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“Wonder Woman 1984” drops 92% in China, despite setting a coronavirus pandemic record at the domestic box office. The film has taken a nose-dive at the China box office for the second weekend. The highly-anticipated sequel debuted in China on December 16, nine days before its premiere on HBO Max and release in the United States.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film earned only US$1.5 million at the Chinese box office for its second weekend, which is a 92% decrease from an already disappointing opening of US$18.8 million at the Chinese box office for the first weekend. This totals the earnings for the film in China at only US$23.9 million, compared to the 2017 film, which collected US$90.5 million in China when it was released. COVID-19 is not the sole reason for the low box office collections, as the Hong Kong action film Shockwave 2 earned US$64.5 million in China.
The sequel’s critical reception has also been lukewarm, with many Chinese fans upset that the film focuses too much on romance instead of the action that was present in the 2017 film. The low box office collections in China are worrying for Warner Bros., as the Chinese box office is much more reliant on word-of-mouth than the US. If Chinese audiences do not like a film, the box office collections will reflect that. With China being the second-largest box office market in the world, the studio was hoping the theatrical release of the film in China would compensate for the closure of theaters in the US.
Costing roughly US$200 million to make, the current box office projections are showing that Warner Bros. will not be able to recover from China and will have to rely on premium video on demand (PVOD) sales to recover their profits. Although domestic sales were somewhat promising, as it made US$16.7 million on opening weekend in the US, the lack of enthusiasm for the sequel is a probable reason for the film’s decline at the Chinese box office.
Despite the low box office collections, Warner Bros. already announced Wonder Woman 3 to be in the works two days after the film’s HBO Max release, with Gal Gadot to reprise her role as Diana Prince and Patty Jenkins returning as director and co-writer. Jenkins previously stated that a third film would only happen if “there was still a theatrical model possible.” Chairman of Warner Bros. Toby Emmerich confirmed that Wonder Woman 3 will release in theaters saying, “We are excited to be able to continue [Diana’s] story with our real-life Wonder Women – Gal and Patty – who will return to conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy.”
“Wonder Woman 1984” stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal and Natasha Rothwell. Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, the film is currently in selected theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
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