It's no secret that Warner Bros. had a lot riding on the success of Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Positioned as the true beginning for the studio's DC Extended Universe franchise, the film was the first of several adaptations that would hit theaters between now and 2020. If this was to become their tentpole for years to come, Batman V Superman needed to be a massive commercial hit so things got off on the right foot.
Despite the decidedly mixed word-of-mouth Dawn of Justice inspired (read our review), it had no problems drawing in large crowds sold on the notion of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all appearing in the same live-action production. Batman V Superman ended up surpassing the lofty expectations set for it, bringing in an estimated $170.1 million during its first three days domestically. However, the actuals are now in, and Snyder's latest film remains a record-breaker even with less money earned.
According to Variety, Dawn of Justice made $166.1 million during its opening weekend. The $4 million difference between projected and real totals means that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 regains its standing as largest WB debut of all-time ($169.2 million). Batman V Superman still had an impressive start, breaking the March opening weekend mark previously set by The Hunger Games ($152.5 million), as well as the Easter record that was held by Furious 7 ($147.1 million). In addition, Dawn of Justice scored the seventh-highest debt in Hollywood history.
The adjusted figures mean that Batman V Superman's new global total is around $420.1 million, but the change is negligible. Prior to the film's premiere, it was reported that it needed to make $800 million worldwide to turn a profit, and $1 billion in order to not be considered a disappointment. The blockbuster is well on its way to achieving that feat, especially since it will face minimal competition over the following weeks. Disney's The Jungle Book is the next high-profile film on the docket, and it won't reach theaters until April 15. WB was very smart to release Batman V Superman when they did.
Since the film was generating massive amounts of hype and anticipation for the better part of three years after its announcement at San Diego Comic-Con 2013, Batman V Superman was obviously going to open with high numbers when it finally premiered. The larger question (and the more important one for the DCEU) is how well it holds. Whenever a film this massive arrives, it capitalizes on the build-up, with die-hard fans rushing out to see it. But now that the dust has settled and people have weighed in on the pros and cons of the movie, it will be interesting to see how big a hit Batman V Superman takes in its second weekend. Man of Steel saw a massive 64.6 percent decrease in June 2013, but it was going up against Monsters University and World War Z. In the spring, the marketplace isn't as crowded.
The bottom line is that Batman V Superman seems poised to dominate the box office for the better part of a month and is on the precipice of becoming one of the highest-grossing DC Comics films ever. WB is obviously pleased with these results, as they're moving forward on the first Justice League film (which will also be directed by Snyder). Moviegoers may not know what to make of the DCEU just yet, but with some promising elements and audience interest, the studio understands they have their lynchpin franchise.
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 Twoon June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.