In its second weekend in U.S. theaters, “Wonder Woman 1984” earned an estimated $5.5 million in ticket sales according to studio estimates Sunday. It’s a 67% drop for the superhero sequel, which is simultaneously playing on 2,151 screens and streaming free for HBO Max subscribers.
“Wonder Woman 1984” has made $28.5 million to date from the U.S., where about 39% of theaters are open and most major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco, are closed. Internationally, it added $10.1 million, bringing its global total to $118.5 million, reports AP.
While $5.5 million would be a terrible second weekend for a $200 million movie in a pre-pandemic world, under the unique circumstances it was enough to top the domestic charts. In second place is Universal’s “The Croods: A New Age,” which saw a 25% increase in ticket sales in its sixth week in theaters. It’s made $34.5 million since it opened at Thanksgiving and is also now available to rent on premium video on demand.
Disney and Pixar’s “Soul,” which skipped U.S. theaters and is available for free for Disney+ subscribers, added $16.5 million internationally — a 114% increase from its opening in the same markets last weekend. The film featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey has done particularly well in China, where it more than doubled its opening sum and added $13.7 million this weekend. The studio attributed the gains to strong social media reactions and word of mouth.
Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic “Alien” also opened this weekend through Disney’s 20th Century Studios. It made $75,000 from 505 locations.
Dawn Wells, who played the wholesome Mary Ann among a misfit band of shipwrecked castaways on the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wednesday of causes related to COVID-19, her publicist said. She was 82.
Wells died peacefully at a residential facility in Los Angeles, publicist Harlan Boll said. “There is so much more to Dawn Wells” than the “Gilligan’s Island” character that brought her fame, Boll said in a statement, reports AP.
Besides TV, film and stage acting credits, her other real-life roles included teacher, motivational speaker and conservationist, Boll said.
Tina Louise, 86, who played Ginger the movie star, is the last surviving member of a cast that included Bob Denver as the title character; Alan Hale Jr. as the Skipper; Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer as wealthy passengers Thurston and Lovey Howell, and Russell Johnson, known as the Professor.
“I will always remember her kindness to me,” Louise said in a statement. “We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do — always with a smile on her face.”
“Oh, this so sad. Bon voyage, Mary Ann,” Jane Lynch posted on Twitter.
“Two and a Half Men” star Jon Cryer tweeted that it was a “thrill” to meet Wells when she visited the show, adding, “She could not have been more lovely and gracious.”
Wells, a native of Reno, Nevada, represented her state in the 1959 Miss America pageant and quickly pivoted to an acting career. Her early TV roles were on shows including “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick” and “Bonanza.”
Then came “Gilligan’s Island,” a goofy, good-natured comedy that aired from 1964-67 that became an unlikely but indelible part of popular culture. Wells’ comely but innocent Mary Ann complemented Louise’s worldly Ginger, and both became innocuous ’60s TV versions of sex symbols.
Wells’ wardrobe included a gingham dress and shorts that modestly covered her belly button, with both costumes on display in Los Angeles at The Hollywood Museum.
TV movies spinoffs from the series followed, including 1978′s “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island,” but Wells also moved on to other TV guest roles and films including the 2002 vacuum cleaner salesman comedy “Super Sucker” with Jeff Daniels. She starred on stage in dozens of plays, including “Chapter Two” and “The Odd Couple.”
In 2013, she was honored by for her work with a Tennessee-based refuge, The Elephant Sanctuary.
To mark the 50th anniversary of “Gilligan’s Island.” Dawn wrote “A Guide To Life: What Would Mary Ann Do?” with observations about her character and the cultural changes that took place while she was stranded.
Two years ago, a friend launched a GoFundMe drive to help cover medical and other costs for Wells, although she protested she didn’t need the assistance. She did end up acknowledging her need and accepted more than $180,000 in donations.
“Wow! I am amazed at the kindness and affection I have received” in response to the fundraising drive, Wells said in a social media post at the time. She said a “dear friend” undertook it after a frank conversation.
Also read: Veteran actor Sadek Bachchu dies of COVID-19
She recounted musing to him, “’Where did the time go? I don’t know how this happened. I thought I was taking all the proper steps to ensure my golden years. Now, here I am, no family, no husband, no kids and no money.’”
Wells added in the post that she was grateful to her supportive fans and that her outlook remained positive.
Dawn is survived by her stepsister, Weslee Wells, Boll said.
In a dramatic U-turn that has shocked millions of his fans, south Indian superstar Rajinikanth on Tuesday decided not to join active politics.
Attributing the decision to poor health, the superstar said that he wanted to serve the people without entering electoral politics. "With extreme sadness I say that I can't enter politics. I alone know the pain I went through while announcing this decision," he said in a statement.
The decision comes barely four days before Rajinikanth was slated to launch a political party to contest in the upcoming assembly elections in his home state of Tamil Nadu.
"This decision of mine will disappoint my fans and people but please forgive me. My hospitalisation was a warning given by God. My campaign will impact health amid the pandemic," said the actor, who had to be briefly hospitalised for blood pressure fluctuations.
Earlier this month, Rajinikanth had announced that he would launch a political party in January next year. “We will achieve a big victory with the support of the people. Spiritual politics will emerge in Tamil Nadu that will bring transparency, honesty," he tweeted.
Later, Rajinikanth told the media, "I am ready to sacrifice even my life for the sake of Tamil people... It is now or never. If I win it will be the people's victory, if I lose it will be their defeat." The superstar had first indicated his intentions to join politics in 2017.
This would be the first election since the death of Tamil Nadu's two most powerful politicians, J Jayalalithaa of the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK's MK Karunanidhi, created a political vacuum in the politically important state.
Read Also: Indian film superstar Rajinikanth turns 70
Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth made his debut in 1975 Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema, whose popularity has been attributed to his uniquely styled dialogues in films.
He has won many awards, including four Tamil Nadu State Film Best Actor Awards and a Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. The Indian government honored the philanthropist with two civilian awards -- the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016.
The award of three-day Cinemaking International Film festival has been announced.
'The Single Tumbler' from Sri Lanka was awarded the Best International Film while 'A biography of Nazrul' directed by Ferdous Khan bagged 'Best Bangladeshi Full-length film' award.
The festival started on December 24 in the outskarts of the capital ciry Dhaka and ended on December 26.
CIFF founder and Festival Director Monjurul Islam Megh informed that 150 films from 54 countries and 27 films from Bangladesh has been selected for competition in 11 categories in this time. Among them, 17 international films were awarded as best award from eight competition categories.
Ten international best awards were given in the main competition section for International Feature film Competition.
“Girl and the Sea” directed by Azizzhan Zairov and Mukhamed Mamyrbekov from Kazakhstan were announced as Best Asian film while Apurba Kishor Bir won Best Asian director for “Antardhwani” from India.
“I’Father', directed by Mark Norfolk from Kosovo was selected as Best European Film while Gultekin Bayir bagged Best European Director for “Bir Denizcinin Dogum Gunu” from Turkey.
Yashpal Sharma for acting in the “Mooso the Mouse” and Swapna Pati for acting in the “Antardhwani” from India were awarded as Best International Actor and Best International Actress respectively.
“The Final Code” from Italy will receive the Best Original Score while Best Cinematography for “Boluomi” from Taiwan and Best Screenplay for “Colorless Dreams” from Uzbekistan were announced in the competition.
“Endless Walk” directed by Yan Paing Htum from Myanmar bagged the title of Best international mobile film while Best Bangladeshi mobile was film “Mother” directed by Anondo Khaled.
“The Fiber” directed Nubelia Leyva Ferrer and Sorangel Solano Clever from Cuba gained the title of Best International Short film while the festival announced Best Bangladeshi short film “Separation” directed by Aparajita Sangita.
Best International Documentary were “A Gift from God” directed by Jorgen Lorentzen, Nafise Ozkal Lorentzen from Norway while Best International Kids award were achieved by Filmmaker Sandro Kintsureshvili for “Take It” from Georgia.
The festitival was organised by Dhaka Festival while Festival Partner was Mashud moncho and Rushda Film.
Despite premiering simultaneously by streaming service, “Wonder Woman 1984” managed the best box office debut of the pandemic, opening with $16.7 million over the Christmas weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
That’s only a faint glimmer of typical business during the holiday season, when cinemas are usually packed and box-office receipts are among the best of the year. Last year, “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” exceeded $32 million on Christmas Day alone. According to data firm Comscore, 35% of North American theaters are currently open.
But Warner Bros. nevertheless celebrated the performance of “Wonder Woman 1984,” which landed in 2,150 theaters and bettered the approximately $10 million launch of Warner Bros.′ “Tenet” in North America. (Universal Pictures’ “The Croods: A New Age” opened similarly in late November.) “Wonder Woman 1984” grossed an additional $19.4 million in international markets where it began playing a week earlier. The Patty Jenkins-directed sequel, starring Gal Gadot, has made $85 million globally to date.
“This is a very weak theatrical opening,” said David Gross, who runs the movie consultancy FranchiseRe. “With more than half of North American theaters closed and the pandemic surging, the majority of moviegoers and fans have little choice but to watch the film on television. Early foreign openings have been weak as well.”
Warner Bros. has come under criticism throughout Hollywood on its plans to divert “Wonder Woman 1984” and all of its 2021 titles to HBO Max through a hybrid release plan intended to boost subscribers. “Tenet” director Christopher Nolan called the strategy “a mess.” Earlier this month, AT&T chief executive John Stankey said the service has 12.6 million activated users, up from 8.6 million on Sept. 30.
In 2017, “Wonder Woman” opened with more than $100 million in ticket sales from 4,100 theaters, setting a record for biggest opening by a female filmmaker. It ultimately grossed $822 million worldwide. The sequel, made for about $200 million, had been expected to approach $1 billion in box office before the pandemic but is on course to make about $180 million, according to Gross’s projections.
But WarnerMedia is counting on “Wonder Woman 1984” to matter more to HBO Max, which wobbled in its initial rollout. Reports circulated over the weekend of some users having technical difficulties streaming “Wonder Woman 1984,” particularly when playing the film through Roku. HBO Max went live on Roku in mid-December after months of negotiations.
Warner Bros. nevertheless seized on the returns for “Wonder Woman 1984” as the best as could be expected, given the circumstances. The studio on Sunday announced that it would fast-track a third “Wonder Woman” film, with Jenkins and Gadot returning.
“Wonder Woman 1984 broke records and exceeded our expectations across all of our key viewing and subscriber metrics in its first 24 hours on the service, and the interest and momentum we’re seeing indicates this will likely continue well beyond the weekend,” said Andy Forssell, executive vice president and general manager for WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer operations. “During these very difficult times, it was nice to give families the option of enjoying this uplifting film at home, where theater viewing wasn’t an option.”
“Wonder Woman 1984” wasn’t the only big movie that detoured into homes over Christmas. The Walt Disney Co. steered the latest Pixar release, “Soul,” to Disney+. It opened theatrically in some international markets, most notably in China where it earned $5.5 million.
Streaming numbers weren’t provided for “Soul” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” WarnerMedia said nearly half of HBO Max’s subscribers watched “Wonder Woman 1984” on its first day on the streaming platform, though it didn’t say how long constituted a watch.
Universal Pictures also released “News of the World,” a Western starring Tom Hanks and directed by Paul Greengrass, only in theaters. The Comcast-owned studio has pursued a different approach during the pandemic, cutting deals with exhibitors to radically shorten the exclusive theatrical window to as little as 17 days, before then moving movies to premium video-on-demand. “News of the World” grossed an estimated $2.4 million domestically
Emerald Fennell’s acclaimed “Promising Young Woman,” starring Carey Mulligan, debuted in 1,300 theaters, making $680,000 for Focus Features.