LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Warner Bros.' superhero film "Wonder Woman 1984" took the top spot at the North American box office with an estimated 16.7-million-U.S.-dollar debut from 2,151 locations, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.
It's the biggest opening weekend of any film released in North America since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. Comscore noted that only 35 percent of all North American theaters are currently open amid virus surge.
Providing hope for theaters which have been devastated by the pandemic, the highly anticipated tentpole film with a reported cost of 200 million dollars was released simultaneously in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming platform on Christmas Day.
The film is a sequel to "Wonder Woman," a massive critical and commercial hit in 2017, which grossed 822 million dollars at the global box office. With director Patty Jenkins back at the helm and Gal Gadot returning in the title role, "Wonder Woman 1984" follows Diana Prince as she battles two formidable foes during the Cold War.
"Wonder Woman 1984" debuted theatrically in international markets a week earlier than the United States. The film took in an estimated 36.1 million globally from 42 markets in release this weekend, pushing its worldwide tally to 85 million dollars. The film has grossed 158 million yuan (around 24.1 million U.S. dollars) after 10 days on the Chinese mainland, according to box office data compiled by Maoyan, a Chinese movie-ticketing and film data platform.
"Wonder Woman 1984" holds an approval rating of 65 percent based on 286 reviews to date on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.
In a distant second place, Universal Pictures' drama film "News of the World" opened with 2.4 million dollars from 1,900 locations.
Directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel, the film is based on the 2016 best-selling novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles. The plot follows a widowed Civil War veteran, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who must return a 10-year-old girl who was taken in and raised by natives as an infant to her last remaining family. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.
The well-reviewed movie now enjoys an approval rating of 84 percent based on 129 reviews to date on Rotten Tomatoes.
Universal and DreamWorks' animated adventure comedy film "The Croods: A New Age" landed in the third place in its fifth weekend with 1.73 million dollars from 1,726 locations for a North American total of 30.34 million dollars.
Helmed by Joel Crawford in his feature directorial debut, the film with a reported budget of 65 million dollars features the voice talent of returning stars, including Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.
The sequel to 2013's original film follows the prehistoric Crood family who sets off into the world in search of a safer place to live and meets another family that's a couple of steps above the Croods on the evolutionary ladder.