Wonder Woman tops 2020 box office

Fewer Hollywood releases last year allowed Asian and smaller titles to crack the overall top 10 list at local cinemas

Top-grossing film Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot (above), raked in $4.76 million.
Top-grossing film Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot (above), raked in $4.76 million. PHOTO: WARNER BROS
Train To Busan: Peninsula was the second-biggest film in Singapore last year.
Train To Busan: Peninsula was the second-biggest film in Singapore last year. PHOTO: CLOVER FILMS

As the pandemic shuttered cinemas and postponed the release of blockbusters last year, box-office numbers took a tumble globally and Singapore was no exception.

The top-grossing title of 2020 in local cinemas was the superhero film Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman. It premiered on Dec 17 and has lassoed in $4.76 million. In comparison, 2019's superhero champ Avengers: Endgame is the highest-grossing movie of all time in Singapore with $19.56 million.

Even 2019's 10th place - The Lion King - roared with more than $5 million in earnings.

Covid-19 had shuttered local theatres for more than three months from end-March. Capacity restrictions and social distancing measures have been in place for cinemas since they reopened in July.

Major Hollywood tentpole movies including Marvel's Black Widow, the new James Bond film No Time To Die and the thriller A Quiet Place 2 were all pulled from the 2020 release schedule.

Those that did premiere made the list, with fantasy action flick Mulan and Christopher Nolan's twisty thriller Tenet coming in at third and fourth respectively.

The dearth of Hollywood blockbusters allowed several smaller movies and Asian titles to crack the overall top 10 list.

Audiences rushed out to catch Train To Busan: Peninsula - the sequel to the hit South Korean zombie film Train To Busan (2016) - the first major release to premiere when cinemas reopened. It grossed $2.9 million and was the second-biggest movie in Singapore last year.

The top-grossing film of all time in Japan - Demon Slayer, based on a popular manga series about a boy fighting human-eating demons - became the top-grossing anime title of all time in Singapore with $2.42 million. It beat fantasy title Weathering With You (2019).

Local film-maker Jack Neo's The Diam Diam Era and the Donnie Yen comedy Enter The Fat Dragon are the other Asian titles on the list, both grossing more than $1.5 million.

The critically acclaimed Oscar-winning war film 1917 came in at No. 6.

  • Top 10 movies of 2020

  • TOP-GROSSING MOVIES IN SINGAPORE 2020

    1. Wonder Woman 1984* ($4.76 million)

    2. Train To Busan: Peninsula ($2.9 million)

    3. Mulan ($2.77 million)

    4. Tenet ($2.74 million)

    5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba - Mugen Train* ($2.42 million)

    6. 1917 ($1.66 million)

    7. Birds Of Prey ($1.57 million)

    8. The Diam Diam Era* ($1.56 million)

    9. Enter The Fat Dragon ($1.54 million)

    10. The Croods: A New Age* ($1.36 million)

  • TOP-GROSSING ASIAN MOVIES IN SINGAPORE 2020

    1. Train To Busan: Peninsula ($2.9 million)

    2. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba - Mugen Train* ($2.42 million)

    3. The Diam Diam Era* ($1.56 million)

    4. Enter The Fat Dragon ($1.54 million)

    5. Vanguard ($1.24 million)

    6. Shock Wave 2* ($1.12 million)

    7. Ashfall ($922,000)

    8. Number 1 ($862,000)

    9. Jiang Zi Ya: Legend Of Deification ($585,000)

    10. The Eight Hundred ($375,290)

    • *Indicates a film still showing in cinemas

It, along with Birds Of Prey and Enter The Fat Dragon, opened before Covid-19 closed cinemas.

On the Asian top 10 list, A-listers were still a top draw, even amid a pandemic.

The Jackie Chan action film Vanguard made $1.24 million while the Andy Lau action feature Shock Wave 2, which opened on Dec 24, took in $1.12 million in just over a week.

Boosted by Singaporean comedian Mark Lee's Golden Horse nomination for his performance in the drag musical Number 1, the film earned $862,000.

While South Korean and Japanese titles and Hong Kong stars dominated the top-grossing Asian films, Chinese films were not completely shut out. Despite the lack of a cast well known to local audiences, the animated Jiang Zi Ya: Legend Of Deification and wartime epic The Eight Hundred rounded out the list.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2021, with the headline 'Wonder Woman tops 2020 box office'. Print Edition | Subscribe