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What Wonder Woman’s Success Means For Superhero Movies

Wonder Woman has all the appearances of a game changer. In its opening weekend Wonder Woman scored $103.1 million at the box office. That figure breaks a significant box office record, as director Patty Jenkins became the first woman to surpass a $100 million domestic total in an opening weekend. It is the biggest opening for a woman director ever.

While Hollywood has trended toward woman directors this summer more than in past years has slightly reversed course this summer—including Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, this summer also features Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Megan Leavey, and Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled—this historic box office success will place an pressure on Hollywood studios to recognize and hire female directors to lead their high-profile tentpole projects.

Not only did Wonder Woman achieve $103.1 million domestic figure, it pulled in $223 million total at the global box office. While DC and Warner Bros. found financial success with properties like Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, the Jenkins-led project showcases that DC can deliver both financially and with audiences and critics alike. Wonder Woman currently sits at a 93% with both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.

“This movie resonated globally,” Warner Bros. domestic distribution boss Jeff Goldstein told Deadline. “Wonder Woman is a woman for our time, and her message and the tone that Patty Jenkins set forth connects with now.

It is just the 15th superhero film to surpass the $100 million opening box office mark. Wonder Woman’s domestic figures best the first two Iron Man movies and both Thor entries.

This should shift Hollywood’s focus from repeating the same generic superhero film formula. Logan and Guardians of the Galaxy, from Fox and Marvel respectively, were deviations from the typical fare expected of the genre. Logan in particular displayed a complexity and respect toward audiences not given as frequently as it should be through these movies.

Wonder Woman is somehow the first standalone movie of the most popular female superhero ever. Domestically audiences skewed 52 percent female, another departure as average superhero movie audiences generally see a 60 percent male audience, as The Hollywood Reporter noted.

The audiences and the critical community has spoken, in other words. Now it’s Hollywood’s turn to listen.

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