Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0.

The trailblazing Wonder Woman film has been in theaters for seven weeks. In that time, it’s become the summer’s top domestic earner in the United States, the top-grossing live-action film ever to be directed by a woman, and it is expected to earn about 3.8 times the $103.3 million it collected in its opening weekend, a heretofore unreached multiplier in the superhero genre.

Its impact extended to Wikipedia as well. Last month, both articles were viewed around 5.5 million times on the English-language version of the encyclopedia. These figures made them the two the most-viewed articles on the encyclopedia in June—far outstripping other films released around the same time, like The Mummy and Transformers: The Last Knight. Globally, the article about protagonist Gal Gadot received over 8 million views across all language Wikipedias in June;1 Wonder Woman followed just behind with 7.3 million.

Wonder Woman was the first solo movie for the comic book series of the same name since its debut in 1941, but it spent a lengthy period in development hell before Patty Jenkins, an old fan of the comic book series, was brought on to direct the film.

“[Jenkins] decided to focus on inclusivity,” says a Wikipedian who edited the film’s Wikipedia article under the username Classicfilms, “as a way to work through the various complications of gender that seemed to stall the film for two decades.” She continues:

Her vision appears to have worked, particularly with that segment of the population who either grew up reading comic books or playing games related to these comic characters, and I think most would agree, that this is a tough crowd. Thus, part of the success of the film lies in the fact that Jenkins grew up reading Wonder Woman comics and paid respect to the numerous narratives that DC comics introduced over the decades with regard to this character (even when Jenkins made her own signature changes).

Classicfilms first edited an article about a Wonder Woman film back in 2006 when screenwriter Joss Whedon was working on a screenplay for the film. The edits to that page, then titled “Wonder Woman (undeveloped film),” were later merged to the character’s article when the idea of a Wonder Woman film appeared to have stalled.

“As a child, I was a huge Wonder Woman fan,” recalls Classicfilms, who now holds a PhD in English literature. “This film is something of a dream come true, despite some valid criticism of it. We’ve had so many Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Hulk films; it was time for a Wonder Woman film.”

“My mother was the one who introduced me to Wonder Woman,” Classicfilms said, as it was “a comic book that she grew up reading after it appeared in the 1940s.” She continues:

I first developed an interest in these genres as a child, when I was the only girl on my street to trade X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Avengers comics with the other boys who read them (mostly from the 1960s and 1970s). I first became interested when I read my brother’s comics and realized that there were some very cool female superheroes, such as the Invisible Woman, Scarlet Witch, The Wasp, and Medusa.

“The DC spectacular we’ve been waiting for,” the Wall Street Journal proclaimed when Wonder Woman premiered, which triggered over five million views for the Wikipedia articles on each of the film and its heroine on Wikipedia during the month of June.

“It is important to update Wikipedia articles when a movie premieres,” says a Wikipedian who edited the page under the username Dash9Z. “We should have the most up-to-date information, such as premiere date, gross, reviews, etc. One of the best things about Wikipedia is having the latest detailed information all in one place.”

“I edited the Wonder Woman article to ensure that its quality was on par with other superhero films,” Dash9Z told us. “Articles for Marvel Cinematic Universe films are usually pretty good quality, and I want to make sure articles for DC Extended Universe films are also of good quality.”

For Dash9Z, character development and portrayal was Wonder Woman‘s key to success because “character bonding is something which was lacking a bit in the DC Extended Universe, so it’s good we got to see it in this film. It’s great DC finally did a Wonder Woman movie.”

With all that, last weekend at San Diego Comic Con, Warner Bros. has officially announced that they are working on a sequel to the blockbuster. The film release date was later announced to be December 2019.

Footnote

  1. Gadot’s article was also the most-viewed article on the Hebrew Wikipedia, the language of her native Israel.

Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
Wikimedia Foundation