On Friday, Wonder Woman hit theaters across the country — FINALLY! The highly anticipated motion picture about the truth-telling, peacekeeping, badass Princess of the Amazons, Diana, and her superhero alter ego, drew massive crowds of super fans and earned more than $100 million at the box office in the U.S. alone.
The success of the film explodes a couple of major misconceptions about Hollywood movie-making: 1) That only women will pay to see movies about women and 2) That women-directed films underperform. It’s estimated that about 52% of Wonder Woman‘s audience this weekend was female, meaning plenty of men went to the film.
And as far as the blockbuster potential of women-helmed flicks? Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (who’s also the woman behind Monster) has got that beat, too, scoring the biggest opening weekend for any female director ever, even besting her male counterparts like Jon Favreau (the first Iron Man bowed at $98.6) for opening weekend returns.
So what makes Wonder Woman so wonderful? For you Hollywood types looking for a fail-safe formula, you just need one ingredient: woman power!
Spoilers ahead for Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman’s origin story begins on Themyscira, an island inhabited solely by ass-kicking Amazonian woman. Diana (played by the formidable Gal Gadot), the daughter of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, dreams of one day fighting alongside her mother and her army of warrior women (the images of child Diana practicing her punches and kicks will make your heart explode!).
Antiope, Diana’s aunt, fuels Diana’s desire to fight, secretly training her to fulfill her destiny as the “god killer,” the one chosen to save the world from the wrath of Ares, the god of war.
Women characters who are the heroes of their own stories? HELLS YES!
But after years of rigorous preparation, Diana still struggles with self-doubt (we feel you, sister), so during a particularly intense training session, Antiope truly tests Diana’s physical and mental fortitude, forcing Diana to unleash her other-worldly powers. And no sooner are her god-given gifts revealed than British spy Steve Trevor (the ever-charming Chris Pine) crash lands a stolen German fighter plane into the ocean, trailed by a swarm of German infantry men who promptly storm Themyscira’s beaches, devastating the Amazon army and killing Antiope.
In the wake of the carnage and fearing the possibility of more, Diana travels to London with Steve, vowing to kill Ares and uphold her sacred duty of restoring peace to the world.
Women characters on whom the fate of the world rests? Who are willing to risk everything — including their own lives — to fulfill their destinies? WE’RE SO DOWN!
But the absolute best part about Wonder Woman?
Between Gadot’s embodiment of the justice-seeking warrior princess-turned-feminist pop culture icon and Jenkins’ super-charged action sequences complete with a thumping soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Tom Holkenborg (aka JUNKIE XL) that will get you so freakin’ pumped your “resistance fist” will punch the air just by reflex, Wonder Woman is everything we need to see (and feel!) right now.
Diana’s journey from her idyllic childhood on Themyscira to her heartbreaking coming-of-age as a woman grappling with the human cost of war and the deplorable nature of humankind to a warrior who not only knows her supernatural strength, but owns the hell out out of it, moves deeply. And whether you’re a man, a woman, or a gender non-conforming person, Diana’s insistence on calling out injustice, her persistence in the face of adversity, and her desire to help all people will inspire. Diana is a woman of action.
To quote Diana, “It’s not about what you deserve. It’s about what you believe.”
Hollywood, take note.