Wonder Woman defends its North American box office title

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, notched a $54 million-plus weekend, a drop of less than 47 percent.

However, it's not all gloomy news for Universal.

"The Mummy" is no match for "Wonder Woman". It's not unusual for big budget films to do two or three times more business elsewhere than domestically, but nearly five times better shows just how little interest USA audiences have in the Dark Universe.

Universal got a good scare over the weekend when the Mummy reboot, starring Tom Cruise, opened to just $32.2 million to place No. 2 in North America behind holdover Wonder Woman. "Wonder Woman" brought in $57.2 million, leading for a second week. The Gal Gadot superhero film has quickly earned more than $205 million domestically in two weeks. The Mummy reportedly cost $125 million to make, although, of course, distribution costs and such like mean it's still some way from profit.

Universal is counting on its planned Dark Universe of monster movies to compete at the box office and bolster its theme parks.

Younger audiences may be more familiar with Brendan Fraser's Mummy trilogy, which emphasized campy fun, anchored by charismatic stars in Fraser's Rick O'Connell and Rachel Weisz's Evelyn Carnahan. The movie is a hit with critics as well, with an impressive 93% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the first "Fresh" movie to come out of Warner Bros. Reviews were poor, and those who turned out opening night gave it an average grade of B- according to market research firm CinemaScore. But should there be any doubt, it's still full-steam ahead for the Dark Universe. It'll be up to Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast) and Bride of Frankenstein to right the ship, with films starring Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man and Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster also in the works.

But while American audiences have become less likely to rush out to his films, "The Mummy" indicated that he, and big-budget action-adventure films in general, remain particularly popular in East Asia.

"The array of titles available for us and the talent we have coming on board for the ones coming up, they all have to operate as an individual title", said Clark. The movie's USA total has quickly flown past $200 million and internationally it has already made more than $435 million in 10 days.

The Mummy is opening in more than 60 territories and on more than 48,000 screens worldwide. Lessons are learned from every movie. It sold a modest $6 million in tickets in its debut.

- Notable new releases "It Comes At Night" and "Megan Leavey" start below the Top 5.

The production budget for Wonder Woman was returned in its first weekend of worldwide box office receipts.

US$6 million in tickets.

Note: Numbers include Sunday estimates and are three-day estimates.

  • Salvatore Jensen