Early tracking numbers have come in for one of the most anticipated titles of the summer: Warner Bros. and DC Films' "Wonder Woman," due in theaters on June 2, and they're all over the map.
The majority of independent trackers have set a domestic opening weekend in the $65 million range -- while one outlying service projects a whopping $105 million debut.
No one expects director Patty Jenkins' film to match the $166 million opening for last year's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" or the $133 million opening for "Suicide Squad," which earned mostly poor reviews and ultimately suboptimal box office results.
But Warner Bros. would be delighted with a debut that came close to the launch of some of Marvel's recent franchises, including 2015's "Ant-Man" ($57 million domestic opening) or last year's "Doctor Strange" ($85 million). That would be a major triumph for a movie fronted by a female superhero, played by relative newcomer Gal Gadot as opposed to more familiar big-screen stars like Paul Rudd or Benedict Cumberbatch.
For "Wonder Woman," the true test is whether it can avoid the steep second-weekend drop that has plagued its recent DC predecessors. All three films in the Zack Snyder-helmed universe have taken a big hit after opening weekend once poor critical reception and word of mouth poisoned moviegoer interest outside of DC's hardcore fans. "BvS," "Squad" and "Man of Steel" have all suffered second-week drop-offs between 65 and 70 percent, with "BvS" having the highest second-week total with a mere $51 million.
Compare that to "Captain America: Civil War" and "Iron Man 3," which kept their drop-offs just under 60 percent by posting $72 million in their second frame.
In addition, the June 2 release slot means "Wonder Woman" will face much stiffer competition after its opening than "BvS" or "Suicide Squad" did. Despite their drop-offs, those films stayed at No. 1 in their second frame as they faced competition like "God's Not Dead 2" and "Sausage Party," neither of which were aimed at a mainstream audience.
"Wonder Woman," meanwhile, will find itself trading paint with Pixar's "Cars 3," which looks to continue the major box office success enjoyed by "Finding Dory" last year, along with Universal's reboot of "The Mummy." With such major competition dividing moviegoers' attention, "Wonder Woman," probably more than any other tentpole release this summer, needs to have strong word of mouth to ensure enduring success throughout June and to restore fans' trust in the direction of the DCEU prior to its first big ensemble feature, "Justice League," which is due out this November.
The good news is that the film got a solid social media push this past weekend after a new trailer for the film was featured at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, along with a sneak peek clip aired during Fox's "Gotham." According to comScore, "Wonder Woman" scored 28,000 new conversations on social media this past week, second only to "Dunkirk," which released a new trailer this past week and got a major social media boost from Twitter-savvy One Direction fans anticipating Harry Styles' first major movie appearance.
Warner has been reserved with its advertising for the film so far, but the tracking data shows anticipation is still high regardless, and promotion for the film is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks once "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" has run its course with comic book movie fans.
Much of the marketing department's job has already been done for them, as Wonder Woman had a featured role in "Batman v Superman" last year as part of an effort to increase interest in the character. The cameo worked, as while other elements of the film were heavily criticized, Gadot's portrayal of Themiscyra's greatest champion was better received with critics and fans alike.
"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. Zack and Deborah Snyder are producing the film with Richard Suckle and Charles Roven.