Moviegoers are just a few short weeks from seeing Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (as of this writing), the film that will set the DC Extended Universe into motion and pave the way for the cinematic Justice League. Anticipation is at an all-time high, as fans dissect TV spots, trailers, and merchandise to figure out if the film will live up to the hype.
Superman himself, Henry Cavill, claims that the final product is “thrilling,” but many are awaiting the first wave of professional critic reviews to get an idea of what to expect. As Warner Bros. shares some new images of the movie, an early reaction has made its way online, along with yet another update regarding Dawn of Justice‘s box office prospects.
Anthony Breznican of EW tweeted a short list of first impressions after seeing Batman V Superman. He notes that he was happy with the way it turned out, but it sounds as if the Man of Steel followup could be just as divisive as Snyder’s Superman reboot was back in 2013:
One of the biggest criticisms of Man of Steel was that its dark and gritty tone did not mesh well with the Superman character, and it looks like that perceived flaw will be present in Batman V Superman. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Snyder once again approached the subject matter from this particular angle. Despite recent previews trying to play up the film’s humor, Batman V Superman has an R-rated cut waiting to be unleashed on the Blu-ray. From the beginning, Dawn of Justice never looked like it would be a light-hearted affair, and this is just formal confirmation.
Breznican does have a number of positive things to say about Batman V Superman. It’s great to hear that Wonder Woman is “fearsome” in her live-action film debut, lending credence to the earlier report that she steals the show. And after all the controversy that Man of Steel‘s finale caused, several will be pleased that Snyder made an attempt to “redeem” that film’s conclusion. Many of the marketing materials have played up the Battle of Metropolis fallout, using it as a springboard for the film’s themes and superhero accountability. In addition, it will be interesting to see the Batman and Superman moment that will warm the hearts of anyone in the audience. All in all, it sounds like Chris Terrio did a great job with the script and crafted an interesting story and fascinating characters.
At least one person is in the film’s corner, but the general public has yet to weigh in. Batman V Superman is facing a wave of negative buzz as it approaches theaters, just about every announcement about the film igniting an impassioned debate amongst fans. Since the response to Man of Steel was decidedly mixed, similar word-of-mouth for Dawn of Justice could negatively impact its box office prospects. Though the movie is a guaranteed blockbuster commercially ($100 – $140 million opening weekend), it remains to be seen how high it can go. A new report from Variety indicates that Batman V Superman will debut to at least $120 million, but could reach up to $140 million.
Everyone will be keeping a watchful eye on how Dawn of Justice performs financially. Deadpool raised the bar for comic book movies last month, when it broke February records, despite being R-rated and having no 3D premiums. As the first live-action film to feature Batman and Superman together (two of comics’ greatest icons), the expectation is that the PG-13 rated, IMAX 3D Batman V Superman should open higher. While $120 million is nothing to sneeze at, there are those who will consider it a “disappointment” and a bad omen for WB’s fledgling franchise. To make matters worse, the opening weekend record for March is $152.5 million, a mark set by the first Hunger Games (also no 3D) in 2012. Even Batman V Superman‘s highest projections can’t top that.
With tickets now available for pre-order, WB will be working hard over these next few weeks to ramp up marketing efforts to sell more people on the movie event. They have a lot riding on the film’s success (critically and commercially), and want as many people there for opening weekend. Though there is no shortage of promotional materials, perhaps this latest batch of photos from EW‘s new issue can excite a few more people about seeing the “greatest gladiator match in the history of the world”:
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, which is followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; 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.