She’s a wonder

China proves receptive to the DC universe


As the first female-led big budget superhero flick in more than a decade, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman did not disappoint. The film, which stars the Israeli actress as Diana Prince, Princess of the Amazons, dominated the box office in the United States and it did well in China too, where it made Rmb250 million ($36.7 million) over its first weekend.

To promote the film Gadot (pictured) and her co-star Chris Pine dropped in on Shanghai for an early screening in May in which Warner Bros, the studio behind the superhero franchise, unveiled 30 minutes of the movie to give the audience a taste of the superheroine’s return.

The Hollywood studio also brought in Dalian Wanda and Tencent as investors in the film to help with local marketing and distribution.

“Even though I saw half an hour of footage and thought I knew the whole story, little did I know that the film was much more complicated than I expected,” a film critic with Shanghai Morning Post gushed of the fuller release this month. “Even though it is a superhero film, nothing about it feels routine.”

Industry insiders say that the commercial prospects for Wonder Woman are hampered by the fact that the character is little known in China, although Warner Bros did its best to introduce her with an appearance in Batman v Superman, an earlier release.

A last-minute flurry of 200 advanced screenings generated some word-of-mouth buzz that helped the film on its first weekend. Compared with other blockbusters, audiences in lower-tier cities aren’t finding Wonder Woman particularly exciting, however. It generated 36% of its sales from third and fourth-tier cities, compared with franchises like Resident Evil and Fast and Furious, where they contributed over 43% of box office takings. Revenue growth at cinemas in China has slowed dramatically in the last year and sales in lower-tier cities have sometimes surpassed those of their more sophisticated peers.

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