Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is been into the cinemas since Easter weekend . The film has split audiences and angered critics, but its box office run is as interesting and informative as its critical reception. With that in mind, here are 4 lessons we have learned from Batman v Superman’s box office performance:
1. The superhero bubble is far from bursting
No matter how small Batman v Superman’s legs may be, it has still proved something extremely important to box office naysayers; the superhero genre is alive and well. It seems every time a comic book movie doesn’t cross 1billion worldwide on it’s Thursday previews, we hear the screams of the genre bursting, but this film showed that the public still holds an interest in these movies.
They’ll show up in droves to see Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman onscreen because they are still characters they care about. Sure, if the movie’s bad, they won’t keep coming, but that’s true for any genre. The very possibility that 900m worldwide will be seen as a disappointment for this film shows how powerful superhero movies are at the box office, as they can create such ridiculously high expectations.
The fact that so many people turned up for these characters in the first place, combined with the massive success of Deadpool in February, is proof that superheroes are a long way from not being viable box office draws.
2. …For the opening weekend
Although, despite how much money it made when it debuted, this film’s critical beating finally caught up with it in its second frame, where it tumbled a huge 69% (heh) to a pitiful 51m weekend, adding up to 260m domestic, a big total sure, but much smaller than expectations.
This drop is line with films like Elektra, Jonah Hex and Hulk, some of the worst performing superhero films of recent memory. Worse, though, is that it’s larger than Fantastic Four, the critically decimated bomb from 2015. That movie has 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and 4.3/10 on IMDB, yet apparently, it held up better than Batman v Superman.
Week after week the film has dropped harder and harder, even being bested by the Mellisa McCarthy comedy The Boss in only its third weekend. With the Jungle Book currently ruling the box office and Civil War well on its way (with superb reviews), it seems that Batman v Superman’s critical reaction has truly caught up with it, showing just how important reviews can be of a film’s lasting appeal.
3. Critical reception isn’t that important…
Needless to say, Batman v Superman was not received warmly. The film currently sits at a meager 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and 44 on Metacritic. It’s RT score is most damning, though, as it sits below many famous “bad” movies, such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and, ironically, Daredevil.
It has a rating average on par with Terminator Salvation, a shockingly low 5/10 based on 304 reviews. It’s Metascore sits lower than multiple critically panned films released as of late, such as The Brothers Grimsby, How to be Single and even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, all movies considered to be terrible by both critics and audiences. Many were expecting a mixed reaction to this film, but I doubt anyone pictured it getting slammed to this degree.
Yet, despite this, the film opened massively both domestically and abroad, with 166m in America and 424 million worldwide, respectively. It had the 4th best worldwide opening of all time, the biggest opening for both March and Easter, and the 5th biggest single Friday gross ever.
The film was expected to draw in crowds, but estimates had it at 150m opening domestic, as a best case scenario. The movie overcame frankly terrible reviews to deliver one of the biggest openings of the decade and showed that critical distaste cannot kill a film’s opening weekend.
4. Violence and a Dark Tone won’t turn off young viewers
When the trailers for this film were released, there was a lot of hand-wringing over the dark atmosphere and violence that was displayed. The previews showed, namely, Batman breaking necks and stabbing criminals. Man of Steel wasn’t exactly a kid-friendly affair, but many worried that this follow-up would push the envelope too far, and in doing so would repel young kids.
This fear was only increased when the early reviews came in. Apart from tearing the film to shreds, they warned that it was a dour, dark and fun free affair, definitely not the sort of thing to bring a young child to.
This turned out to be entirely wrong, as, no matter how many times Batman killed henchman (and it happened a lot) parents had no qualms about bringing their child to the film, as evidenced by its massive opening. Again combining this fact with Deadpool’s huge gross, I think it’s safe to say that things we consider “inappropriate for children” don’t really have an effect on whether they show up when it comes to superhero films.