• Box Office

World Box Office, December 18-20, 2020

It may be too early but the first wave of the international rollout of Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot,  indicates that so far, it’s not beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the box office.

Director Patty Jenkins’ eagerly anticipated Wonder Woman sequel, also starring Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig and Chris Pine, took in an estimated $38.5 million in the overseas territories that have released the movie. In China, the Warner Bros. film earned $18.8 million.

The $38.5 million international earnings fell short of the industry expectations that Wonder Woman 1984 would rake in $60 million in its overseas debut. But the cinematic return of Diana Prince was welcomed more strongly in Latin America.

Hopes are being pinned on the next foreign markets that will open the ninth installment in the DC Extended Universe also starring Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen and child actor Lucian Perez in a prominent role. 

But standing in the way of the sequel at least coming close to the original Wonder Woman’s blockbuster performance is the coronavirus pandemic which continues to surge, with the spike in COVID-19 cases forcing the closing of more cinemas around the world. Movie theaters in several countries, including Italy and Germany, will not reopen until early January.

Amid these pandemic conditions, in China, a local production, the action flick The Rescue, topped the box office chart with initial earning reports of $26.6 million as of Saturday. The action movie that beat Wonder Woman 1984 at the Chinese box office is directed by Dante Lam and Chi-Hung Choi and stars Eddie Peng, Yanlin Wang and Zhilei Xin.

Asia continues to be a rosy spot for the film industry. As cineplex chains struggle worldwide, JinYi Media, a Chinese movie house chain, signed a deal with IMAX to upgrade seven theaters and to install Imax kits in five new cinemas.

China will bolster its status as the largest movie market with estimated gross box earnings predicted to surpass $3 billion this year.

In the North American market, the Milla Jovovich starrer, Monster Hunter, which was pulled from China because of a short scene that was perceived as racist, finally toppled The Croods: A New Age from its number one spot for several weeks. Still, Monster Hunter’s earnings of $2.2 million were considered paltry, compared to pre-pandemic holiday movie ticket sales.

With 66 percent of domestic film theaters still shuttered and the rise of COVID-19 cases still continuing, Monster Hunter is not expected to scale the box office heights of the Resident Evil franchise, Jovovich’s previous collaboration with filmmaker Paul W. S. Anderson.

Despite falling to the second spot, The Croods 2 is the pandemic moviegoing season’s success story with its weekend take of $2 million. The animated movie sequel has now earned $27.03 million since it opened last Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Fatale, the other new film that opened this past weekend, ranked third with $925,000. The Deon Taylor-directed thriller topbills Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy.

Rounding out the top five are the comedy, Luke Greenfield’s Half Brothers ($260,000), and the re-release of the 1982 family movie, Brian Henson’s The Muppet Christmas Carol ($92,000).

Next weekend, Hollywood looks to Tom Hanks’ News of the WorldCarey Mulligan’s Promising Young Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 to bring some good holiday news.