Sometimes it can be tough to tell whether Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a success or a failure, both financially and creatively. A look at the audience score vs. the reviews from professional critics on Rotten Tomatoes, for instance, seems to indicate that the two groups do not see eye to eye. And while the movie had huge ticket sales up to and during its opening weekend, those sales numbers dropped rather quickly.
In our own box office analysis, Screen Rant estimated that Batman V Superman would see a 60% drop from its first weekend to its second, down from $166 million in ticket sales to about $66.4 million. While the strength of its repeat ticket purchases offered some hope that the movie’s overall sales would continue to be strong, it turns out now that the 60% drop prediction may have been a little off the mark – and not in the direction Warner Bros. would have liked.
Forbes is reporting that the movie has seen an 81% drop from the first Friday to its second, setting an all-time record for the biggest Friday-to-Friday drop for a major comic book movie. As Forbes puts it, the second Friday’s numbers indicate “neither a passionate embrace nor vitriolic hatred, but merely indifference.” In other words, the movie is not a complete flop by any means, but neither is it a runaway hit.
In addition to the dire news from Forbes, Variety is estimating that the movie will pull in a three-day total of just $50 million for its second weekend, down from an expected $58 million. When studios see revised numbers, they generally do not like to see them revised downward, and that downward trend may be part of why Warner Bros. is reportedly retooling Suicide Squad to avoid some of the criticisms that have been leveled against Batman V Superman.
The critics haven’t been kind to Batman V Superman, and that along with some vocal disapproval from others who may not typically be on the same side as critics (Batman superfan Kevin Smith, for instance) has probably not helped its ticket sales. In the end, the lower-than-expected box office won’t put an end to Warner Bros. ambitions for a DC movie universe. It may, however, cause them to think twice about the perceived “lack of fun” that has dogged both Man of Steel and Batman V Superman. The rewrites on Suicide Squad are the first indication of that, but with Aquaman director James Wan promising that his movie will be fun, the trend may not end there.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.