NOTE: In lieu of a regular Box Office Prediction post, we're using this space to analyze how Batman V Superman might perform in its second weekend
From the moment it was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2013, it was a foregone conclusion that Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice would be the top earner at the box office in its opening weekend. The bigger question was how high would it go. In the days leading up to its release, the early reviews painted a largely negative picture, but by that point the film was largely critic proof. Batman V Superman ended up breaking records, bringing in $166 million domestically over its first three days. It currently stands at over $500 million globally and is setting new single day marks for the month of March. Despite the divisive response, Dawn of Justice is drawing in large crowds.
Given that Batman V Superman is something of a cinematic milestone (the first live-action big screen meeting of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent) and was a significant step in Warner Bros. launching a shared Justice League movie universe, anticipation was substantial enough to carry it to those heights. Now that the movie's been out for a week and opinions are all over the place, many industry analysts are curious to see how well it holds in its second weekend. Typically, major tentpoles such as this see a noticeable decrease in business after they debut and the dust has settled. So what kind of drop-off should be expected for Dawn of Justice?
Its predecessor, Man of Steel, was hit hard by the second weekend blues in June 2013. After setting a new record for the month with $116.6 million, the Superman reboot fell to $41.2 million the week after, finishing in third place. That's a 64.6 percent decline. While that'll be the first comparison some viewers look to make, it's more of an apples-to-oranges scenario. Man of Steel was released during the heat of the summer movie season and faced stiff competition in the form of Monsters University and World War Z in its second weekend. Even if Man of Steel scored better word-of-mouth, it would have taken a bit of a hit - though perhaps something a little less drastic.
In contrast, Batman V Superman was released in the spring over Easter weekend. While studios are starting to become wiser about spreading out their big budget fare throughout the entire calendar (Deadpool came out in February), this particular time of year is still fairly uncharted territory for high profile films. WB was incredibly smart to place Dawn of Justice where they did, and for the next few weeks they should essentially have the marketplace to themselves. The next major movie on the horizon is Disney's The Jungle Book, which won't bow until April 15. Much like Deadpool and Star Wars: The Force Awakens before it, Batman V Superman is the only true blockbuster in town and should be able to reap the benefits. In fact, it already has been.
News that Batman V Superman suffered the steepest Friday to Sunday drop-off raised some eyebrows, perceived as a sign the film wouldn't have strong legs commercially. However, that tune changed when it set new records for highest Monday ($15 million) and Tuesday ($12.1 million) grosses for March. As of this writing, Dawn of Justice has brought in $201.3 million in the States and showing no real signs of slowing down. According to Fandango, repeat purchases for Batman V Superman tickets are 30 percent higher than the average blockbuster, meaning that a considerable amount of people are looking forward to seeing the film in theaters again. That indicates Batman V Superman could have some staying power as its run continues.
One has to look no further than the first Hunger Games film to get a better idea as to how Dawn of Justice could hold up in its second weekend. Also released in March, the young adult adaptation broke box office records in its opening weekend ($152.5 million), before seeing a 61.6 percent decrease during its second. It wouldn't be surprising for Batman V Superman to have a similar fate, around 60 or 61 percent. Even Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (which earned more positive reviews than Batman V Superman) dropped 61.4 percent in its second weekend where the new arrivals were The Watch and Step Up Revolution. For massive debuts, this seems to be the rule.
With all that in mind, we're estimating that Batman V Superman will gross about $66.4 million in its second weekend, which would be an even 60 percent decrease from its $166 million opening. The box office prediction will return to its usual format next week.