How ‘Batman V Superman’ Will Turn A Profit Despite Critical Kryptonite

Warner Bros.

8TH UPDATE: Monday 5:31PM. Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice might come up $3.7M million short of breaking even in its global theatrical run. However, the first title in DC features 2.0., which was blasted by critics with a 29% Rotten score and given a B CinemaScore from audiences, likely will turn a minimum profit of $207.9M once all revenue streams are accounted. Warner Bros provided no comment about BvS projections. Financial analysts today assembled a bare-minimum projection for the Zack Snyder movie, which is projected to turn in a domestic B.O. of $375M (2.25 times its $166M FSS) and a global take of $925M.

“It will not make a profit in the way that Zootopia (global B.O. $698M, cost $150M) or Deadpool (global B.O. $746M, cost $58M) have,” said our source. We’ve heard that any B.O. figure north of $800M was considered a good start for DC movies 2.0. Some sources think there’s a possibility that BvS could hit $1B globally, and that’s because nothing is standing in the pic’s way. Disney’s live-action/CGI version of The Jungle Book debuts April 8 in Australia, Argentina, Russia and Southeast Asia (15% of foreign) before touching down April 15 stateside. Seventy percent of international will bow day-and-date with U.S. Universal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War starts its journey abroad in 24 territories on April 6 and lands in U.S./Canada and everywhere else April 22.

Currently, exhibitors are projecting a 65% decline for BvS this weekend, or $74.7M (we heard some exhibitors weren’t overly thrilled, but if it’s making money, that’s not going to stop them from showing it). In regards to its tracking,The Jungle Book conceivably could open to $62M in No. 1 stateside, fueled by female and older male quadrants. Last year, after F7 opened over Easter weekend, it held the top spot for four frames until Avengers: Age of Ultron launched the summer.

In the rundown below, foreign rentals are figured at 40%, while U.S./Canadian money comes back to Burbank at an average 55% of domestic B.O. We’ve also heard that worldwide P&A rose from $150M to $165M at the last minute “because Warner Bros had to make sure this picture opened,” said another source. Pricey P&A is never a bad thing: It means that the studio gave a damn and invested in the movie. Had it not spent, and BvS didn’t open, then that would be bad.

Global home entertainment revenues (that includes SVOD) for BvS are estimated at $260M, which would be less than the $311M made by Age of Ultron. Worldwide TV revenue at $135M would also be estimated to be under Ultron‘s $143M total TV take. Participations and residual payouts to the BvS cast are estimated at $92.4M, which is $10M less than Ultron. The chart is below. Note, this is before any merchandising is taken into consideration. Three years ago, The Licensing Letter weighed global retails sales for Batman and Superman at $771M combined.

Batman V Superman Profit Projection

Thumb stream costs revenue profit
Domestic B.O. $375M
Foreign B.O. $450M
China B.O. $100M
Worldwide B.O. $925M
Est. Domestic Rental $206.3M
Est. Foreign Rental $180M
China Rental $25M
Global Home Entertainment & SVOD $260M
Global TV $135M
Total Revenues $806.3M
Production Cost $250M
Global P&A $165M
Global Home Entertainment Costs $91M
Participations, Residuals, Off-the-tops $92.4M
Total Costs $598.4M
Total Profits $207.9M

Gold Circle/Playtone/HBO’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 via Uni came in under its Sunday projection with $17.9M. An A- CinemaScore gives it a 3.5 multiple, meaning its final domestic cume should be around $63M. Not bad for a movie that cost $18M. It will be interesting see if it will be even bigger given the fact that the over-50 crowd doesn’t come out all at once, rather later weeks. Easter boosted Sony/Affirm’s faith-based fare to higher ranks: Miracles From Heaven overtook Lionsgate’s Allegiant for fourth place, while Risen cracked the top 10.

Below are the top 20 films from ComScore:

1).Batman v Superman (WB), 4,242 theaters/3-day cume: $166M/ Per screen avg.: $39,134 / Wk 1

*includes $27.7M previews

2). Zootopia (DIS), 3,670 theaters (-289)/ 3-day cume: $24M (-35%)/Per screen: $6,546 / Total Cume: $241.4M/Wk 4

3). My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (UNI), 3,133 theaters/3-day cume: $17.9M / Per screen: $5,701 / Wk 1

+includes $1.02M Thursday previews

4).Miracles From Heaven (SONY), 3,047 theaters/ 3-day cume: $9.7M (-35%)/ Per screen: $3,182 / Total Cume: $34.3M/ Wk 2

5).Allegiant (LG), 3,740 theaters/ 3-day cume: $9.4M (-67%)/ Per screen: $2,523Total cume: $46.5M /Wk 2

6). 10 Cloverfield Lane (PAR), 2,802 theaters (-625)/ 3-day cume: $5.9M (-53%)/ Per screen: $2,120 / Total cume: $55.95M Wk 3

7). Deadpool (FOX), 2,336 theaters (-588)/ 3-day cume: $4.9M (-39%) Per screen: $2,097 / Total Cume: $349.4M Wk 6

8). London Has Fallen (FOC), 2,173 theaters (-838)/ 3-day cume: $3M (-56%)Per screen: $1,393Total Cume: $55.7M/ Wk 4

9) Hello, My Name Is Doris (RSA), 488 theaters (+360) / 3-day cume: $1.7M (+67%)Per screen: $3,420 / Total Cume: $3.2MWk 3

10). Risen (SONY), 634 theaters (-571)/ 3-day cume: $935K (-18%) / Per screen: $1,475 / Total Cume: $36M /Wk 6

11) Eye in the Sky (BLST), 123 theaters (+88)/ 3-day cume: $932K (+121%)Per screen: $7,581 / Total Cume: $1.65MWk 3

12). Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (PAR), 847 theaters (-1,232)/ 3-day cume: $900K (-68%) / Per screen: $1,063 / Total Cume: $21.3M /Wk 4

13). Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS), 552 theaters (-16) /3-day cume: $816K (-15%)/ Per screen: $1,479 / Total cume: $933.7M / Wk 15

14). The Perfect Match (LG), 658 theaters (-267)/ 3-day cume:  $683K Per screen: $1,037 / Total cume: $8.7M /Wk 3

15). Kapoor & Sons – Since 1 (FIP), 153 theaters (+10)/ 3-day cume: $598K (-39%)Per screen: $3,909 / Total cume: $1.9M /Wk 2

16). Kung Fu Panda 3 (DWA/FOX), 480 theaters (-239) / 3-day cume: $562K (-42%) / Per screen: $1,170 Total cume: $139.4M / Wk 9

17). The Revenant (FOX), 506 theaters (-429) / 3-day cume: $447K (-63%) / Per screen: $883 Total cume: $182.1M / Wk 14

18). The Young Messiah (FOC), 874 theaters (-895)/ 3-day cume: $274K (-75%)Per screen: $314 / Total cume: 6.3M / Wk 3

19).  Gods of Egypt  (LG), 473 theaters (-602)/ 3-day cume: $273K (-76%) / Per screen: $577 / Total cume: $30.2M/ Wk 5

20). How To Be Single (WB/MGM/New Line), 188 theaters (-178) /3-day cume: $250K (-38%)Per screen: $1,332 / Total: $46.4M/ Wk 7


Midnight Special (WB), 5 theaters/ 3-day cume: $100K (-47%)/Per screen: $20,003 /Total: $361KWk 2

Born To Be Blue (IFC), 3 theaters/ 3-day cume: $46K/ Per screen: $15,395 / Wk 1

The Lobster (MON), 7 theaters/ 3-day cume: $50K/ Per screen: $ / Wk 1
Canadian release

I Saw the Light (SPC), 5 theaters/3-day cume: $45K/Per screen: $9,094Wk 1

The Bronze (SPC), 333 theaters (-834) / 3-day cume: $29K (-93%)Per screen: $87/ Total: $601KWk 2

April and the Extraordinary World (GKIDS), 1 theaters/3-day cume: $11,413 / Wk 1

Valley Of Love (STRAND), 2 theaters/ 3-day cume: $10K/ Per screen: $4,924/ Wk 1

Get A Job (LGP), 10 theaters/ 3-day cume: $7K/ Per screen: $689/ Wk 1

7TH UPDATE:  Monday AM. We’ll have more updates later, but Warner Bros.’ revised global opening for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice of $420.1M still ranks as the fourth highest worldwide debut on the all-time chart, still outstripping Furious 7′s $397.7M and Avengers’ $392.5M. A rival studio executive pointed out that Avengers didn’t include China, Russia or Japan in its opening. Also, F7‘s didn’t have China in its first suite of markets. However, records are records, and if we got into specifics, we’d be asterisking the entire all-time openers chart. Nancy Tartaglione breaks down BvS overseas further.

As many in the industry saw yesterday morning (and we pointed this out), BvS revised stateside take of $166M didn’t beat Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2‘s $169.1M for the Warner Bros. opening record, however the Zack Snyder Dark Knight-Son of Jor’El face off did hold all other records: Easter, March, pre-summer, bests for Snyder, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. One financial analyst made a sharp observation about the BvS opening: with a running time of 151 minutes, money was left on the table, particularly when you consider that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was 135 minutes, and Avengers: Age of Ultron was 141 minutes. AMC Empire was one of the standout venues in the U.S. that played BvS 53 times during the course of a day in Imax, 3D and 2D.

6th UPDATE, Sunday AM — Warner Bros. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t beat The Avengers  in the United States ($207.4M), but worldwide it punched out the Marvel hero team with a $424M debut. That beats Avengers’ $392.5M opening, and is the fourth highest global bow of all-time, even outflying Universal’s Furious 7‘s $397.7M.

Batman V Superman Box OfficeThe Burbank, CA-based studio needed this opening like a guy in the desert needs water, particularly  after a 2015 fraught with big budget disasters like Pan, Jupiter Ascending, In the Heart of the Sea, and Man From U.N.C.L.E. Even more, BvS is a big win for franchised properties on the big screen, triumphing over last year’s pricey gambles greenlit by Warner Bros.

As one rival studio executive exclaimed today after looking at BvS’ success, “I don’t think anyone read the reviews!” Advance ticket sales firms are reporting that BvS is already generating 30% more repeat business than is typical, and late night shows are bigger than even Warner Bros. calculated. Yesterday’s estimates of $49M for a second-day take were bumped up this morning to $50.8M.

BvS’ stateside $170.1M haul marks a studio best for Warner Bros., taking out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2‘s $169.1M (rivals have BvS at an estimated $168.5M FSS). BvS easily owns the following records: best pre-summer and March openings, beating The Hunger Games’ $152.5M, and best Easter opening, kicking aside Furious 7’s $147.2M. BvS has also beaten up The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9M), and The Dark Knight’s first frames ($158.4M) to become the best debut for a DC Comics big screen adaptation. Everyone is expecting BvS to follow the path of most top 10 films with a 30% to 35% decline on Easter Sunday. Only faith-based pics like Miracles of Heaven and Risen are seeing a more modest 10% dip from Saturday.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of JusticeOther records taken by BvS: best opening for Ben Affleck (beats Pearl Harbor‘s $75.2M), and for Henry Cavill and director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel‘s $116.6M). To date, BvS is also the best FSS for the year, trumping Deadpool‘s $132.4M. The projection is that the B CinemaScore — of which there were 22% under-18-year olds who loved it with an A- and 40% under-25ers who gave it a B+ — will translate into a 2.25 multiple, which would put BvS’ final tally at $383M stateside.

There’s a lot to be said for Warner Bros.’ decision to book a summer blockbuster on Easter weekend. “The beauty of this date around the world versus summer is that you don’t have titles before and afterward,” said WB domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. “When you kick off Easter, you’re all by yourself. We have all this headroom moving forward.” F7 played at No. 1 for four weeks before Avengers: Age of Ultron opened during the first weekend of May. BvS might do the same unless it’s tripped up by Disney’s The Jungle Book and Uni’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War. 

Typically, New York and LA put up the best theater openings for tentpoles, but looking at BvS’s top grossing venues indicates the film played strong across the nation: NYC’s AMC Empire played the title 53 times over the last two days, grossing $528K, but ranking second was The Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ, taking $279K on Friday and Saturday. At third was Burbank’s AMC with $291K, followed by San Antonio’s Santikos Palladium Imax at $279K and Regal’s Atlantic Station in Atlanta with $274K.

Imax showings of BvS pulled in $18M at 388 hubs, the large format’s best Easter FSS ever, beating last year’s F7‘s $13.3M. That figure reps 11% of the weekend and a per theater of $46K. PLFs made up 10% of BvS FSS with $17M. Cinemark XD’s auditoriums were tops with $3.6M. Forty-percent of the pic’s opening B.O. was repped by 3D equipped screens. RealD 3D accounted for an estimated $47M of BvS‘s $170M.

On social this weekend, RelishMix observed #BatmanvSuperman daily hashtags on Twitter and Instagram cracked six figures at 101K, which exceeded #Deadpool as well as #StarWars for one-day posts. This was fueled by Snyder, Affleck and Gal Gadot’s Twitter handles. The BvS official FB page added 160K new fans in 2 days just surpassing 4M total fans. And on YouTube, the top 9 videos are all tracking above 100k views a days and the top 3 over 500K with an SMU lift of 11M since Thursday previews, now up to 738.8M.

Warner Bros. launched the buzz for BvS 32 months ago at Comic-Con 2013 with the project’s  announcement. The studio continued to hit the confab twice more with batman-v-superman-kimmelupdates, teasers and trailers. Last weekend, there was a fully stunted junket in Los Angeles on the Warner lot. The studio created an immersive environment using set builds, props and costumes. In addition, the studio leaned on movie fanboy mags like Entertainment Weekly and U.K.’s Empire when dropping photos and news throughout the last two and half years. Other key publicity spikes included an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s post-Oscar show, with the host in a hysterical scene with Affleck and Cavill that drew 8.5M views. There were also talent appearances at the NBA All-Star game and a massive talk show schedule that included over 25 appearances by the cast, 13 on Good Morning America alone. The film’s broadcast presence was kicked off on the CW in early January with a half-hour special about the DC Universe.

There were over 130 partners worldwide, including Turkish Airlines in its first-ever entertainment partnership, launching first in the U.S. with TV spots around the Super Bowl and expanding globally to 40+ international markets with TV, print, outdoor and online spends. Doritos ran a global campaign of a “Choose Your Side, Choose Your Prize” sweepstakes in the U.S. and 30+ international markets. The program was advertised on nearly 900M bags of Doritos’ and was supported with activities at retail, in print and through paid digital. Chrysler was a worldwide partner in TV and print with an angle on Jeep and Dodge in the U.S.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2In the non-BvS world, Universal has the weekend’s second wide entry My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, reporting a $18.1M opening at 3,133. Some estimates put it lower, in the high $17M area, still besting the industry’s $15M projection heading into the weekend. I hear despite critics panning the sequel with a 24% Rotten score, the film hit all the proper laugh marks at advance and test screenings. The b.o. is a great start for a comedy that’s been dormant for 14 years.  Uni re-energized fans with a TV spot during Fox’s Grease Live! and by running trailers attached to such titles as Brooklyn, Love the Coopers, Sisters, The Choice, Perfect Match and Miracles From Heaven. There was also a partnership with NBC’s Today for a “My Big Fat Greek TODAY” wedding contest, with engaged couples vying in February to get their dream wedding. The wedding took place live on March 24, officiated by the film’s Vardalos, Joe Fatone, Andrea Martin and Louis Mandylor.

On another front, Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell’s The Lobster opened in Canada to meh numbers.  The A24 film hits the states May 13.

The top 10 films per studio-reported estimates for Easter weekend, March 25-27 from Amanda N’Duka:

1).Batman v Superman (WB), 4,242 theaters/ $82M Fri.* / $50.9M Sat. (-38%) / $37.17M Sun. (-27%) /3-day cume: $170.1M/ Wk 1

*includes $27.7M previews

2). Zootopia (DIS), 3,670 theaters (-289)/ $9.5M Fri. / $8.5M Sat. (-10%) / $5.09M Sun. (-40%) / 3-day cume: $23.1M (-38%)/Total Cume: $240.5M/Wk 4

3). My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (UNI), 3,133 theaters/ $7.25M Fri. / $6.35M Sat. (-12%) / $4.5M Sun. (-29%) /3-day cume: $18.1M Wk 1

+includes $1.02M Thursday previews

4/5).Allegiant (LG), 3,740 theaters/ $3.66M Fri. /$3.68M Sat. (+1%) / $2.16M Sun. (-41%) / 3-day cume: $9.5M (-67%)/Total cume: $46.6M Wk 2

Miracles From Heaven (SONY), 3,047 theaters/ $3.3M Fri./ $3.5M Sat. (+6%) / $2.7M Sun. (-23%) / 3-day cume: $9.5M (-36%)/Total Cume: $34.1M Wk 2

6). 10 Cloverfield Lane (PAR), 2,802 theaters (-625)/ $2.06M Fri. /$2.3M Sat. (+14%) / $1.6M Sun. (-32%) / 3-day cume: $6M (-52%)/Total cume: $56M Wk 3

7). Deadpool (FOX), 2,336 theaters (-588) / $1.7M Fri. / $1.95M Sat. (+15%) / $1.35M Sun. (-31%) / 3-day cume: $5M (-38%) Total Cume: $349.5M Wk 6

8). London Has Fallen (FOC), 2,173 theaters (-838)/ $979K Fri. /$1.1M Sat. (+21%) / $767K Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $2.9M (-57%)/Total Cume: $55.6M/ Wk 4

9) Hello, My Name Is Doris (RSA), 488 theaters (+360)/ $510K Fri. / $693K Sat. (+36%) / $450K Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $1.7M (+66%)/Total Cume: $3.3MWk 3

10) Eye in the Sky (BLST), 123 theaters (+88)/ $300K Fri. /$392K Sat. (+31%) / $308K Sun. (-21%) / 3-day cume: $1M (+137%)/Total Cume: $1.7MWk 3


Oopiri (INDIN), 90 theaters/ $205K Fri. / $347K Sat. (+69%) / $233K Sun. (-33%) / 3-day cume: $785K Wk 1

Ambarsariya (WHP), 49 theaters/ $136K Fri. /$152K Sat. (+12%) / $95K Sun. (-38%) /3-day cume: $383K/ Wk 1

Midnight Special (WB), 5 theaters/ $30K Fri. / $39K Sat. (+30%) / $29K Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $97K (-49%)/PTA: $19K/Total: $358KWk 2

Born To Be Blue (IFC), 11 theaters/ $26K Fri./ $23K Sat. (-8%) / $18K Sun. (-22%) / 3-day cume: $67K/ Wk 1

The Lobster (MON), 7 theaters/ $19K Fri./ $19K Sat. (-1%) / $13K Sun. (-30%) / 3-day cume: $50K/ Wk 1

I Saw the Light (SPC), 5 theaters/ $17K Fri./ $18K Sat. (+8%) / $15K Sun. (-17%) /3-day cume: $50K/PTA: $10KWk 1

The Bronze (SPC), 333 theaters (-834)/ $9.5K Fri. /$12K Sat. (+27%) / $8K Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $29K (-92%)/Total: $602KWk 2

Fastball (GRAV), 27 theaters/ $7K Fri./ $8K Sat. (+15%) / $6K Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $21K/ Wk 1

April and the Extraordinary World (GKIDS), 1 theaters/ $4K Fri./ $5K Sat. (+28%) / $4K Sun. (-10%) /3-day cume: $13K/ Wk 1

PREVIOUS 5TH UPDATE, Writethru Saturday 8 AM: Refresh for updates. After a spell of big-budget disasters last year from Jupiter Ascending to Pan, cash is finally raining on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is set to post the biggest pre-summer opening day ($82M, beating Furious 7‘s $67.4M) and weekend ($170M, outstripping The Hunger Games’ $152.5M). Heck, BvS is poised to be Warner Bros. best opening of all-time, beating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2M), and even The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9M) and The Dark Knight ($158.4M). In 4,242 theaters, BvS is the widest pre-May release and new record-holder for top March and Easter debuts. Reported yesterday: Flash grosses show BvS winning over China with $21.2M. Add that to the two-day $44M tally and the pic’s foreign cume is north of $65M.

“It’s highly unusual to see a superhero movie that’s been panned like this with such a huge opening. Typically they open big and get great reviews,” said one insider, scratching his head over the audience’s solid B CinemaScore and the 30% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Demos giving the film a higher grade break down thusly: Under 18 (at 22%) gave it an A- while under 25 (at 40%) gave BvS a B+.

batman v supermanQuite often, branded tentpoles are Teflon against poor reviews, and, yes, BvS is another example. Only Bond films have to sweat critical response since their fans skew to an older demo that reads reviews. But rarely do we see a panned movie with OK audience reaction open to $100M-plus. Of note in that category, BvS joins Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 ($138.1M opening, B+ CinemaScore, 24% rotten) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($109M opening, B+ CinemaScore, 19% rotten).

Yet despite all the confetti guns going off on the Warner lot for BvS, critics remain grumpy and fans not entirely wowed by the film. Let’s consider what went right with BvS.

Warner Bros.’ decision to release a summer tentpole over Easter weekend was genius. More kids are off from school now than during the first weekend of the B.O. summer (first weekend in May). Seventy-six percent K-12 schools were off on Good Friday, with 45% scheduled to be off the Monday after Easter. Rather than get crushed by the next four-quad release on the summer calendar, WB decided in August 2014 to move BvS to Easter 2016, a decision made well before Furious 7 set the Easter frame on fire last year with a $147.1M opening. At this point, BvS will have plenty of breathing room in the weeks to come with the only potential obstacles being Disney’s live action The Jungle Book and Universal’s Snow White prequel The Huntsman Winter’s War. 

WB already knew that Easter audiences could lay golden eggs: the studio launched Clash of the Titans over the holiday space in 2010 ($61.2M opening). BvS was originally scheduled to debut on July 17, 2015, but Ant-Man pushed it out, and then BvS was scheduled to open the first weekend in May, but Marvel plopped Captain America: Civil War there. Moving BvS to Easter 2016, WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara was aware of the risks and rewards: 2015 was bound to be an off-year for the studio without BvS in the mix, and the studio had to get the franchise right since it was all about re-launching DC 2.0 on the big screen. While a B Cinemascore comes with a 2.9 multiple, the thinking is that BvS will leg out at 2.25x its opening to $385M stateside. The film needs to make roughly $900M worldwide if it’s going to break-even theatrically off its estimated $400M production and P&A cost.

Warner Bros. Pictures Panel And Presentation - Comic-Con International 2014Next, the WB marketing and PR team did a stellar job at keeping the BvS want-to-see momentum going for a 32-month period. BvS was announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2013. Disney first piqued our interest with a teaser trailer 13 months before the Dec. 18, 2015 release date of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. BvS director Zack Snyder dropped the first teaser 20 months ago at Comic-Con 2014. $150M in global P&A spend and several trailer drops later, Warner Bros. finds itself with the best pre-summer opening of all-time. According to ComScore PostTrak polling, 18% of all moviegoers said that in-theater trailers influenced them the most to see BvS, while 17% said it was the online trailer and 11% cited TV spots.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Crashed TIE FighterBut something went awry with BvS in controlling critical word of mouth. When Disney was tasked with re-invigorating the major franchise Star Wars that had been dormant for a decade, the studio invited all critics and press to the Hollywood premiere, creating a situation where no reviews could leak out ahead of the pack; luckily everyone loved the movie and all the reviews posted at once. I’m told that Warner Bros. tried to get as many critics in the same room at the same time during the early part of the opening week, however not all reviewers showed up, creating a situation where reviews dripped out throughout the week. This created a situation where the first, sour set of BvS reviews influenced the remaining critics, and a pack mentality setting ensued. Warner Bros. might consider different maneuvers with its next DC title, Suicide Squad, in August.

Now in the wake of bad reviews and OK audience responses, team Snyder –which is in pre-production on Justice League — faces the challenge of changing their game up. At this time, despite any amount of money being deposited in Warner Bros. coffers from BvS, it would be prudent to listen to critics and fans’ story notes, especially the near universal complaint that  BvS is too long, too brooding, too hackneyed (did we really need to see Bruce Wayne’s parents die for the umpteenth time on the screen?). This is all for the sake of DC 2.0’s longevity moving forward. And Snyder takes this DC stuff seriously. It’s not just about throwing it up on the screen. As he told The Daily Beast, “I look at it as more being mythological than, say, bubblegum.”

What’s clear from reading the CinemaScore reports is that people came out this weekend because they wanted to see a Batman film (62%). This was a stronger pull than the cast: Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill pulled in 21% of the audience, while Gal Gadot accounted for 14% (which is pretty good for a fresh face).

superman iiiAt the same time, critics might acknowledge the strides that Warner Bros. made in elevating the Batman and Superman franchises. Given critics’ acerbic reactions, you’d think they were asked to sit through Gigli or Superman III again. While WB botched the Superman franchise in the 1980s with Superman III and Superman IV, BvS wasn’t a property they were going to waste. A lot of thought went into nurturing this beast, with all studio departments working at full cycle.

dark knight returns

Warner Bros. finally made the movie that most Batman fans wanted a see: A movie that was akin to an adaptation of Frank Miller’s beloved The Dark Knight Returns comic book series, which ends with Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne beating the crap out of each other. No amount of dagger-throwing by New York Times critic A.O. Scott or Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern was going to prevent audiences from seeking BvS. Not to mention, fans finally got to see Wonder Woman’s bigscreen debut (a Fandango poll revealed that 88% were interested in seeing the movie just for her). Rev4 movie theater metrics showed that of those polled during the last two weeks of their theater sample, 75% said they wanted to buy a ticket to BvS (to 18.5% who didn’t). Sixty-percent of those polled by ComScore last night said they bought tickets in advance.

batmanWhen WB launched its Batman films in 1989 through Tim Burton’s psychedelic goggles, Miller’s Dark Knight Returns books had already been in release for three years. At the time, the literary property was too ambitious for Warner Bros: Batman was an old man, the story took place in an ultra-violent Gotham and presented a high- concept notion of the city’s good guys going at each other’s throats. A few years ago, I asked BvS screenwriter David Goyer that if Dark Knight Returns was the movie everyone wanted to see, why hadn’t Warners already made it? His response was that the property was too risky to spring on mass audiences; the palette needed to be primed before springing Dark Knight Returns. And that’s essentially the evolution from Burton to Christopher Nolan to Snyder.


Batman V Superman Box Office ChinaBvS’ $27.7M Thursday reps 34% of its Friday figure, beating all superhero preview nights outside of The Dark Knight Rises’ midnight shows ($30.6M). Not only are Imax, RealD, 4DX drivers for BvS’ biz, but this film is projecting 41 times on Saturday at the Hollywood Arclight, with showtimes from 8:30AM to 2:30AM.  Meanwhile, at the AMC Empire on 42nd Street in NYC, BvS boasts 53 showtimes from 8:30AM to 3AM. PLFs should generate $17.6M, with $4M of that coming from Cinemark XD auditoriums.

The Snyder mashup is currently estimated to take a 35% decline on Saturday for $52.8M.  That percent decline is on par with Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s second day. ComScore PostTrak audience gave BvS a 73% grade in the very good/excellent boxes. Definite recommend rate to friends remains at a solid 60%. Looking at the family responses — it’s pretty damn good. Parents give BvS  a very good/excellent score of 79% while kids under 12 grade it at 87%. Seventy-nine percent of all parents are spreading good WOM to their friends about Snyder’s movie while 75% of all the kids that watched it are telling their friends immediately about it. Boys made up most of the kid crowd at 60% with 45% between the ages of 10-12. Primary reasons why they showed up? Eighteen percent said it was because it was a superhero/comic book movie, 16% were Batman fans, while 9% came out for Affleck, Cavill and Gadot.

zootopia 2Guess what’s in second place? Disney’s Zootopia, which is looking at an estimated $23.5M in its fourth frame, off 37%, elevating its cume by Sunday to $240.9M. That’s 6% ahead of where Pixar’s Finding Nemo was at the same point and 46% ahead of Disney original animated feature Frozen through its first 24 days.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2Universal’s distribution of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 from Playtone/Gold Circle/HBO is now looking at a Friday of $7.2M, putting its opening at $17.8M in third place at 3,133 venues. Estimated production cost was $18M, which is 3.6 times more expensive than the original 2002 movie. It’s going to be interesting to watch the legs on this one. First, older moviegoers do not show up all at once, but rather spread out over time. The last movie though a miraculous platform built its way to $241.4M. Audiences still love this fluffy franchise 14 years later with an A- CinemaScore. Females at 71% gave MBFGW2 an A-, along with the over 25 set who turned out at 78%. The 50+ crowd repped 43% of the audience, and thought it was alright with a B+. Sixty-three percent came out because it was a sequel to their favorite movie, while 30% shelled out to watch Nia Vardalos and 20% came for John Corbett. It’s hard to find a comp for this. The first Greek Wedding wasn’t monitored by CinemaScore and studios don’t make sequels for blue hairs anymore (remember Grumpier Old Men?).

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANTLionsgate’s The Divergent Series: Allegiant falls to fourth with an estimated $3.7M for Friday and a black eye -68% second weekend decline of $9.2M putting its 10-day at $46.3M. That’s steeper than the -59% second frame drop weathered by Insurgent a year ago when it came up against DreamWorks Animation’s Home and Warner Bros.’ Get Hard. Sony/Affirm’s Miracles From Heaven at 3,047 is a tad thinner than projected with a second sesh of $9.1M and a running cume of $33.7M in fifth place.

More good news for superhero movies this weekend: 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool by Sunday will be within $900K of overtaking Warner Bros.’ American Sniper as the second highest R-rated film at the domestic B.O.  Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ still rules the adult record with $370.8M.

Bleecker Street’s drone thriller Eye in the Sky flies into the top 10 after moving from 35 to 123 venues with $958K. Roadside Attractions’ Hello My Name is Doris is also a big draw on the Specialty scene with a No. 9 take of $1.6M.

Amanda N’Duka’s weekend industry estimates as of Saturday 8AM for Easter weekend 2016, March 25-27:

1).Batman v Superman (WB), 4,242 theaters/ $82M Fri.* / 3-day cume: $170M/ Wk 1

*includes $27.7M previews

2). Zootopia (DIS), 3,670 theaters (-289)/ $9.6 Fri. (0%)/ 3-day cume: $23.5M (-37%)/Total Cume: $240.9M/Wk 4

3).My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (UNI), 3,133 theaters/ $7.2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $17.8M Wk 1

+includes $1.02M Thursday previews

4).Allegiant (LG), 3,740 theaters/ $3.7M Fri.  (-69%)/ 3-day cume: $9.2M (-68%)/Total cume: $46.3M Wk 2

5).Miracles From Heaven (SONY), 3,047 theaters/ $3.3M Fri.(-21%) / 3-day cume: $9.1M (-39%)/Total Cume: $33.7M Wk 2

6).10 Cloverfield Lane (PAR), 2,802 theaters (-625)/ $2.1M Fri. (-44%) / 3-day cume: $5.6M (-55%)/Total cume: $55.7M Wk 3

7). Deadpool (FOX), 2,336 theaters (-588) / $1.7M Fri. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $4.7M (-42%) Total Cume: $349.2M Wk 6

8). London Has Fallen (FOC), 2,173 theaters (-838)/ $978K Fri. (-48%)/ 3-day cume: $2.8M (-59%)/Total Cume: $55.5M/ Wk 4

9) Hello, My Name Is Doris (RSA), 488 theaters (+360)/ $513K Fri. (+97%) / 3-day cume: $1.6M (+60%)/Total Cume: $3.2MWk 3

10) Eye in the Sky (BLST), 123 theaters (+88)/ $300K Fri. (+171%) / 3-day cume: $958K (+127%)/Total Cume: $1.68MWk 3


Oopiri (INDIN), 90 theaters/ $205K Fri. / 3-day cume: $623K Wk 1

Ambarsariya (WHP), 49 theaters/ $140K Fri. / 3-day cume: $413K/ Wk 1

Midnight Special (WB), 5 theaters/ $32K Fri. (-48%) / 3-day cume: $108K (-43%) /PTA: $22K/ Total: $370KWk 2

Born To Be Blue (IFC), 10 theaters/ $25K Fri./ 3-day cume: $74K/ Wk 1

The Lobster (MON), 7 theaters/ $19K Fri./ 3-day cume: $54K/PTA: $8KWk 1

I Saw the Light (SPC), 5 theaters/ $17K Fri./ 3-day cume: $50K/PTA: $10KWk 1

The Bronze (SPC), 333 theaters (-834)/ $9.5K Fri. (-93%) / 3-day cume: $28K (-93%)/Total: $600KWk 2

Fastball (GRAV), 27 theaters/ $7K Fri./ 3-day cume: $21K/ Wk 1

April and the Extraordinary World (GKIDS),1 theaters/ $4K Fri./ 3-day cume: $10K/ Wk 1

PREVIOUS, 8 AM: Whatever war of words Warner Bros’ Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice lost with critics with a 30% Rotten Tomatoes score, it’s making up for nine-fold at the box office. Last night, Zack Snyder’s Dark Knight and Son of Jor’El smackdown had a great Thursday at the B.O. reaping $27.7M, punching out the preview cash made by Disney/Marvel’s Age of Ultron ($27.6M from 7PM shows), Avengers ($18.7M, midnight) and Iron Man 3 ($15.6M, 9PM) as well as Warner Bros. 2008 midnight shows from Dark Knight ($18.5M).

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of JusticeBvS Thursday night also drives Universal’s Furious 7’s $15.7M preview from a year ago off the record books, becoming the best pre-Easter preview. F7’s Thursday repped 23% of its opening Good Friday figure of $67.4M. That number was the best pre-summer opening day before turning into the best April and Easter opening of all-time with $147.2M. Despite BvS’ reviews, weekend projections continue to be in the $160M+ range. Advance ticket sales for BvS have been estimated to be between $20M-$25M; 60% of those polled by ComScore last night said they bought tickets ahead of time. Some believed that if the reviews had hit 60% rotten, that the pic’s FSS would surge to $175M, however, last night’s ticket sales indicate that the best is yet to come. Essentially, Friday could potentially generate over 90% additional ticket sales on top of last night’s results for BvS, when you consider that Avengers: Age of Ultron made 33% of its $84.4M first day from Thursday showtimes starting at 7PM, while Avengers grossed $18.7M or 23% of its $80.8M opening day from midnight previews.

According to ComScore PostTrak, which polls throughout the weekend, the word of mouth is great for BvS. Seventy-one percent of Thursday’s crowd gave BvS an excellent or very good grade. Even better news for Warner Bros. after those reviews: 60% of the audience said they would definitely recommend BvS to their friends while 33% said they’ll probably tell them about it. Older males were out in force (no surprise) at 69% guys, 57% over 25. Fifty-one percent saw it in 3D. Twenty-five percent said BvS exceeded their expectations while 60% said the film met their expectations.

Typically such superhero pics are critic-proof (Man of Steel‘s at 56% rotten wasn’t impeded by any negative ink posting a $116.6M opening). Star Wars: The Force Awakens threw the preview B.O. bar up to all-time high of $57M back in December, and among superhero movies, The Dark Knight Rises midnight shows best BvS’ Thursday with $30.6M. BvS Imax hubs, which repped 41% of the audience per ComScore, made $3.6M, the best pre-Easter for the format ever.

In its first day abroad, BvS grossed $7M, ranking N0. 1 in Wednesday markets Spain, Norway, France and Italy. In total, BvS will be in projecting at 35,000 screens around the world, with an eye at cracking a global debut of $350M+. We should be getting another update today.

Meanwhile Universal/Gold Circle/Playtone/HBO’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 stood as tall as it could during previews against BvS grossing $1.02M from 2,395 venues that started at 6PM. Many project a $15M opening for the sequel to the 2002 romantic comedy, which is $200K shy of the original’s 4-day Labor Day wide break as the pic was platformed for five months prior. Again, Uni, is playing similar chess moves at the B.O. as they did during Star Wars: The Force Awakens gargantuan weekend by going after women (and older folk) who have zero patience for BvS. MYBFGW2‘s Thursday night beats the $769K made by the R-rated Sisters.

Warner Bros. has a lot riding on the line with BvS. Above and beyond the estimated $400M pricetag (that includes P&A), the film is their chip at rebooting DC Comics features in the wake of Christoper Nolan’s successful $2.46B Dark Knight trilogy and the God-awful Green Lantern ($200M production cost, $219M global B.O.) which was a sour note in their extended universe superhero adaptations.

Furious 7 Profit 2015Easter used to be a meh time to launch a movie, but that’s changed. Dollar by dollar, year by year distributors have swelled Easter weekend to a new bar, proving that audiences aren’t holier than thou in their moviegoing, rather love to get out of the house during the holiday break. Weinstein/Dimension took the weekend to a new level with its $40.2M debut of Scary Movie 4 in 2006. Then Warner Bros. pulled out all the stops with its post-Avatar 3D breakthrough Clash of the Titans which debuted to $61.2M. Then Uni’s F7 blew the hinges off the bunny frame with a $147.1M FSS. Seventy-six percent of all K-12 schools are out today with another 45% out on Monday. Heck, Warners should just count BvS as a 4-day opening.

Outside BvS, Disney’s Zootopia topped the Thursday B.O. with $4.5M raising its three week total to $217.5M, followed by Lionsgate’s The Divergent Series: Allegiant in second with $1.88M and a seven day cume of $37.1M.

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