Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Migraines is tanking at the box office despite having the seventh biggest opening of all-time in the US, (ahead of The Dark Knight Rises), the biggest opening for a superhero film (ahead of all three Avengers films) and then…. broke Fan4stics record for the worst Friday to Sunday drop in modern box office history with a 58% decline.
It’s almost as if the critics know what the’re talking about!
No-body was surprised at the opening weekends gross. A gazillion dollar film starring two of the most bankable characters in history had no right to be anything else. And no-body should have been surprised at the drop-off.
The film suffered from toxic word of mouth and reviews, most of which cited bizarre casting decisions, a sloppy script, tonal shifts, was no fun to watch and generally left audiences bewildered and numb. (Purely from personal experience, whilst everybody that I know who wanted to see the film have seen it, no-body wants to go and see it again. Compare that to The Force Awakens where people were seeing it multiple times.)
However, the film has still made a mind tormentingly huge pile of money (785.5 million dollars as of 13/4/05) but that is no-where near as much as it was expected to make. Remember, this film cost 250 million and allegedly had another 150 million spent on marketing and advertising. Meaning that, adjusted for inflation, Man Of Steel made a higher profit.
Don’t forget, that this film featured DC’s superstars. With more obscure heroes to get their own films before the mega crossover film Justice League Warner Brothers should be sweating.
And yet the wrong lessons seem to have been learnt.
Warner Brothers has cultivated a reputation for mid-budget, adult-oriented filmmaking. And it’s a strategy that’s continued to reap rewards; their recent hits have included Magic Mike ($167 million worldwide box office on a $7 million budget), Magic Mike XXL ($122 million on $14.8 million), Argo($232 million on $44.5 million), 42 ($95 million on $40 million), Her ($47 million on $23 million), American Sniper ($547 million on $58.8 million), The Intern ($194 million on $35 million), and Creed ($137 million on $35 million). Which means that the odd flop such as the frankly baffling Inherent Vice hasn’t really hurt anybody.
However, Warner Brothers has decided to opt for the high risk, high reward strategy of tent-pole or franchise launching films. And for every one that works, theres half a dozen that flop taking that risk taking studios with them, (E.g. Jack the Giant Slayer, Pan, In the Heart of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son….) an approach that is working for Marvel since that studio took its time and remembered to produce enjoyable films that people can stand to re-watch but take WB away from the adult films that it has been producing.
In time, this film will probably make a decent sized profit, and nothing will stop the mega-budget blockbusters from coming, but with the amount of money that was lavished upon this film, to say nothing of the rumors that Suicide Squad is having millions spent on re-shoots to make it funny, we have to ask, do we want nothing bu the occasional event film and micro-indie budget films or do we want some mid-budget but good films as well?
And no, a 3 hour ‘Hard R’ rated version of Batman V Superman being released to theaters isn’t going to help anybody.