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'Wonder Woman' Continues Hot Streak In Mediocre Summer For Hollywood

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's been a mediocre summer so far for Hollywood box office numbers - down about 11 percent from last summer. But one movie has had remarkable staying power.

(SOUNDBITE OF RUPERT GREGSON-WILLIAMS' "WONDER WOMAN'S WRATH")

CORNISH: "Wonder Woman" opened 10 weeks ago and is still playing in more than a thousand theaters. Most movies stay in theaters for just a couple of weeks. NPR's Ted Robbins filed this report.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "WONDER WOMAN")

GAL GADOT: (As Diana) Only love can truly save the world.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Not the usual wisecrack out of a modern superhero's mouth. And we know Wonder Woman is - pardon the oxymoron - no ordinary superhero, not on screen and not at the box office. She's about to surpass $400 million in North American ticket sales. Add in international box office, and she's nearly doubled that.

PAUL DERGARABEDIAN: Well, it's obliterated expectations.

ROBBINS: That's Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for global media measurement company comScore. "Wonder Woman" is the first female standalone superhero movie directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins.

DERGARABEDIAN: For this movie to kind of break through that ceiling and prove that there are no stereotypes when it comes to making movies. The fact that we even have to have that discussion is sort of ridiculous, that can a female director possibly direct a big-budget action superhero movie? Well, that question has been resoundingly answered. Now, they made it look kind of easy. That doesn't mean every time out of the gate you're going to have this kind of result. But "Wonder Woman 2" is already greenlit. It's not a billion-dollar movie worldwide, but it's meant so much more than that. And really, as it gets close to 800 million worldwide, it's a total winner.

ROBBINS: "Wonder Woman's" staying power has as much to do with its message as it does with its quality and fun as a movie.

DERGARABEDIAN: "Wonder Woman" is a film that generated goodwill on so many levels.

ROBBINS: But it's still not the No. 1 movie of 2017. That's the live-action version of "Beauty And The Beast." Apparently, a sword and shield is not yet a match for a tale as old as time and a talking candlestick. Ted Robbins, NPR News, Culver City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As supervising editor for Arts and Culture at NPR based at NPR West in Culver City, Ted Robbins plans coverage across NPR shows and online, focusing on TV at a time when there's never been so much content. He thinks "arts and culture" encompasses a lot of human creativity — from traditional museum offerings to popular culture, and out-of-the-way people and events.