Wonder Woman breaks the record set by Fifty Shades of Grey for the biggest opening weekend of a film directed by a woman. Wonder Woman – which marks the solo movie debut of the Amazon warrior princess following her introduction in 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – is the first live-action solo project for the character since Lynda Carter brought her to life on the classic 1970s TV series. Subsequent attempts to create a live-action project for the DC icon unfortunately failed, including TV producer David E. Kelley’s proposed series starring Adrianne Palicki, which never made it past the pilot stage.
Wonder Woman’s fortunes changed, however, not only thanks to Gal Gadot’s scene-stealing performance in Batman V Superman, but with the hiring of Patty Jenkins to direct the project. A seasoned indie filmmaker who wrote and directed Charlize Theron in her Best Actress Oscar-winning role in Monster, Jenkins came to the project after parting with Marvel Studios over “creative differences” on Thor: The Dark World.
Deadline reports that Wonder Woman’s estimated domestic box office take of anywhere from $97 million to $100 million will be more than enough to break the record for the highest opening weekend gross for a film directed by a woman. The previous record holder was director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s 2015 smash romance thriller Fifty Shades of Grey, which earned $85.1 million in its opening frame in 2015.
Originally projected four weeks ago to earn about $65 million in its opening weekend, Wonder Woman has enjoyed a huge burst of momentum over the past couple weeks, including favorable critics’ buzz, positive early reviews and a “certified fresh” rating on movie critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The icing on the cake came courtesy of Carter, who declared Wonder Woman a “wonderful movie” after she joined Jenkins and Gadot at the film’s premiere.
Wonder Woman’s box office gross isn’t the only new landmark to emerge out of the film’s opening weekend. According to Box Office, 52 percent of the film’s audience on opening day were women (53 percent of which were under age 35), making Wonder Woman the first DC or Marvel film with a female majority on opening weekend.
With any luck, the impressive achievement by Jenkins with Wonder Woman will help further close the gap when it comes to feature films with women at the helm. Citing a University of California study, Deadline says of the top 1,000 films between 2007 and 2016, only 4 percent were directed by women.
Hopefully 2017 will be the year when Hollywood finally wakes up and takes some meaningful action over the disparity, not only because of achievement by Jenkins, but Sofia Coppola, who with her Western drama The Beguiled last weekend became only the second female filmmaker in history to win Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. Change is no doubt coming, and with Jenkins and Coppola leading the charge, that change is destined to come sooner than later.