That title clickbait-y enough for y’all? Well, in this case I’m referring to the latest reports from the box office*, where Wonder Woman‘s domestic box office take fell only 43.2% from its first weekend to its second. To say “a movie has legs” in box office parlance means that the projections are it will continue to do well even after its opening, raking in a significant amount of extra cash by way of good word of mouth and repeat business. And while a 43.2% dropoff might seem high at first glance, as blockbuster superhero movies go it’s all but unheard of. The Avengers? Just over 50% The Dark Knight? Mid-50s. Only Batman Begins from more than a decade ago is in the same bracket, and only the original 2002 Spider-Man beats it. As far as more recent DC fare goes, its far and away the winner, with Man of Steel being the next best at a 64.6% cooldown.

Now, does this tell the whole story of a movie’s commercial success? Not necessarily. If you clicked on the link above then you might have noticed both Thor and Doctor Strange beating out The Avengers, and when the dust settled neither of the former were close to the latter in terms of gross receipts. This method of calculation can sometimes be kinder on those films who have humbler opening weekends and harsher on those with bigger ones. Wonder Woman‘s domestic opening gross of ~103 million, while eminently respectable and most certainly exceeding Warner Bros. original estimate of ~65 million, does not exceed Man of Steel‘s ~$117 million take and definitely doesn’t come close to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice at ~166 million — but because of its frontloaded worldwide opening combined with not-so-great word of mouth/reviews BvS had nowhere to go but down, and its second weekend was a near 69% dropoff to a ~51 million second frame. If we look at the stats for two weekends (source) we get this:

Man of Steel: 116,619,362 opening + 41,287,206 second = 157,906,568

Batman v Superman: 166,007,347 opening + 51,335,254 second = 217,342,601

Wonder Woman: 103,251,471 + 58,520,672 second = 161,772,143

These calculations also do not count weekday totals or the vitally important foreign box office, so there are all sorts of statistics that could be massaged and interpreted, but there you have this particular snapshot: last place in terms of opening weekend but first place in second weekend, with a lot of positive vibe suggesting momentum moving forwards. I know my feed has been alive with plenty of friends declaring their intent to go see it again a second or even third time.

Also whatever your take on the politics surrounding the movie, there’s little doubt it struck a chord with the female audience, who made up what I believe is a genre-first majority of 52% of the demographic on opening weekend and are certainly amongst its most enthusiastic supporters. And here’s the thing about the ladies, to go by previous outings: you strike that chord successfully and they’ll keep coming back. Remember James Cameron’s Titanic? Sure we’re talking 20 years ago and a different genre, but still its opening weekend was less than 30 million, and even adjusting for inflation that seems low by today’s blockbuster standards. Yet Titanic was one of those films that didn’t have a second weekend drop-off, it had a ramp-up, +23.8% between weekends one and two, and it kept on keeping on for months after until it closed out with just over 600 million domestic and over 2 billion dollars worldwide. And I can all but guarantee you it wasn’t the 18-35 male demographic keeping it afloat for all that time (pardon the expression).

Mind you I don’t think any movie makes money by excluding a demographic, either, but Wonder Woman seems to be the kind of film that just about everyone can enjoy, unless you’re really prejudiced against superhero films in general. So my feeling is she’s going to stay in the theaters for awhile even with some stiff Summer competition coming up soon between a new Transformers movie and a new Spider-Man.

And yeah, I realize this post doesn’t have much to do with Zombie Ranch, but for obvious reasons we always take a keen interest in the zeitgeist involving female action leads. Also it’s been a long-running conceit of mine that Supergirl, Catwoman and Elektra didn’t fail because they were women-led, they failed by being terrible movies. Wonder Woman has finally seemed to emerge as living proof of that, so along with the rest of the film industry I want to keep an eye out and see where it ends up in practice to all of my theory.

(*She does have some fantastic legs, though.)