There are those of us that have been saying, for years, that Wonder Woman not only deserved a cinematic adaptation, but would also be a huge success in the event that such a thing ever transpired. In the face of sexist scepticism – that a film about a female superhero would never draw the kind of crowds that turn out for male-led movies – some of us planted our feet and stood firm on the matter. Batting away attempts to use the box office failure of movies such as Tank Girl and Elektra as reasons to avoid putting the Amazonian Warrior on the big screen, some of us argued that it just needed a good script, and the right director. Today, such advocacy for Wonder Woman is fully vindicated.
That’s because as of now, it’s officially the highest grossing superhero origin story of all-time, topping out at $821.74 million and beating the previous record holder – Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire as the titular web-slinger. As Warner Bros. begins to ramp up its Oscars campaign, by pushing Wonder Woman in all major awards categories, Gal Gadot’s first solo DC movie has proved itself to be the saviour of both the DC Extended Universe, and the otherwise lacklustre box office of summer 2017.
As reported by Forbes, there is some argument as to the validity of measuring these records against films that were released over 15 years ago – since adjustment for inflation means that Spider-Man’s 2002 box office haul would actually equate to over $1 billion today. But, the fact remains that such comparisons must necessarily take into account a number of other market factors – chief among which is the issue of competition.
Were Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man to be released today, it would not be guaranteed to generate such impressive profits, because the film market of today is saturated with superheroes in a way that just simply wasn’t the case in 2002. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was just a glimmer in the eye of an executive back then, and the X-Men films were just getting started. Christopher Nolan’s trilogy opener Batman Begins had not yet begun, either, and a cohesive DC universe was still a distant dream.
2017’s Wonder Woman, on the other hand, stormed the summer slate and took a giant slice of the global box office in a year that had already seen the release of The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, Power Rangers, and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2. Its release was also just weeks before Spider-Man: Homecoming, which meant their respective theatrical runs overlapped in some areas. And yet, despite the risk of these other superheroes – all of whom (except two Power Rangers, and Gamora) are male, by the way – siphoning off potential earnings for Wonder Woman, the legendary Amazonian not only held her own, but broke plenty of new box office ground.
Some of us, though, are not surprised. When it comes to Wonder Woman, we definitely told you so.