'Wonder Woman' wins the weekend box office, but 'The Mummy' turns out to be bulletproof

Universal‘The Mummy.’

This week’s domestic box office winner was pretty much decided before we even got to the weekend.

The acclaimed “Wonder Woman” followed up its record-breaking opening weekend last week by winning the United States box office for a second-straight weekend with an estimated $US57 million, according to Exhibitor Relations, a dip of only 45% from last weekend. The movie has now brought in a total of $US205 million domestically.

In a distant second place with $US32 million is “The Mummy,” which is both a Tom Cruise movie and the kick-off to another cinematic universe, this one being Universal’s reboot of the classic monsters of decades past that its named Dark Universe.

On the surface, the pitiful US gross for “The Mummy” looks like the worst possible scenario for Universal in launching a franchise to go up against Marvel Studios and DC Films. But looking globally, the movie has the most interesting box office storyline of the weekend.

With a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes going into the weekend (it’s now at 17%), “The Mummy” was going to be DOA domestically by Sunday, and Universal would have to hope for a strong outing overseas to save face. And that’s exactly what happened.

It started on Friday when news hit that the movie opened in China (perhaps the most important international market) on Thursday with an $US18.7 million take, the biggest opening day ever there for a Tom Cruise movie. The movie debuted in Russia on Thursday as well and took in $US1.6 million, also the biggest first day ever there, too. In the 33 international markets where “The Mummy” opened between Wednesday and Thursday, the movie took in $US20.5 million.

By Friday, the movie was playing in 63 markets and had taken in $US56.8 million. It would end the weekend with an estimated $US142 million overseas.

Combining that with its domestic take, “The Mummy,” budgeted at around $US125 million (tack on another $US90 million or so for marketing), earned Cruise his biggest global opening ever with $US174 million, passing the $US167.4 million earned for 2005’s “War of the Worlds.”

“The Mummy” director, Alex Kurtzman, told Business Insider late last week he didn’t make the movie for critics. It seems the audience he did make it for came to see the movie in droves.

But “The Mummy” being bulletproof from negative critical reaction is something the franchise even had back in its Brendan Fraser era. The three movies with Fraser and the spinoff starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “The Scorpion King,” totaled close to $US1.5 billion in its worldwide box office.

Add that with the box office clout Tom Cruise has, and you’ll understand why “The Mummy” is far from a bust financially, and why Universal is still very bullish on its Dark Universe.

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