Wonder Woman Breaks Glass Ceiling With Opening-weekend Record for Female Director

Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, has already earned $97.1 million by Sunday, set to pass $100 million line by weekend's conclusion

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
Clay Enos/AP

After breaking the record for the biggest single day gross for a female-directed movie, Wonder Woman soared to break the glass ceiling for opening weekend as well. 

The movie, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, has grossed $97.1 million by Sunday, according to Deadline, and estimates are that it will propel past the $100-million line by the end of the weekend. 

Wonder Woman sailed past the previous holder of the title: Sam Taylor-Johnson's 50 Shades of Grey, which took $93 million in 2015 in a four-day long weekend that included two holidays: Valentine's Day and President's Day. 

Director Patty Jenkins, left, and Gal Gadot arrive at the world premiere of "Wonder Woman" at the Pantages Theatre on Thursday, May 25, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Jordan Strauss / AP

Placing Wonder Woman and its bursting budget of $150 million in the hands of a female director is unusual in male-dominated Hollywood. Far from a blockbuster director, Jenkins' last film – Monster, starring Charlize Theron – was produced with only $8 million and came out over a decade ago. 

Picking a foreigner to star in Wonder Woman was also seen as a big bet. Though Gadot has already appeared as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last year, some have doubted she had what it takes for a lead role.  

Indeed, Wonder Woman defied even Warner Bros Studios' expectations, which anticipated a modest opening weekend of $65 million. Critics were also taken by surprise, not least by Gadot's acting, with 94% percent of them giving the movie the proverbial thumbs-up, according to movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Aside from the returns, polls of theater goers were also positive, with Wonder Woman getting an "A" rating from pollster Cinemascope.

Wonder Woman has also been making a haul worldwide, getting $50 million in 55 countries, including China, on Friday alone. The record for worldwide ticket sales for a female-directed movie is currently held by Kong Fu Panda 2, directed by Jennifer Hugh Nelson in 2011, which made $665 million. It, in turn, broke the record of Phyllida Lloyd's Mamma Mia!, which made $609 million in 2008.