Batman v Superman was the #1 film for the weekend but “plunged” 68% in its second frame, as the trades like to put it. This is not entirely out of line with some other films, Deadline helpfully points out — Furious 7 dropped 60%, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2  fell 72% — so it’s not entirely unexpected. Given the hostile reviews and mixed audience reaction, it’s really am Easter miracle that the film has done as well as it has. Despite all this, it’s still a huge worldwide hit, and WB is staying the course:

Warner Bros. also dismisses any concern, saying BvS remains a formidable player after breaking a number of records in its debut, including nabbing the best March opening of all time domestically and the No. 1 superhero debut at the worldwide box office. The studio also notes it has already passed the entire lifetime runs of titles including Ant-Man, Thor, Wolverine and Captain America. “We’re not concerned with the drop,” said Warners domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. “No matter how you slice it, to get to $52 million on any given weekend is an enormous accomplishment. We’re most focused on where we are in total. And our global number is huge.”

I’m looking forward to the inevitable post mortems, besides rumors of making Suicide SQuad more “fun”, and Deadline offers a bit of a peep inside the studio, which has pinned so much of its future to the DC franchise family:

Agita resides at the studio as Snyder, who became too intoxicated by the Dark Knight-and-the-son-of Jor’El brawl, hasn’t reignited the DC franchise in a way that J.J. Abrams did for Disney and Star Wars. It’s going to take more than a visual stylist to move these DC films forward. Christopher Nolan was able to turn these dark DC stories into the smart Dark Knight series, but many argue that Snyder has thrown everything and the kitchen sink at BvS. On social media, per Relish Mix, Jesse Eisenberg’s turn as Lex Luther ticked fans off. WB is now tasked with proving to critics and fans why Snyder is the guy for the Justice League job, and must seriously consider content improvements moving forward in DC 2.0.

I’ll tell you one thing, after watching BvS my #1 thought was that Zack Snyder should make horror films, because that’s obviously where his affinity lies. It’s easy to pick holes in Snyder interviews, as when Screen Crush dinged him for thinking a storyline about killing a Robin is “fun.” 

Once again, Snyder uses the word “fun” to describe something that is decidedly un-fun. It’s almost as if there’s a mandate going around Warner Bros. insisting that everyone must use the word “fun” in any interviews about Batman v Superman and the DC movie universe. First there was Snyder explaining that brutal Jimmy Olsen cameo as “fun,” then there was the recent interview in which a WB exec said Batman v Superman is “fun” and “doesn’t take itself seriously.”

It’s also easy to ding anxious studio execs who are so in the weeds that they have lost touch with normal human emotions, but I can sympathize. There’s a lot of money at stake. 


  1. ” Furious 7 dropped 60%, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 fell 72% “:

    Those are the 7th and 8th films in series with die hard fanbases. Nobody is jumping on those that late in the game based on word of mouth (especially HP 7 PT 2). BvS is meant to bring in new fans, even if it is a sequel (and on that note, at least only film #2, not film 7 or 8).

  2. The biggest new release this past weekend was God’s Not Dead 2: Eschatological Boogaloo. If the second week of Batman <3 Superman hadn’t come out ahead of a independent fundieporn sequel with an even-lower Rotten-Tomato score, that Justice League of Avengers movie would be looking at a direct-to-DVD release.

  3. “Content improvement”. Best euphemism ever. Film-making as contract negotiation followed by marketing. They must be frustrated that the movie actually has to be filled with something before they can make their money. Don’t people realize how much work it took to market this thing?

  4. I feel like WB could really save their own bacon by cutting ties with Snyder and either bumping James Wan into the Justice League director’s chair, or going out and spending a truck-load of money on an attention grabber.

    I still don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that Justice League gets delayed from that April 11th start date. I just don’t see where it gets the billion dollars it needs at this rate.

  5. If the movie were in fact as huge a worldwide hit as WB wanted it to be, there wouldn’t be reports of studio agita, now, would there?

  6. http://deadline.com/2016/01/release-dates-for-wonder-woman-and-justice-league-part-one-made-official-1201687725/
    “As expected, Wonder Woman will hit theaters June 23, 2017, and Justice League Part One will follow later that year on November 17.”
    “Warner Bros has yet to set dates for subsequent films in the meta franchise.”
    WW is in production. Justice League begins this April..

    As for Jimmy….
    “Director Zack Snyder explained his controversial decision to sacrifice the character in an interview with EW:

    “We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?”” They wanted a big star in the role, use it as mis-direction, play with the audience’s expectations.

    Yeah. Nope.

  7. Brian, increases to neutral for Rebirth pressure. The studio will have bigger fish to fry, but the opening week means it’s not a full-on “burn down the house” crisis.

  8. Zack Snyder’s horrific tendencies made him a good choice to direct the ultra-violent, R-rated WATCHMEN. But he’s a lousy choice for directing mainstream DC superheroes. He began his career with a horror film (the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake) and it looks like he’s returning to his roots.

  9. I can’t imagine a dark, gritty and brutally violent Justice League movie. But that’s what we’ll probably get, because that’s the only kind of movie Snyder knows how to make.

    A JL movie needs the sort of exuberance and FUN that Joss Whedon brought to the first Avengers movie (before he burned out on the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

  10. If only Warner Bros could back the Brinks Truck up to JJ Abrams’ house and get him back on-board with Superman. The guy has revived two franchises to great acclaim (almost sinking the first one as well, but still…).

  11. If Snyder wants to direct horror, he should talk DC into letting him make a Swamp Thing or Phantom Stranger movie. Or he could adopt those gruesome mid-1970s Spectre stories, where the Spectre would turn criminals into wood and send them into a buzz saw.

  12. “If only Warner Bros could back the Brinks Truck up to JJ Abrams’ house and get him back on-board with Superman.”

    “The Force Awakens” was the least ambitious film I’ve seen in years. A beat-for-beat retread of “A New Hope.” I’m glad that people liked it but for me it was a missed opportunity to do something really different and interesting. Instead what we got was fan service. That’s why I like Snyder’s two DCEU films so much: They actually surprised me. They didn’t give me what I expected. They challenged me. Whatever merits it might have had, “The Force Awakens” most definitely didn’t challenge me as a viewer.

    That said, Abrams 2004-ish script for “Superman: Flyby” (which was trashed by fans for having a Kryptonian Lex Luthor) was actually really good. Not as good as “Man of Steel” in my opinion but I actually liked it. Unlike “The Force Awakens,” Abrams actually was trying to push the film on that one.

  13. ““The Force Awakens” was the least ambitious film I’ve seen in years.”

    I’ll be the first to complain if the 2nd (8th) movie is another retread but after the prequels, neither I nor the rest of the world cared about ambition. We just wanted a good Star Wars movie. Abrams provided that in spades.


  14. And I’d just like to say that there are plenty of us who do care about ambition, innovation, and an attempt at selling an original product. Putting aside the film-by-committee, run down the checklist and resell what they already own, cheap cash-in aspect of TFA, it’s still not a well made film.


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