its likely going to stay at the top of the box office until Michael Bay‘s Transformers: The Last Knight arrives toward the end of the month.
This is heartening news, even for someone like this writer who has found the lack of female voices in major motion pictures wildly disturbing for decades now. Unlike almost every other Oscar-nominated director on file, Jenkins hasn’t made a feature film since Monster, her Oscar-winning treatment of America’s first well-known female serial killer, making Wonder Woman only her second major work after years of directing TV and raising a family. And one of the most remarkable things about the film itself is the confidence that emanates from every shot and the entire film on the whole, suggesting a clear, unified vision in Jenkins’ mind from the get-go. The monetary success of the film alone should make every other studio find their own female-fronted property and call one of the 100 or so great female directors out there to helm it. I’m sure Amy Seimetz, Anna Rose Holmer, Josephine Decker, Sophia Takal, Eliza Hittman, Anna Biller, Debra Granick, Julie Dash, and Tanya Hamilton would all love the extra work.
The ascension of Jenkins’ film is even more striking after one of the worst Memorial Day box office weekends in memory, which saw two horrible movies – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch - square off to see which one could disappoint audiences a little less than the other. Thankfully, both of those movies took a major drop this weekend, with Pirates landing in third with $21.6 million and Baywatch landing in fifth with $8.5 million. The weekend’s other big opener, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, came in second with a healthy $23.5 million take, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continued its impressive reign in the top five at fourth place with $9.7 million.
It’s sad to think that there’s a strong likelihood that this will be the only female-directed movie to sit on top of the box office for the rest of this year and maybe even next year. This is why it’s all the more important to enjoy this weekend and the small reminder that Hollywood’s ongoing capitalistic misogyny is an empty philosophy built exclusively on cowardice.
Here’s the top five:
|Title||Weekend Domestic BO||Total Domestic BO|
|1. ‘Wonder Woman’||$100,505,000||$100,505,000|
|2. ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’||$23,500,000||$23,500,000|
|3. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’||$21,613,000||$114,621,771|
|4. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’||$9,733,000||$355,474,332|