Monday, June 19, 2017

Superhero Origin Films: Box Office Performance

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, has been making headlines not only because of its domestic opening over $100 Million, but also because of its astoundingly good performance in subsequent weekends. Rather than the typical superhero drop of 55-70% for the second weekend (because superhero fans often come out in hordes on opening weekend), Wonder Woman fell only 43%!!! This speaks to positive word-of-mouth and also a general appeal to all ages and to people who don't always come out for superhero movies. Throughout the weekdays, Wonder Woman was also consistently surpassing previous hit superhero films, and now its third weekend posted a mere 30% decline. This is incredible staying power on the domestic side, boosted somewhat by Pirates 5 having an underwhelming run in the U.S. If Transformers 5 also lightens up a bit in the U.S. compared to previous installments, then Wonder Woman will run strong through to the arrival of Spider-Man Homecoming. (Pirates 5 and Transformers 5 are bigger hits internationally, and that might be part of why Wonder Woman is rocking the States even harder than it's rocking the international box office.)

How does Wonder Woman's incredible box office run thus far compare with other recent superhero origin films? I am a mathematics educator by profession, so I enjoy seeing data visually. Here is a depiction of Wonder Woman's domestic box office tally compared to the six solo origin films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the other solo origin film in the DCEU (Man of Steel) and, to give us a sense of the top end, I've also included the runaway hit, Deadpool from Fox.

NOTE: This graph, with dollars in millions, shows the accumulation for the first 24 days of release, and then I included the final domestic total at the far right.


Notice that, for the opening weekend, Wonder Woman behaved very much like typical box office contour, tracking right along with Iron Man. But then right away on its first weekdays, we can see that Wonder Woman is doing something different than usual -- it slashes upward, bringing in higher rates each day and then for the second and third weekend, allowing it to move from the middle of the pack all the way up to Deadpool's heels (and Deadpool also had very strong legs). If Wonder Woman can keep up its pace for another week or so, we should already see it surpass Deadpool's domestic total at that point in it's run. I suspect that this will happen by Thursday, June 22nd. From then onward, if it can at least hold as well as Deadpool did, it will surpass $365 Million in the U.S. for a worldwide total of at least $730 Million. (Shameless self-promotion: back in February I predicted $725 Million for Wonder Woman.)

For those of you who enjoy more of the details of Hollywood accounting, join me below the fold.

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 2

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Wonder Woman, Scene 2 (Young Diana running through Themyscira and observing the Amazon warriors).

  • Diana famous?
  • Themyscira production design - nature and curves
  • Young Diana in the marketplace
  • Women of Color in the movie
  • Amazon warrior training
  • Diana's leap before she looks
  • Antiope and Hippolyta initial tension
  • Connections to the original comic book issues
  • Some new observations about MoS and BvS

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

Our preview episode about Wonder Woman: http://comicandscreen.blogspot.com/2017/05/wonder-woman-preparations.html

Medium.com critique of POC in Wonder Woman: https://medium.com/@SonofBaldwin/my-soul-looks-back-and-wonders-a-critical-examination-of-the-wonder-woman-movie-10ba3bfd71f0

Vero Post about MoS and BvS: http://screenrant.com/batman-v-superman-skulls-meaning-zack-snyder/

<Transcript below>

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 1

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on scene 1 (Opening at the Louvre) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.


  • Diana's opening narration (the world, lessons learned, and facing the truth)
  • Antiques dealer in the Louvre
  • Delivery from Wayne Enterprises
  • Connections to Batman v Superman
  • Connections to the DCEU overall
  • Why was Wonder Woman better received than BvS?
  • Text about the Mona Lisa from http://astore.amazon.com/theimaginativeconservative-20/detail/1480094579
Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

@JLUPodcast

DC TV Podcasts fundraiser for WWF: http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/DCTVpodcasts

Themes in the DCEU: http://www.torontosun.com/2017/06/08/marvels-box-office-hits-cant-compare-to-dc-plots
BvS by the formula: http://comicandscreen.blogspot.com/2016/05/jlu-scene-by-scene-batman-v-superman_22.html

<Transcript below>

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Themes and Characters in WONDER WOMAN

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast includes our preliminary analysis of the overarching themes and character development. Beginning at 47:31, we also each share some thoughts about a moment from the film that was particularly meaningful to us.



Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

@JLUPodcast

Our BvS analysis: http://comicandscreen.blogspot.com/p/scene-by-scene-analyis-of-batman-v.html


Collider: http://collider.com/patty-jenkins-wonder-woman-interview/
ComicBook.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikMGXsbZn9Q
Naive or dumb:

<Transcript>

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Review of WONDER WOMAN

Jason Book and I discuss Wonder Woman from Warner Brothers pictures, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. We stay spoiler free for the first 10 minutes and then touch on some spoilers for the last 5 minutes. (These is a verbal and visible warning in the video.)





Detailed analysis will get underway soon on the Justice League Universe podcast:
http://jluniverse.podomatic.com

EDIT: Detailed analysis is underway now!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 24-25

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Suicide Squad, scene 24 (the first fight with the Eyes of the Adversary) and scene 25 (the aftermath of that first fight).

  • Katana's scars and kintsugi
  • Katana trained by Batman?
  • Eyes of the Adversary
  • Deadshot as the leader of Task Force X
  • Everyone's slo-mo moment
  • Deadshot doesn't cut and run
  • Diablo is not the fire bloke anymore
  • Are people still people? Can people change?
  • Flag still values duty over humanity

@JLUPodcast @raveryn @NBego

http://www.manofsteelanswers.com/32-tornado-part-3-understanding-themes/
http://www.manofsteelanswers.com/37-dawn-of-the-justice-league/

<Transcript>

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Vague Review of WONDER WOMAN (No Spoilers)

I was lucky enough to attend the Wonder Woman fan screening on May 24th (here's me showing off my free poster), and now that the review embargo has lifted (critical reception seems positive), I wanted to briefly share my reactions. I am not going to give much detail at all in this post because I plan to have a spoilerfree conversation about the movie with Jason Book on June 3rd (here's us getting ready for Wonder Woman), and then the @JLUPodcast team will begin our detailed analysis by June 5th (here are our preliminary thoughts). So all I want to do right now is share in vague terms some of my reactions to my first viewing of the film.


First of all, the screening that I attended was a full house and the audience ranged in age from 4 to 84, and we appeared to be very racially diverse as well. Most of the audience was Wonder Woman fans who jumped on the opportunity for tickets like I did --- there were cosplayers and several sets of father/daughters, which was great to see. But there was also a substantial portion of the audience who were local members of the theater's mailing list who come to lots of free screenings, so they were there for a free move, not necessarily because it was a Wonder Woman movie. Even with this large amount of diversity, the film seemed to be received really well. Act 1 seemed to have everyone engrossed in the beautiful visuals and the introductions to the characters. There was a lot of laughter to accompany the humorous elements of Act 1, and there was still some solid humor in Act 2 as well. The filmmakers found great ways to weave the humor into the story -- it did not seem forced and it always fit the situation (e.g., not taking away from tension or action), and it actually came from a few different sources -- not only Etta Candy, but Steve Trevor and his crew, and even Diana in certain moments. The audience settled in more for the action of Act 3, which ratcheted up really well from the action of Act 2 -- there was good pacing, throughout. After the movie, my read of the room was that the Wonder Woman fans were basically over the moon with the experience while some of the general fans were pleased but perhaps not blown away. I talked to a few people and they all said they liked it, but it wasn't always effusive praise.

As for myself, I am currently giving the film an 8 out of 10 and I immediately had a strong desire to see it again (which I will do this weekend!). It does many, many things very effectively:
  • Strong development of characters, especially Diana and Steve, with good performances from the actors;
  • Compelling and memorable settings that are not just locations for action but also connect in to the messages of the movie;
  • Good pacing of the actions scenes where they all have a purpose and meaning;
  • Good choreography and execution of the actions scenes (there were only 3-4 brief moments where the CGI distracted me, but overall they were visual delights);
  • Wonderful musical score that fits well with the action and the visual style of the movie (only one scene stuck out to me as having mismatched, distracting music);
  • Awesome costumes; and
  • Coherent themes and some very well written connections across the movie, such as between elements and characters in Act 1 and then some contrasting counterparts in later parts of the movie.
The fact that the movie has coherent themes, which are developed across characters, plot, and visual elements, is very exciting for me and I can't wait to analyze them further. The only drawback here is that in a couple spots the writing became a bit too explicit for my taste, and I think the themes, though coherent, are perhaps not as multi-layered as certain masterpieces. But the upside to this is that the story and the messages are quite straigthforward, thus very palatable to a general audience. And the character of Diana / Wonder Woman was handled with remarkable care and there are a couple truly amazing scenes (interestingly, the two scenes that emotionally affected me the most were in Act 2 rather than Act 3, but I can't say anything more about that yet).

Overall, there is a lot to love about this movie. My wife and I, on the 90-minute drive home, talked about Wonder Woman the whole way, and we only spent about 5 minutes talking about negative aspects. There is much more to be positive about than negative, and I think we will see that in the general reaction this weekend. I can't wait to talk about this film with others, and I think the word-of-mouth will be strong.