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'Wonder Woman' buries 'The Mummy' at box office

NEW YORK — Tom Cruise was no match for Wonder Woman.

Warner Bros.' "Wonder Woman" wrapped up Cruise's "The Mummy" at the weekend box office, pulling in an estimated US$57.2 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday. Universal's "The Mummy" looked its age, selling a relatively feeble US$32.2 million in tickets in its debut weekend.

That couldn't compete with "Wonder Woman" in its second weekend. The Gal Gadot superhero film, directed by Patty Jenkins, has quickly earned US$205 million domestically in two weeks.

The poor North American opening for "The Mummy," which cost an estimated US$125 million to produce, meant a weak start for Universal's ballyhooed "Dark Universe."

"The Mummy" is intended to launch a new, Marvel-style connected franchise that resurrects many of the famous monster characters — including Frankenstein, Dracula and The Invisible Man — from the studio's vaults.

Universal could still point to strong ticket sales internationally, where "The Mummy" grossed US$141.8 million in 63 territories, including US$52.2 million in China. According to Universal, it's the biggest worldwide opening for Cruise. His star power now shines brightest overseas, where audiences have been more forgiving of the actor's baggage.

But critics slammed the film, directed by Alex Kurtzman; it has a dismal 17 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences agreed, giving "The Mummy" a B-minus CinemaScore.

Universal distribution executives trumpeted the film's international performance while acknowledging the North American gross left something to be desired. But should there be any doubt, it's still full-steam ahead for the Dark Universe. Johnny Depp is already signed up to play the Invisible Man, as is Javier Bardem to play Frankenstein's Monster. "Beauty and the Beast" director Bill Condon is set to helm "Bride of Frankenstein."

Duncan Clark, president of international distribution for Universal, played down the connective tissue between "The Mummy" and future Dark Universe releases.

"The array of titles available for us and the talent we have coming on board for the ones coming up, they all have to operate as an individual title," said Clark. "We're looking forward to Bill Condon's movie. We're looking forward to any number of the ones in the group. I don't think one can look at any one film that has an influence on the ten that we could possibly do."

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