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Can ‘Wonder Woman’ Rescue the Summer Box Office?

With rave reviews and strong word-of-mouth, “Wonder Woman” looks like it could be the hit Warner Bros. and DC have been waiting for

With “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” now far in the rear view mirror and with “Alien: Covenant,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and “Baywatch” all performing below expectations, the summer box office is in desperate need of another hit to stop the struggles in May from carrying over to June. Just in time, here comes Warner Bros. and DC Films with “Wonder Woman,” a movie that looks like it may be the long-awaited hit the DC Extended Universe has been waiting for.

When tracking numbers first surfaced three weeks ago, trackers were split on the film’s performance, with projections ranging from as low as $65 million to as high as $105 million. Now, three days away from release, trackers have settled on a $88 to $95 million target from 4,100 plus locations, with Warner Bros. keeping their projections far more conservative at $65-$75 million, which would be comparable to the openings for “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

But those tracking numbers came before rave reviews starting pouring onto the internet Monday evening, as critics hailed the movie as a must-see film and the best DC movie in years. With 70 reviews filed, the film currently boasts a sterling 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. That score is higher than any Marvel or DC movie ever, though the film still has a long way to go on the Tomatometer, as tentpole releases can get close to 300 reviews filed on the site.

Still, news of the film’s acclaim following the lift of the review embargo has jolted the film’s word-of-mouth on social media, giving this picture some serious upside. If positive reviews keep coming in and Rotten Tomatoes  gives the film a “Certified Fresh” rating, it would be the first DC film to earn it since “The Dark Knight Rises” five years ago.

Warner Bros. and DC Films could very much use some big success after the disappointing critical reception for “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad,” but so could the rest of Hollywood, which is looking for a movie audiences will get behind after a brutal May that saw the total domestic box office gross take an approximate 22 percent drop from last year and 44 percent drop from 2015, according to data from Box Office Mojo. Aside from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” many moviegoers stayed home this past month, making the Memorial Day weekend box office the lowest since 1999.

But “Wonder Woman,” while based off a famous comic book character and building hype off of Gal Gadot’s introductory cameo as the heroine in “Batman v Superman,” can provide something that the summer season desperately needs: a fresh feel. Fans and critics alike are hailing the film for revitalizing the superhero genre by putting a female superhero front and center on the big screen. By providing something both new and familiar, “Wonder Woman” could give ticket sales the shot in the arm it needs.

“Warner Bros. could have never predicted this when they set ‘Wonder Woman’ for this early June release date, but they have the perfect timing for an industry that came off a lackluster month,”  comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian told TheWrap. “I think every studio should be happy to see a film like this hit the market and serve as a reset for the summer.”

If the hype for “Wonder Woman” can help the film break the current streak of underperforming new releases that has plagued cinemas over the past few weeks, it could also provide the June box office with strong holdovers in later weekends. This is something that WB and DC could really use, as the root of its woes with “BvS” and “Suicide Squad” stemmed from their steep drop after opening weekends well over $100 million. Thanks to weak critical and audience reception, both of those films took a 68 percent hit in their second frames. Compare this to Marvel Studios, which has consistently kept drop-offs for its films at under 60 percent. With positive reviews now in hand, “Wonder Woman” could enjoy similar results.

“Wonder Woman” will see Gadot return to the titular role to portray the rise of Diana, daughter of Hippolyta, from an Amazonian warrior princess to an internationally-known hero in the patriarchal society that lies beyond the paradise she calls home.

Her introduction to the place she calls Man’s World comes in the form of American World War I airman Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who tells her of the horrors happening outside of Themiscyra. Shocked by the news, Diana decides to leave Themiscyra with Steve and travel to London to bring an early end to the war.

The film also stars Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, and Connie Nielsen. Patty Jenkins is directing, and Zack and Deborah Snyder are producing the film with Richard Suckle and Charles Roven.