It’s official: Wonder Woman 1984 is a flop. Not only that, but based on how much money the film lost and the widespread repercussions of its release, it may even be the worst film of 2020.
According to a breakdown by FilmDaily, the disappointing sequel is the kind of failure that should make WarnerMedia and its investors second-guess their strategy.
Wonder Woman 1984 reportedly cost $200 million to make, and sadly, it doesn’t look anywhere close to making that back or breaking even. The film did poorly in China on opening weekend, making a paltry $18.8 million and falling far behind the box office numbers for The Rescue, a Chinese-produced film based on the lives of the China Rescue & Salvage team.
The DCEU installment performed worse in 32 other territories by raking in altogether $38.5 million, a figure which also includes $5 million in IMAX ticket sales.
That’s only slightly more than the first Wonder Woman’s opening haul in China. The 2017 World War 1 superhero movie nabbed $38 million in its debut weekend, and when all was said and done, eventually scored a total of $90.5 million in the populous Far East nation.
Wonder Woman 1984 faltering where its predecessor succeeded is largely blamed on COVID, and Warner is trying to spin things into a positive to calm shareholders, with the company justifying a third-movie in the series based on how the film reeled in enough viewers and new subscribers to HBO Max.
But, like Max Lord’s ostentatious appearance and demeanor, looks can be deceiving.
Streaming might be the future, but Warner’s foray into the medium is off to a rocky start. Warner is refraining from reporting box-office “actuals” and placing a greater emphasis on “active user” counts over subscriber numbers.
HBO Max has a similar feature to Netflix where one subscription can be shared among five people with separate profiles. One account can equate to a handful of users, which is what drove Wonder Woman 1984’s performance on the platform.
Add to that the roughly 30-40 million people who already had HBO and got HBO Max for free and you’ll see how inflated the numbers are.
However, there is some good news. According to recently released numbers from Nielsen, so-called users spent a combined total of 2.25 billion minutes watching WW84 between Dec. 25 and 27. Per The Hollywood Reporter, that’s equivalent to roughly 14.9 million complete plays of a 151-minute movie, eclipsing Disney-Pixar’s Soul by 580 million minutes to become the “third highest weekly total for any title since Nielsen began releasing weekly streaming numbers in August.”
THR also notes “Nielsen doesn’t yet regularly include HBO Max in its weekly rankings, although it does count WarnerMedia as a client. The ratings service says that the release of viewing figures for Wonder Woman 1984 is a one-time-only view ‘as we work toward introducing the data externally’ (there’s no timetable for HBO Max to be a regular part of the streaming rankings).”
Outside of monetary concerns, there’s also one more elephant in the room to consider, which is how Warner Bros.’ hybrid release model eroded some filmmakers’ faith in the studio. Two such directors who heretofore enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the studio, Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder, are already seeking greener pastures at Netflix and elsewhere.
In terms of profit, benefit to HBO Max, and the damage done to studio relations, Wonder Woman 1984 is a flop. Some are calling this “unbelievable,” but we saw this coming and – worse than that – it’s not a good omen for HBO Max’s other big-event releases, starting with The Snyder Cut and Godzilla vs. Kong.
What do you make of Wonder Woman 1984’s performance? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!