'Batman v Superman' Dominates the Box Office, Opening With $420 Million Worldwide
by Brad Brevet
March 27, 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ruled the box office this weekend, both in international and domestic markets, bringing home $420 million worldwide. The record-breaking performance saw the film set a new domestic March opening weekend record and it also serves as the largest domestic opening for Warner Bros. ever. And while the clash of superhero titans was doing its thing, Universal's counter-programming release in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 also performed well as did Roadside's Hello, My Name is Doris and Bleecker Street's Eye in the Sky.
With a weekend haul of $166 million, Batman v Superman topped the March opening weekend record previously held by The Hunger Games at $152.5 million. While early estimates had it improving on the $169.1 million Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 opened with in 2011, which would have made it the largest domestic opening for the studio, the film came up just a bit short. This is, however, the largest Easter opening, topping the $147.1 million brought in by Furious 7 last year as well as the largest opening for a film based on a DC Comics property, a record previously held by The Dark Knight Rises at $160.8 million. But this weekend's records are one thing, how the film will hold up is another.
Heading into the weekend the swath of negative critical reviews were a major focus as the film now sits at a 29% rating on RottenTomatoes and no film with a rating lower than 63% on the site had ever opened over $150 million. Clearly Batman v Superman bucked that trend as it is now one of only five live action films to have ever grossed over $100 million on opening weekend with a RottenTomatoes rating lower than 30%. So does this say something about critics, about films with baked in audiences... or both?
From an audience perspective, Batman v Superman received a so-so "B" CinemaScore with a "B-" coming from males, which made up 62% of the audience, and "B" from females. Audience members under the age of 18, however, scored it an "A-", which brings our attention to next weekend. Recent films such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Batman v Superman predecessor Man of Steel saw 59.4% and 64.6% second weekend drops respectively. It's also worth noting a large drop should be expected no matter what, if only because $27.7 million of Batman v Superman's opening came from Thursday previews.
From a historical perspective, a second weekend drop around 62% is a safe bet at this time, and anything better than 60% would show the film is holding well in the face of odds that would otherwise suggest it was in trouble over the long run. Speculation aside, it won't be until we see how far it drops that we can get a good grasp on just how big it may go, but its success doesn't rely wholly on its domestic prospects as it also got off to a very strong start overseas.
The film brought in $254 million internationally this weekend, giving it the fifth largest international opening weekend of all-time. The global opening of $420 million is the fourth largest of all-time. The breakdown by territory shows China leading the pack, delivering $57.2 million in its first three days, the largest opening ever for WB in China. Results from other territories include the UK ($20.7m), Mexico ($18m), Brazil ($12m), Korea ($10.1m), Australia ($9.9m), Russia ($7.7m), France ($8.6m), Germany ($8.1m), India (6.6m), Spain ($6.15m), Italy ($5.6m) and Japan ($4.5m).
As will be the case domestically, how well the film performs next weekend in all these territories will be of vital importance when it comes to determining just how big a hit this will end up being. At this point, it looks as if Batman v Superman will become the 25th film to cross $1+ billion worldwide as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the only film to open with over $158 million domestically and not cross the $1 billion mark worldwide.
Speaking of worldwide success, Zootopia continued its impressive performance both domestically and worldwide as the Disney animated title dropped only 35.4% this weekend, taking second place with as it added another $24 million domestically. Internationally the film added another $42.5 million as its worldwide cume now stands just shy of $700 million at $697.6 million.
Coming in third with $17.8 million, Universal's My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 finished just as expected, pulling in a solid $5,784 per theater average from 3,133 theaters. The film scored an "A-" CinemaScore, which will likely help propel it to a $55+ million run, if not higher. Last year The Intern opened with $17.7 million and went on to gross over $75 million. The average for films opening in this range with an "A-" CinemaScore is $64.6 million. This is nowhere near as large as the worldwide sensation that was the first film, but if it can manage to capture any of that magic perhaps it will perform even better than the averages suggest.
Also of note this weekend is the expansion of Hello, My Name is Doris in 488 theaters and Eye in the Sky in only 123 theaters . With $1.66 million, Doris took ninth place with a $3,441 per theater average and Eye in the Sky finished eleventh with $932,449 and a $7,581 per theater average.
Not performing so well was Lionsgate's The Divergent Series: Allegiant, which dropped a massive 67.5% in its second weekend, bringing in only $9.4 million. The film's domestic cume after ten days in release stands at $46.5 million, still short of the $54.6 million and $52.2 million the first two films brought in during their respective opening weekends. This doesn't bode well for Ascendant, which will arrive in theaters in June 2017.
As for new limited releases, Magnolia's Born to be Blue brought in $46,184 from three theaters for a $15,780 per theater average; GKIDs' April and the Extraordinary World played in one New York theater and brought in $11,413; and Sony Classics released I Saw the Light into five theaters where it brought in $45,471.
Looking forward, helping Batman v Superman's chances next weekend is the lack of new, direct competition. The weekend, in fact, is going to be fairly quiet when it comes to newcomers with Pure Flix's God's Not Dead 2 leading the charge, releasing in 2,200-2,400 theaters. Meanwhile, Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!! will roll out in limited theaters on Wednesday with a small expansion over the weekend into 19 theaters; Sony Classics will release Don Cheadle's Miles Ahead and Freestyle will release Meet the Blacks in approximately 1,000 theaters.
You can check out the complete weekend estimates here and we'll have updated, weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
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