After 75 years of gracing the covers of comic books, Wonder Woman has finally lassoed her own film, and to the delight of DC and superhero fans the world over, the movie is a certified hit. Wonder Woman earned more than $100 million domestically over its opening weekend, which sets Wonder Woman ahead of opening weekends of blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Doctor Strange, according to boxofficemojo.com. That is truly rare air. But even rarer, according to rottentomatoes.com, Wonder Woman is the third-highest ranked superhero movie ever at 93 per cent on their tomato metre, ranking only behind The Dark Knight and Logan. Warner Bros. and the DCEU can finally breathe a sigh of relief. They have a film that is both critically acclaimed and a hit amongst the fan base. Not since Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy has a DCEU film hit on all the marks.
Wonder Woman is an important film for many reasons. First, the obvious; Wonder Woman is the first significant time that a superhero movie has been led by a female. Sure, movies like Supergirl (1984), Catwoman (2004) and Elektra (2005) exist, but those movies were not produced at the highest quality nor were they showcasing the biggest female superhero of them all. Wonder Woman is also directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins. While female directors are no longer uncommon in Hollywood, it remains so when it comes to directing superhero movies. Now, the ripple effect of Wonder Woman’s success will not be known for years. Will this lead to more women stepping behind the camera to direct future superhero big budget movies? Will this be the beginnings of a cavalcade of female superheroes taking the lead in films? All these things are entirely possible. What is true for right now is that there is a feeling in popular culture that Wonder Woman was a seminal moment, both culturally and socially. The most immediate effect? There will definitely be plenty of Wonder Woman costumes this Halloween.
Wonder Woman’s success will also have a ripple effect on the DCEU. If Wonder Woman had sputtered at the box office and been swarmed by critics the same way Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were, Warner Bros. executives may have done the unthinkable and scrapped the present DCEU, or at the very least, done yet another course correction. Although extreme sounding, this hasn’t been foreign to WB execs. Just think of the plug being pulled on Tim Burton’s Superman Lives and George Miller’s Justice League—two WB near movies that were never made. Warner Bros. would likely have waited until the November release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League to make any decisions, but the precedent is there, looming like a grim reaper.
Speaking of Snyder’s Justice League, Wonder Woman’s success has done a great service to the yet-to-be-released blockbuster. Those involved in Justice League can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The DCEU has their bonafide hit—and it doesn’t have to be Justice League. Sure, DCEU fans and WB execs want Justice League to be a hit. But even if it falls on hard times from critics and splits the fan base once again, the DCEU will still survive due to Wonder Woman. The Amazonian Princess has had such a monumental win that the DCEU can withstand another hiccup. Because once Justice League arrives, a new slate of DCEU films are likely to come the audience’s way. Warner Bros. has been loading up with some top notch directors like Joss Whedon (Batgirl), James Wan (Aquaman), and Matt Reeves (The Batman). Although all of the DCEU’s woes can’t be laid on Zack Snyder’s shoulders, his directed films have not united the fan base, nor have they garnered a near universal acceptance by critics.
But Wonder Woman has. It’s interesting to note here that Snyder both produced and received story credit on the highly successful Wonder Woman.
And it’s this unlikely success that has unified the DCEU. With reshoots happening soon and going throughout the summer, it is highly likely Wonder Woman may find herself in more added scenes. To quote a famous sports analogy, “Go with the hot hand”—and there is no superhero hotter right now in the DCEU than Wonder Woman. For it’s the Goddess of Truth who is drawing all the attention, the Princess of the Amazons who has given the DCEU the success it sorely needed.