Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a somewhat divisive movie. Like Man of Steel before it, criticisms abound about it being too dark and not getting the characters right. Where it differs from Man of Steel, though, is in its profitability.
As significant as the marketing push for it has been, one might assume Batman V Superman would edge out its predecessor as far as profit margins go. However, with a bigger budget comes the need for bigger box-office earnings, and earnings for Batman V Superman have not quite been where Warner Bros. would liked them to be. After lower-than-expected ticket sales on opening weekend, it then proceeded to set a record for all-time biggest first week drop for a major superhero movie.
So where does this leave it in comparison to Man of Steel? According to Bloomberg, the team-up of Batman and Superman is making less profit than Superman did by his lonesome. They cite SNL Kagan analyst Wade Holden's estimate that once earnings are tallied up from the box office, home video, TV, and merchandise, Batman V Superman will have made a $278 million profit. In comparison, Man of Steel made an estimated $300 million in profit.
It doesn't take a financial analyst to predict that Warner Bros. would not be terribly happy if Holden's estimates wind up being accurate. After all, Batman V Superman is supposed to be the launch pad for the entire future of their DC Extended Universe. Some are already predicting that negative reaction to the movie will affect the possibility of a future solo Superman movie, while others see the studio's reshoots on Suicide Squad as a sign that they see the need for a course correction. Holden contrasts the movie's earnings with Marvel's last team outing, a comparison that will surely rub some DC fans the wrong way:
"I’m sure that it’s a bit of a disappointment. They were probably hoping for box-office numbers similar to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ since ‘Batman v Superman’ had DC’s three most well-known comic book heroes together in the same movie."
Age of Ultron did indeed break a number of records for Marvel, including their own international box-office opening record, but it is also worth noting that Batman V Superman beat the second Avengers movie on opening day earnings. That's enough to keep the flame wars between DC and Marvel fans burning bright, as destructive as those flame wars may be. At the end of the day, though, Warner Bros. is making a decent profit on Batman V Superman and will continue with plans for expanding upon it with Justice League. They just won't be earning quite as much profit as they had hoped.
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.