Still courtesy of Warner Bros.

When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened nearly two weeks ago, it had a furiously big opening, particularly as it released both domestically and in China, and allowed the superhero clash an opening bow of $168 million domestically – just shy of WB’s record – and $254 million overseas. Huge numbers.

As has been reported ad nauseum, the next weekend was a tough one for the film, as its gross dropped 69% here state-side and 78% in the valuable Chinese market. It’s still number 1 at the U.S. Box Office, and it’s likely going to make a profit, given licensing and the monster overseas gross, but that hasn’t stopped the studio from expressing concern about their current plan going forward.

This morning, The Hollywood Reporter relayed the news that Warner Bros, the wake of Batman v Superman‘s diminishing returns, is considering releasing fewer films as well as make some changes in how the “DCEU” is approached going forward:

Several sources say Warner Bros. executives were convinced they had the goods with BvS and were shocked when negative reviews began pouring in. Now, with DC movies dated through 2020, the outcome has led to a flurry of rumors that the studio will make adjustments — maybe add a new producer? — rather than allow BvS director Zack Snyder to proceed with the two-part Justice League. But sources with firsthand knowledge of the situation say the studio has no such plans. One says the filmmakers naturally will evaluate what went wrong with BvS, but when it comes to Justice League, “we’re not going to take a movie that’s supposed to be one thing and turn it into a copycat of something else.”

One has a feeling that WB is likely feeling some trepidation about the April 11th start-date for Justice League Part 1, and there’s been much talk on-line about whether they’ll continue forward with Zack Snyder, or simply take a firmer hand with the end-product. Based on the reshoots that are currently happening with Suicide Squad, the latter seems like a stronger possibility.

Additionally, THR also reports that Wonder Woman has now been pushed forward from June 23rd to June 2nd of next year. This is a big help for that burgeoning franchise, as a Transformers sequel was plopped into that 23rd frame and would have been tough competition. A big debut for what is widely considered the best part of Batman v Superman by fans is a big priority, and rightfully so.

WB has also announced two dates for untitled DC films: Oct 5, 2018 and Nov 1, 2019, along with an untitled “WB Event Film” for Oct 6, 2017. Your guess on any of these is as good as mine. Official dates on films focused on Aquaman, The Flash, and Shazam could be possible answers there (as my colleague Torsten points out, the dates you see reported on those remain unofficial). Or an Ben Affleck-led Batman film. That’s probably the right answer actually.


  1. I just looked it up on BoxOffice Mojo – Deadpool droppd 57% in it’s 2nd weekend.

    Movies are supposed to drop in their second weekend. I fail to see how a 68% drop is somehow shocking or cause for concern.

  2. @MonstrousReporbate Most films that open big and have good reviews generally don’t drop over 60%. Over 60% generally indicates that interest among general audience (especially those who are waiting) may drop rapidly week to week, So a film may not have long legs. Under 60% means there is a chance good word of mouth. Look at Deadpool again, notice how the weekends afterwards its falling under 40%, showing a high interest usually this means repeat business from its biggest fans. A better example might be Zootopia. One of the top reviewed movies of the year held under 40% drop for a few weekends, Disney actually added theaters for one weekend.

  3. Carl: Disney didn’t add any theatres as they don’t own any but it may well that they requested from the cinema chains that extra screens would be a good idea. More likely even is that extra screens are added automatically if certain ticket levels are maintained.

    I’ve no idea how BvS will do long-term but I wouldn’t bet against it making money for the Warner Brothers buy the time overseas income, DVD sales, cable tv contracts and other revenue streams are figured in as film accounting is an arcane art that borders on magic for better or worse. Neither Warner or Disney have any reason to tell anyone the truth about what their films actually make.

  4. Ye gods, can we stop with the excuse-making?

    BvS is currently running well behind Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Dark Knight Rises at the box office. When all is said and done, BvS will probably wind up making a good bit over $300 million in the U.S. and at least $450 million overseas.

    It’s not a bomb. It’s not a disaster. But it is not doing any thing close to what Warner Brothers expected or wanted it to do.


  5. MBunge – correct me if i’m wrong, but BvsS had the 7th biggest opening weekend of all time right?

    I find all of this desire for the film to fail to be very odd. If comic books and comic book properties fail, we all fail.

    If you didn’t like the movie, don’t see it. I just don’t understand this bizarre cynical tribalism.

  6. “If you didn’t like the movie, don’t see it. I just don’t understand this bizarre cynical tribalism.”

    I actually think BvS is a better film than most critics are saying, but there’s just as much blind tribalism in denying the plain fact that the movie is not doing as well at the box office as the studio wanted or expected.

  7. It’s not just about comparing its gross to that of other films.

    It’s about the studio’s specific expectations and projections.

    It’s about this movie’s particular budget, and how successful it is as a sequel to another movie people hated.

    Comparing it to Deadpool (an unknown property with an R rating) is retarded.

    Comparing it to Iron Man 1, or even Iron Man 2, is also retarded.

  8. I’m amazed that Warner paid attention to the bad reviews. Big, splashy franchise movies with well-known characters tend to be critic-proof — especially when they have a $150M marketing budget, as B v S did. (Do Paramount execs lose sleep over the reviews for its Transformers movies?)

    These films are virtually guaranteed a big opening. What happens after the first weekend depends on audience word of mouth, and it was apparently mixed in the case of B v S.

    My guess is that DC and Warner will rein in Snyder’s excesses on the Justice League two-parter. (Are the two films being shot simultaneously? If not, the second part may end up with a different director.) Just as Marvel’s hand got heavier on Joss Whedon for the second Avengers movie, the Warner/DC hand will probably fall heavily on Snyder.

  9. “I’m amazed that Warner paid attention to the bad reviews.”

    “What happens after the first weekend depends on audience word of mouth, and it was apparently mixed in the case of B v S.”

    So you’re not actually amazed because you actually understand the problem.

  10. It’s not WB paying attention to bad reviews, it’s WB watching this movie – where they played the two biggest aces they had, Batman and Superman together on screen for the first time, and Wonder Woman on screen for the first time – do much worse at the box office than they wanted it to. Right now its domestic gross is about $60 million behind Age of UItron. And, crucially, WB has no really big moves left to play – there is basically nothing the JL movies can offer a general audience that will draw anyone who didn’t already see BS. The bad reviews and bad word of mouth mean this movie will have a limited life on home video and cable, which in turn means there’s little chance of it becoming a sleeper hit that attracts more viewers and interest over time (the way Breaking Bad did on Netflix, for instance).

    WB needed BS to be not just a billion-dollar hit, it needed to be a movie lots and lots of people liked and wanted to see more of. As things stand now, the movie failed on both counts. They needed Marvel or Hunger Games numbers and interest, and instead they’ve got something more like Divergent.

  11. Superhero movies are ENTIRELY dependent on word of mouth. Fanboys boast that they never read reviews, because all critics are snooty elitists out of touch with “real people” (i.e., superhero fans). People make up their mind to see or not see these movies based on how “cool” the trailers look.

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