Wonder Woman 1984 may have saved movie theaters too

Box office numbers for the latest superhero flick apparently show promise.

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984, released last week.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Wonder Woman didn't just save the planet in her latest film, WW84, she may have saved the day for movie theaters too. The box office receipts for the film's opening weekend hit $36.1 million, which -- while paltry compared to pre-pandemic times -- was more than double industry estimates, movie maker Warner Bros. said in a release Monday.

Warner Bros. made the movie available Dec. 25 for free to subscribers of its corporate cousin HBO Max at the same time it arrived in theaters. HBO Max subscribers pay up to $15 month for the service which, like Warner Bros., is owned by AT&T. 

"Wonder Woman 1984 easily conquered the holiday weekend," Warner said in a press release. The moviemaker also said it's fast-tracking a third Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins.

The news of Wonder Woman 1984's strong showing surprised the entertainment world, which has been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic The disease has infected more than 80.9 million people around the world and killed more than 1.7 million, leading many governments to order shutdowns of their economies, and people to stay home, avoiding normal activities. 

Warner Bros. said the most popular way people saw Wonder Woman at the theater was through "private watch parties," where people can effectively rent out the whole room to watch with family or friends. Over the weekend, the studio said it counted over 10,000 private rentals, despite only 39% of US cinemas being open.

Wonder Woman is available to HBO Max subscribers for a month, after which the film will only be shown in theaters and then through typical digital download, Blu-ray and DVD releases.

See also: Watch Wonder Woman 1984 for free today with HBO Max (if you have HBO already)