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Surprise Girl 1984 hits the pandemic's highest field workplace opening, with Warner Bros. accelerating third movie

Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman in "Wonder Woman 1984".

Warner bros.

"Wonder Woman 1984" hit theaters on Christmas Day, earning the highest box office opening of any domestic film since the coronavirus pandemic crippled the entertainment industry in mid-March.

On Sunday, Warner Bros. announced that the film was worth $ 16.7 million in the United States and Canada. "Wonder Woman 1984" was one of the first major Hollywood blockbusters to be released in theaters and streaming on the same day.

Simultaneous release should accommodate a limited number of open theaters, limited seating capacity, and a broad public that continues to be afraid of returning to theaters.

Warner & Bros. mom AT&T said Sunday that nearly half of HBO Max subscribers saw "Wonder Woman 1984" on Christmas Day. Retail subscribers are those who purchase the streaming service directly, not through a cable or other streaming subscription.

As of October, HBO Max had around 3.6 million direct retail customers. It is unclear how many additional subscribers the company gained prior to the release of Wonder Woman 1984 on the platform.

"Wonder Woman 1984 broke records in the first 24 hours of service and exceeded our expectations for all major ad and subscriber metrics. The interest and momentum we're seeing suggest this is likely well beyond the weekend will continue, "said Andy Forssell, executive vice president and general manager of WarnerMedia's direct-to-consumer division. "In these very difficult times, it was nice to allow families to enjoy this uplifting movie at home where going to the theater wasn't an option."

The movie's box office hit prompted the studio to accelerate a third installment in the Wonder Woman franchise, the company said. It's written and directed by Patty Jenkins, who directed the previous two films and made it clear to the New York Times last week that she wouldn't be returning to the franchise if a theatrical model wasn't possible for the film.

At the beginning of the weekend, analysts weren't sure the film could top the nearly $ 10 million that "The Croods: A New Age" had secured on the opening weekend during Thanksgiving. There were concerns that HBO Max audience numbers could be grossly cannibalizing ticket sales.

Despite the big box office, fans and critics are concerned about Warner Bros. & # 39; DC Extended Universe.

A week before its US debut, Wonder Woman 1984 had an 88% "Fresh" rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review page of 92 reviews. As of Sunday afternoon, that score dropped from 285 ratings to 65%.

While the film's star, Gal Gadot, received widespread acclaim, the film itself has been condemned for its poor story, plot inconsistencies, and inferior CGI.

For comparison, the first Wonder Woman movie released in 2017 scored 93%, the highest of any movie in the DC Extended Universe. Private watch parties and large format screens like IMAX and Dolby were the most popular way for moviegoers to catch the latest movie over the vacation weekend, the company said.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Dreamworks Animation, the studio behind The Croods: A New Age, and Rotten Tomatoes.

Correction: Warner Bros. mom AT&T said Sunday that nearly half of HBO Max subscribers saw "Wonder Woman 1984" on Christmas Day.

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