Are we overinflating Wonder Woman’s success at the box office?


As Wonder Woman hits another milestone at the $600 million mark and continues to jump hurdles, it’s time to look at the big picture and put this all into perspective.

Wonder Woman has been in theaters for three weeks, heading into her fourth now. I myself have seen it five times, which speaks to the resounding effects this film has well after one leaves the theater. For comparison, I liked Beauty and the Beast (which finished with $1.2 billion and cracked the Top 10 highest-grossing of all time list) but only watched that once. I didn’t even stay in the room for the Blu-ray re-watch.

Now, Wonder Woman doesn’t seem to have this problem. Instead of making a majority of her money fast and early, Wonder Woman‘s pacing herself. She wants to make this success last. So far, she’s faced no competition this month (Cars 3 took the top spot last week, but not the headlines).

The Hollywood Reporter puts Wonder Woman past the $600 million mark and pegs it as “the top-grossing live-action film of all time from a female director, not accounting for inflation.”

Just look at all the qualifiers for that title: Live-action. From a female director. Not counting for inflation. The previous holder of that rather loquacious title is Mamma Mia! … in a totally different genre.

So let’s walk back to Wonder Woman‘s playground, where the “action heroines” play. In addition to being a billion-dollar franchise, to break into the top 5 (or rather, top 3), Wonder Woman needs to take out all three Hunger Games films. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 still holds about $50 million over Wonder Woman’s domestic total. Further, she’s only about halfway to Rogue One‘s domestic haul. And if Rogue One sits at No. 2, guess who holds the top spot?

If you want to cause a fuss about the Star Wars brand, then let’s look at other DC films.

Wonder Woman will likely edge out Man of Steel‘s $291 million domestic gross soon, but will she get to The Dark Knight‘s level? I mean, people are calling Wonder Woman one of the best DC films, so can she unseat the other film people refer to as one of the best?

“But that was before the DCEU,” you say.

Alright … let’s go back to Batman v Superman. Batman v Superman made $873.3 million worldwide. Domestically, it pulled $330 million, which ain’t bad. Obviously, it didn’t make one billion. Suicide Squad made about the same domestically and ended with about $100 million less total. So the question becomes whether Wonder Woman will be the first DCEU film to break a billion.

Considering that she holds nearly a 50/50 split between domestic and foreign, keeps her percentage drop from weekend to weekend low, I think it’s difficult to tell until Spider-Man: Homecoming opens in July.

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Wonder Woman accomplished everything she needed to and more already, absolutely. But we’re definitely not talking Frozen-money* yet.

*Frozen may have a few qualifiers as well. But it has a lot more in common with Wonder Woman than it appears. Women directed both films (though Jennifer Lee co-directed with Chris Buck). Plus, both feature extraordinary women who don’t understand their power at first. The biggest difference is that Frozen sits at No. 9 on the highest-grossing list and Wonder Woman hasn’t even gotten on the first page yet.