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Can ‘Wonder Woman’ save the summer? She’s off to a good start

Gal Gadot stars in "Wonder Woman."
(Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

“Wonder Woman,” the latest and best-reviewed entry so far in the DC Comics movie universe, overpowered the competition at the box office on Friday, grossing an estimated $38 million on its opening day.

The film, which stars Gal Gadot in the title role, has earned a strong response from critics with a 94% score on the film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang wrote, “Director Patty Jenkins and her collaborators have taken the well-worn superhero origin story and invested it with a rich, sometimes revelatory depth of feeling.”

For the record:

10:41 a.m. Sept. 24, 2021For the Record: An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of Gal Gadot.

“Wonder Woman” stands to be the first superhero blockbuster with a woman in the lead role. The film was forecast to rack up between $80 million and $90 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada during its opening weekend, according to those who have seen prerelease audience surveys. The movie industry hopes the film will ignite what has been a generally sluggish start to the summer movie season.

The film also marks the first successful adaptation of the popular comic book series since the 1970s TV series starring Lynda Carter. More than 10 years ago Joss Whedon was attached to a “Wonder Woman” movie that was ultimately scrapped, and a 2011 pilot for NBC that was to star Adrianne Palicki of “Friday Night Lights” never aired.

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The weekend’s other debut, DreamWorks’ animated children’s feature “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” based on the popular series by author Dav Pilkey, took in an estimated $8 million to land in second place. Rounding out the top five, the latest installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise sold just over $6 million in tickets, followed by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” with an estimated $2.6 million, just ahead of “Baywatch.”

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chris.barton@latimes.com

Follow me over here @chrisbarton.

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