‘Wonder Woman 1984’ could have the best pandemic opening if HBO Max does not cannibalize ticket sales


Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.”

Warner Bros.

Can a nostalgia-packed superhero flip convince people to leave their couches and go to the cinemas? “Wonder Woman 1984” seeks to answer this question.

Cinema owners are hopeful that the sequel “Wonder Woman”, which arrives on Christmas Day 1, will lure a major demographic back to cinemas despite continued increases in coronavirus cases.

But the ongoing pandemic is not their only concern. The same day that “Wonder Woman 1984” debuts on the big screen, it will also be available to stream further HBO max.

“‘Wonder Woman 1984’ represents the first test of simultaneous big screen / small screen release of a title of this size,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Ticket office analysts have mixed opinions on how well the film will work at the domestic box office. “Wonder Woman 1984” underperformed last weekend in its international debut, grossing about $ 38.5 million. This was well below the $ 60 million that the industry had predicted.

The film may face even more difficulties in the US and Canada, as only approx. 34% of theaters are open. There are about 2,000 theaters, reports Comscore.

“It’s hard to place a number on the possible opening weekend, as there really is no directly comparable release scenario,” Dergarabedian said. “And the biggest opening weekend since mid-March starting the shutdown of the cinema pandemic did not even eclipse $ 10 million.”

He refers to “The Croods: A New Age”, an animated film from Dreams work, which debuted over Thanksgiving. It had the highest opening of any movie released during the pandemic, a meager $ 9.7 million. For the full five-day Thanksgiving weekend, it raised $ 14.2 million.

Still, there is a demand for “Wonder Woman 1984.” This could convince moviegoers to go to the big screen instead of watching the movie at home.

“We’ve watching ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ drive the strongest ticket sales of any movie in the pandemic era so far, but I’m cautiously leaning towards over $ 10 million over the weekend given the number of theater closings, audience caution and a simultaneous streaming release,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com. “A figure closer to $ 15 million can be achieved, but there is a great deal of unpredictability to be recognized right now.”

Robbins said premium screens like IMAX and Dolby Cinema are likely to be some of the most venues for the sequel because they offer higher quality audio and video. Private party rentals, where moviegoers rent a theater to a group of as many as 20 friends and family members, are also likely to generate a healthy share of the box office.

Over the past five years, Cash Day Christmas Day has generated at least $ 80 million for the single day. This figure will not be seen this year, analysts agree.

In non-pandemic times, “Wonder Woman 1984” could have opened between $ 100 million and $ 150 million, said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. With so many theaters closed, the threat of coronavirus looming, and the availability of the film on HBO Max, Pachter predicted an opening of between $ 15 million and $ 25 million.

“While many choose to stay home this holiday and watch the film, fans and families in markets where they are safe and able to do so can show up in relatively reasonable numbers, even though it is far from what they would typically be for a huge superhero sequel opening for Christmas, ”said Robbins.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Dreamworks Animation.

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