It hasn’t been a good start for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” The highly anticipated Warner Bros. superhero movie, in which two of the biggest comic-book characters face off, screened for critics. And the outcome is bleak.
The reviews rushed online Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, and the film’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes stands at 40% as of this writing. Not what Warner Bros. was hoping for, though the “want to see” rating on Rotten Tomatoes is at 98%. And the movie accounts for 90% of this weekend’s ticket sales on Fandango so far.
That’s a big reason why Exhibitor Relations’ senior box office analyst, Jeff Bock, is still bullish on the film having a strong US opening this weekend.
“It’s two of the most iconic figures in comics and that should still push it past $150 million,” Bock told Business Insider via email Tuesday evening as the negative reviews came in.
Bock said Exhibitor Relations is predicting the film to do around $163 million domestically this weekend.
That’s certainly not going to come close to the record-breaking $248 million opening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but Bock admits that kind of business for a blockbuster release only happens when the buzz is heavily positive.
“The negative reviews for ‘Batman v Superman’ certainly will curtail a mega-opening — fence sitters will likely shy away from it this weekend, and families definitely consider reviews when they have to drop $100 at a movie theatre,” he said.
Bock believes there’s a more realistic goal “Batman v Superman” has to hit to save face within the industry.
“No matter how you spin it, at the very least it has to do ‘Deadpool’ business to be considered a successful weekend,” he said.
“Deadpool” made $132 million its opening weekend, a record for a February release.
A lot is riding on “Batman v Superman.” It’s essentially the launch of the DC Comics universe coming to the big screen, similar to what Disney has done with its Marvel movies. Warner Bros. has “Suicide Squad” opening in August, which will include a cameo from Ben Affleck’s Batman, and then “Justice League” parts one and two are already slated for 2017 and 2019.
The true test for the movie’s overall success will be how it does overseas. It’s opening in China this weekend as well (“The Force Awakens” didn’t open in China until weeks after it played in the US and other territories).
“Jurassic World” made the same play and took in $99 million in China during its opening weekend. It went on to make over $1 billion overseas.
Back here in the States, you’ll have a good indication of how “Batman v Superman” will fare based on its Thursday night preview showings. “Deadpool” had a record-breaking $12.7 million in its preview.
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