Meanwhile, internationally the film brought in $19.2 million on Friday, bringing its international cume to $363.4 million for a worldwide total of $587.8 million.
Elsewhere, God's Not Dead 2 is struggling based on expectations, pulling in an estimated $2.95 million on Friday, which includes $400,000 from Thursday night previews. This suggests the film could be looking at a weekend below the original's $9.2 million opening despite the fact the sequel is opening in 1,639 more theaters.
Freestyle's Meet the Blacks is holding its own, opening in 1,015 theaters, kicking things off with $1.4 million. The studio is currently projecting a $4.18 million opening, coming in at the high end of our projections.
For a complete look at Friday's estimates click here.
Weekend Preview: This weekend offers up a big test for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film was roundly dismissed by critics and yet it became the first film to gross over $150 million in its opening weekend with a RottenTomatoes score below 63%. Additionally, it became the only film to gross over $150 million with a CinemaScore below a "B+" and yet, online ticket seller Fandango.com reports it's seeing strong, repeat ticket purchases, 30% higher than a typical blockbuster. Does this tell us anything about what to expect from its second weekend?
As far as competition is concerned, Batman v Superman doesn't really have any. The widest new release hitting theaters is the faith-based sequel God's Not Dead 2. The faith-based sequel is releasing in over 2,300 theaters, and arrives on the heels of several films targeting the same demograhpic including Risen, The Young Messiah and Miracles from Heaven. Additionally, Freestyle will release Meet the Blacks into just over 1,000 theaters and last weekend's strong performers in Roadside's Hello, My Name is Doris and Bleecker Street's Eye in the Sky will be going much wider in this, their fourth weekend in release.
Starting at the top with Batman v Superman, you can crunch the numbers any way you'd like, but there is no exact answer for just how well, or how poorly, the superhero showdown will perform this weekend. There is definitely a range when looking at previous releases such as the higher end of the spectrum, which includes the 69-70% second weekend drop for a trio of Twilight films, which opened between $138-147 million. More closely to BvS's $166 million opening is the $169.1 million opening for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, which dropped 72% in its second weekend in 2011.
You could also look at Batman v Superman's daily performance for a signal as to how it might perform this weekend. The biggest issue there is the fact the film wasn't released during the summer months, when kids are out of school and more likely to prop up the weekday performance. That said, perhaps the film's second weekend drop might not be as large as you'd otherwise expect when comparing to similar-performing summer titles.
Moving earlier into the year, $100+ million openers that opened in March and April include Alice in Wonderland (46% second weekend drop), Furious 7 (59.5% drop) and The Hunger Games (61.6% drop). It's important to note, however, all of those films, including the critically panned Alice in Wonderland, scored higher on the RottenTomatoes meter than Batman v Superman, but what's more important is how the audience feels about these respective films.
As already stated, Batman v Superman is the only live action film to open over $150 million and score below a "B+" CinemaScore and one of only two films to score lower than a "B+" and open over $100 million, the other being Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film that ironically scored a 78% on RottenTomatoes while being loathed by a large portion of the audience. To that point, while Batman v Superman may hold a 29% rating on RottenTomatoes, the site's users score it 71%, far better than Crystal Skull's 54%.
Another bar for comparison is to look at IMDb's user rating for Batman v Superman, which currently stands at 7.4 with over 186,000 votes. Comparing this to similar titles, one week after their release, Avengers: Age of Ultron was at 8.1 (currently rates 7.5), Captain America: The Winter Soldier was at 8.3 (currently at 7.8) and Furious 7 was at 8.1 (currently at 7.3). This suggests Batman v Superman may be somewhere around 6.7 or so a year from now, which would be half-a-point below Man of Steel's current IMDb user rating of 7.2, nearly three years after release. As for Man of Steel, users rated it 8.1 one week after release before going on to drop 64.6% in its second weekend.
Perhaps the most astonishing statistic when looking at IMDb's user ratings is the sheer number of votes BvS has received so far. With 186,047 as of publication, that's 100,000 more than Man of Steel had at the same point in its release cycle, 120,000 more than Winter Soldier, 50,000 more than Ultron and 114,000 more than Furious 7. Clearly, the film has gained fan attention, perhaps many are rating it simply in response to the critical lambasting, but will that propel it to second weekend success?
All that said, the picture still hasn't gotten definitively clearer. If you focus on all comparable openings ($130-175m), summer release or not, you could be looking at a drop ranging from 52.5% (The Dark Knight) to 72% (Deathly Hallows 2). Narrow your view to films opening in March and April and you arrive at an average drop of about 55%, with a high of 61.6% (The Hunger Games). For all live action films that opened between $150-175 million you arrive an average second weekend drop of 60%. While 46% is way too low and 72% seems far too high, a range of 58-68% seems a safe bet (and don't forget about the $27.7m in Thursday previews that inflated the film's opening) for a second weekend anywhere from $53-69.7 million.
Moving to God's Not Dead 2, the sequel arrives two years after the 2014 original opened with $9.2 million from 780 theaters and, like Batman v Superman, it was critically panned (15% on RT) while the audience seemed to enjoy it (77% on RT). One difference between the original and this sequel is a notable lack in movement in Google search trends. The original faced off against the first Divergent and made a clear dent in the marketplace while the sequel doesn't appear to be having as much of an impact. Additionally, it's entering a marketplace that has clearly found box office value in faith-based features.
Prior to the release of God's Not Dead in 2014, the only significant release targeting the same demographic was Son of God a month earlier. Comparatively, the sequel is the third such film released within the last month that's targeting the faith-based demographic. How much will that affect its box office performance?
A range somewhere from $12-15 million seems most likely for God's Not Dead 2 as Pure Flix is definitely going bigger with this, releasing the film in three times as many theaters. However, Miracles from Heaven is still in wide release, adding another 108 theaters this weekend, and it just might be too much for this one to break out too big.
Our final new wide release is Meet the Blacks starring Mike Epps, which Freestyle is releasing in 1,011 theaters. There isn't a lot to compare this title to and its overall prospects seem light as a $2-4 million weekend seems most likely.
Elsewhere, look for Zootopia to continue its strong run as it adds another 28 theaters, looking for another weekend where it drops less than 40%. Universal's My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 should hold on relatively well, though it does have some competition in its demographic as Hello, My Name is Doris is expanding wider this weekend into over 960 theaters.
Speaking of expansion, Eye in the Sky is adding 906 theaters for a total of 1,029; the Tom Hiddleston-led biopic I Saw the Light is adding 736 theaters; and A24 is doing one last push for The Witch, bringing it to a thematic 666 theaters in its seventh weekend in release.
Finally, Paramount released Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!! into five theaters on Wednesday and is expanding it into 19 theaters this weekend. Warner Bros. is also expanding the reach of Jeff Nichols; Midnight Special from five theaters to 58 this weekend.
You can find our weekend forecast below.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (4,256 theaters) - $58.1 M
- Zootopia (3,698 theaters) - $15.01 M
- God's Not Dead 2 (2,300 theaters) - $13 M
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (3,179 theaters) - $10 M
- Miracles from Heaven (3,155 theaters) - $6.14 M
- The Divergent Series: Allegiant (3,018 theaters) - $4.53 M
- Meet the Blacks (1,011 theaters) - $3.03 M
- Deadpool (1,968 theaters) - $2.84 M
- Eye in the Sky (1,029 theaters) - $2.8 M
- Hello, My Name is Doris (964 theaters) - $2.67 M
Stay tuned, we'll update this article with Thursday preview numbers tomorrow morning, Friday estimates on Saturday morning and be sure and return on Sunday for our complete weekend recap.
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