The Box Office Battleground
The dawn of the justice league is finally upon us, and maybe even the dawn of a new March box office record with the highly anticipated release of Warner Bro’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. How well do we think it will perform? How will the other new releases stack up this weekend? Finally, how will the previously released movies hold up? Read on to find out!
To get a sense of how well Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice will perform we have to take a look at the following opening weekends. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begin’s opened upwards of $48.7 million while The Dark Knight brought in $158.4 million, and The Dark Knight Rises did an astonishing $160.8 million. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel opened with $116.6 million while Watchmen hit $55 million in its opening weekend. It’s a safe bet to gamble Batman V Superman will easily top the $48.7 million opening weekend of Batman Begins, the $55 million of Watchmen, and the $116.6 million of Man of Steel. The Watchmen number of $55 million is important because not only is it another film relative to DC and Zack Snyder, both movies opened in March. March’s highest grossing movie was the first film in The Hunger Games series. This month isn’t exactly known for superhero releases nor is it known for blockbusters, however, Deadpool releasing in February worked wonders for Fox. So the question is whether March will give Warner Brothers the same traffic that February gave Fox? The bigger question, however, is can it beat out Nolan’s two latter Batman films? Batman V Superman is debuting in 4,242 theaters, and with that large of a theater count, it’s important to look at per theater averages in order to accurately predict this weekend. In 2013, Man Of Steel launched its campaign in 4,207 theaters with a per theater average of $27,720. The Dark Knight Rises opened in 4,404 theaters with an average of $36,532 per theater, it’s a safe and conservative bet to place Batman V Superman in the middle of those two films. Batman V Superman is opening in more theaters than Man of Steel, but less than The Dark Knight Rises.
Nolan’s film was also the end of a nearly universally praised trilogy, one critics and fans both adored. I know Batman V Superman has a nice hype train behind it. The film has an alluring premise in the idea of its two leads fighting, as well as some solid marketing, but it’s hard to believe this movie is as anticipated as The Dark Knight Rises was. Between rabid fans apathy towards Zack Snyder’s name and the controversy behind the casting, not all press is good press. To top it all off Batman V Superman is heading into the opening weekend with a rotten tomato score of 30%, a far cry from Nolan’s trilogy, which ranged from a high of 94% (The Dark Knight) to a low of 85% (Batman Begins) on the Tomatometer. Worth mentioning is that Man of Steel was the first film for Henry Cavill’s superman and audiences were mixed on the film. Between that films 56% Tomatometer and poor word of mouth, the movie dropped over 60% in its second weekend. I’d say placing it between Man of Steel’s weekend and The Dark Rises is the most likely outcome, we would be talking a per theater average of about 32,000, meaning an opening weekend of around $135-140 million. However, over 85% of Batman V Superman’s showings are in 3D, so accounting for inflated prices, it’s more accurate to place this at about $145-150 million. If this is the case than Batman V Superman will be just out of the grasp of the March record set by The Hunger Games in 2012 with $152.5 million.
This prediction is indeed a more cynical look at Batman V Superman’s potential performance. Looking at the awfully received Fantastic Four (2015) standing at a 9% Tomatometer, that opened with $25 million, its hard not to argue the affect critics can have on superhero films opening weekend. Also to contend with is coming off hot on the heels of Fox’s critical and commercial success Deadpool. Are superhero fans ready for another go at it? We’ll find out which scenario is most likely when the cinemascores for Batman V Superman are revealed, as well as the Thursday preview numbers. Analysts predict anywhere between 150-180. With a 30 million gap it seems they’re just as unsure where to place their bet, but I think they’re underestimating how weary people are coming into this movie.
The next big release we have this weekend is My Big Fat Wedding 2. This is an equally as hard to predict outcome as Batman V Superman, mainly due to how wild My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s first theatrical run was. The original movie had a limited release before opening to 3 million dollars in 2002. However, word of mouth and critical acclaim for this movie was so gargantuan that the film ran in theaters for practically an entire year. The film is also one of a very few amount of films to sporadically drop and climb in box office revenue throughout it’s run. It didn’t hit it’s highest grossing weekend until late August, where it made $14 million. The film finally ended with a total theatrical run of $241.4 million. So My Big Fat Greek wedding was a huge and unpredictable success. We can look at years later comedy sequels like Zoolander 2 which opened with $13.8 million and Anchorman 2 which opened with $26.2 million. All films are opening/opened with about 3,200 theaters, with a high of 7,400 per theater and a low of 4,000 per theater. Considering My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is about 14 years late to the party, its hard to believe this movie is going to do gangbusters, so placing it below Anchorman 2’s 7,400 per theater average has to be the safest bet. Predicting a 5,500 per theater average at 3,132 theaters places this movie at about $17.2 million for its opening weekend, however, that number could shift higher or lower. I wouldn’t go over $20 million with my prediction.
To wrap up the weekend forecast we have holdovers Zootopia, which if it continues its steady decline of approximately 25-35% drop per weekend we’re looking at another 25-35% drop from last weekend’s $37.1 million. So expect Zootopia to pull in around $25-27 million this weekend. This will let it stake out the number two spot ahead of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Then we have The Divergent Series: Allegiant. This had the weakest opening, as well as the weakest scores of the Divergent series to date, so expect a steep drop off. Something between 50-60% is likely. This is due to the average cinemascore, poor opening weekend performance, and the history of sequels having a higher drop off rates per weekend. This has to do with the idea that fans who are invested have made their way out opening weekend, and the ones who didn’t see it opening weekend are less likely to catch it. Anticipating a 50-60 percent drop we’re looking for a weekend of around $16-17 million for Allegiant. Allegiant and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 will be battling it out for third place. Sony’s Miracles From Heaven will be in a good position as it’s Easter weekend, and it will cater to Christian families, a slight drop from its $14. 8 million weekends should place it safely north of $10 million, allowing the film to secure the number five spot in the box office this weekend.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice – $147-150 million
- Zootopia – $26 million
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – $17 million
- The Divergent Series: Allegiant – $16.5 million
- Miracles From Heaven – $12 million
Check back next week to see how accurate or inaccurate we were! Be sure to leave your own predictions in the comment section below.
Patrick McQuaid is an aspiring games and film journalist/critic looking to make his mark on the industry. He’s attempting to finish his Communications degree while juggling a variety of responsibilities… it’s proving difficult, but he has some spunk. Don’t give him a beer and ask about Silent Hill 2 in the same action or prepare to have an aggravatingly long chat about how that game transcends the art form.