ByRobert Maynard, writer at
Student of Linguistics and Communication at UNH. Eagle Scout. Amateur screenwriter and director. I speak English and French.

Wonder Woman has just set another box office record.

The Patty Jenkins-helmed DC flick has today surpassed Spider-Man at the international box office, which is a significant milestone. In overtaking Sam Raimi’s 2002 film, Wonder Woman has become the highest grossing superhero origin film in the world, with a box office total of $821,749,588 as of this writing. While there are still a handful of superhero films that have performed more successfully than Wonder Woman, they are all reboots, sequels or team-up films. The box office figures for each of those films was undoubtedly bolstered by the appeal of characters that audiences had already seen on the silver screen. Jenkins’ film, released in June of this year, was indeed the first in which Wonder Woman was featured as the protagonist of a film, making this record all the more impressive.

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

The film has also made a name for itself among the ever growing list of modern superhero films. It is currently sitting in 11th place for worldwide gross among superhero films. The Top 15 list has potential to change with the release of each new superhero film, but it currently looks like this:

  • The Avengers, with $1.518 billion
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron, with $1.405 billion
  • Iron Man 3, with $1.214 billion
  • Captain America: Civil War, with $1.153 billion
  • The Dark Knight Rises, with $1.084 billion
  • The Dark Knight, with $1.004 billion
  • Spider-Man 3, with $890.8 million
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming, with $879.8 million
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with $873.3 million
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with $863.6 million
  • Wonder Woman, with $821.75 million
  • Spider-Man, with $821.71 million
  • Spider-Man 2, with $783.8 million
  • Deadpool, with $783.1 million
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, with $773.3 million

Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy are the only true standalone films on this list, with the others all serving as sequels or reboots to already popular franchises, or acting as a closing chapter for an interconnected series of films, as The Avengers did with the MCU's Phase 1.

The achievement reinforces the effectiveness of solid filmmaking technique in superhero films: Wonder Woman was, by all accounts, a critical and commercial success, and opened to immense audience approval as well. While the DCEU’s major competitors are forces to be reckoned with, Wonder Woman was the first chapter of the DCEU that was a hit on all fronts, at least securing the Warner Bros. distributed film series a place at the superhero table. Previous films in the connected universe include Man of Steel, which performed modestly at the box office, and the 2016 duo of films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Audiences and critics alike remain uncertain of which film was the worse outing, but most agree that they collectively represent a low point in the DCEU thus far.

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

Wonder Woman changed that: the DCEU now stands as a viable film series in an ever-saturating market of superhero films, as does the now confirmed series of Wonder Woman films. The first film of a franchise typically needs to demonstrate staying power and audience engagement with the character on which the film is based: a sequel or reboot is typically only greenlit if reaction to the original film is positive. Unsurprisingly, a sequel to Wonder Woman has already been scheduled for release in December 2019.

It remains to be seen whether the DCEU’s next entry, Justice League, will prove as successful as Wonder Woman has been through the course of it’s five-month theatrical release so far. One thing is for certain, though: Wonder Woman has made a definitive mark on the superhero movie landscape, the effects thereof are likely to be felt through the film industry for years to come.

Justice League is set for release on November 17, 2017. Wonder Woman II has been scheduled for December 13, 2019.


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