Wonder Woman’s powers appear to be waning — at the box office.
“Wonder Woman 1984” — Warner Bros.’s much-anticipated sequel to its superhero franchise starring Gal Gadot — suffered a weak weekend debut in China, where it earned a mere $19 million in ticket sales, or less than half of what Hollywood had expected.
Media watchers had pegged the follow-up film to 2017’s “Wonder Woman” to reel in at least $40 million in the Middle Kingdom.
Instead, “Wonder Woman 1984” opened to less than that internationally — or just $38.5 million — as it was rolled out in 32 territories a week ahead of its Christmas Day US debut.
The first “Wonder Woman” movie three years ago amassed $38 million over its opening weekend in China on its way to a total haul of nearly $91 million. At its current pace, the follow-up film could struggle to earn half that.
The $200 million Patty Jenkins-directed sequel is one of many Hollywood productions to be plagued by the worldwide health crisis. After numerous theatrical delays, AT&T’s Warner Bros. last month announced that it will release the film in the US on its HBO Max streaming service and in theaters that have not been shuttered by the coronavirus.
Its tough start in international markets may also be due to fears of the coronavirus resurgence that’s forcing regions that had previously attempted to reopen to shut down again, analysts said.
This may be true even in China, where the box office has been showing some recent softening, according to a recent report by Goldman Sachs analyst Michael Ng, who noted that China ticket sales fell 29 percent in October over last year and by 51 percent in November.
“Wonder Woman 1984” also faced tough competition from “The Rescue,” a local film about a rescue unit within the Chinese coast guard, which made $35 million in its debut, according to ticket sales tracker Box Office Mojo.