In Its Second Weekend, Batman v Superman Made Less in the U.S. than Deadpool

Tuesday, 05 April 2016 - 9:58AM
DC Comics
Batman
Batman v Superman
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 - 9:58AM
In Its Second Weekend, Batman v Superman Made Less in the U.S. than Deadpool
Well, that's a little embarrassing. In its second weekend, huge tentpole blockbuster Batman v Superman made less domestically than Deadpool, the underdog movie about a comparatively little-known superhero that almost didn't even get made.

In theory, everyone wants to see Batman and Superman fight, so naturally BvS had a huge opening, making $166.1 million, setting the record for biggest March opening weekend and biggest opening for a DC movie. However, that first weekend also saw it break the record for biggest Friday-to-Sunday drop for a superhero movie; it dropped 55% over its first weekend, a full 7% more than the universally reviled Fantastic Four. But it was unclear whether that actually meant anything, and Warner Bros. executives kept a stiff upper lip and claimed that it was nothing more than families being busy on Easter Sunday.

But now, it seems that the critical annihilation and unenthused word-of-mouth from fans has officially hurt Batman v Superman, as it had an unusually sharp drop in box office for its second weekend. It made 69% less this past weekend than it did during its opening (per THR, studios usually get worried when it's more than 62 or 63%), which means it had the biggest-ever drop for a superhero movie, aside from 2003's Hulk and tied with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That's some good company it's keeping there.

But the craziest piece of news is that BvS made less than Deadpool in the U.S. in its second weekend. Batman v Superman has the benefit of arguably the two most well-known superheroes in the world (three including Wonder Woman), while only comic book fans (and people who like nerdy fan art) had really heard of the Deadpool character before the movie came out. Plus, Deadpool is rated R while BvS is rated PG-13, and where Deadpool is just meant to be a fun standalone film within a larger franchise, BvS was meant to launch a franchise. It was supposed to be DC's answer to Avengers, but it can't even beat an R-rated standalone movie.

What's the lesson to take from this? It's not that Marvel is better than DC, or that we need more R-rated superhero movies necessarily. It doesn't even mean that every superhero movie needs to be funny (although I wouldn't exactly complain if the DCEU indulged in a joke or two). To me, it just means that studios should put in the effort to make a good movie. Studios assume that audiences will see a movie with "Batman" and "Superman" in the title no matter what, and to some extent they're right, because BvS was going to make a lot of money no matter what. But it would have made more money if it were a good movie, since there would have been more repeat viewings and mainstream crossover. There's been a lot of talk about a divide between fans and critics for Batman v Superman, but it's no coincidence that Avengers, the gold standard for box office, has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Deadpool, which exceeded everyone's wildest expectations at the box office, has an 83%. In the age of the internet and Rotten Tomatoes, making a dumb blockbuster with big names in the title isn't going to cut it. Maybe this will inspire Warner Bros to listen to fans and boot Zack Snyder from Justice League

Image credit: GoxIII/Deviant Art

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