In keeping with the spirit of the character, the latest Wonder Woman release found a way to finish victorious.

As moviegoers everywhere struggle with the effects of COVID-19, with lockdowns and restrictions conspiring against them, “Wonder Woman 1984” became the top-performing feature film released during the pandemic.

The film rolled up $36.1 million at worldwide theaters over the Christmas holiday weekend. In addition, the presentation strategy increased streaming viewership on HBO Max and, Warner Bros. said, cemented plans for a third film in the superhero franchise.

“Wonder Woman 1984” reunites lead star Gal Gadot with Chris Pine as well as director and co-writer Patty Jenkins. Pedro Pascal comes aboard, playing the evil Maxwell Lord, as does Kristen Wiig as anthropologist Barbara Minerva.

The long wait between wrapping the production and release has built the anticipation.

“Super excited,” Gadot told Variety. “We shot the movie back in 2018 and the movie was ready to be shared almost a year ago and we just kept on pushing and pushing because of COVID.” 

An estimated $16.7 million of the box office total came from U.S. and Canadian theaters, Warner Bros. said on Sunday. In 2017, the “Wonder Woman” film opened with $103.2 million domestically.

With two-thirds of North American theaters closed, the release included simultaneous availability on HBO Max, a strategy that “exceeded our expectations across all of our key viewing and subscriber metrics in its first 24 hours on the service,” according to Andy Forsell, executive VP and GM of WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer.

The sequel’s total gross is estimated to be around $85 million as of Sunday afternoon, according to initial data compiled by Box Office Mojo by IMDbPro.

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