The release of Warner Bros.’s latest DC Comics title, “Justice League,” was a decade-plus in the making and the payoff for the years releasing standalone movies — from “Man of Steel” (Superman) to “Wonder Woman.”
But the mixture of poor execution and bad luck has led to a major disappointment in the movie’s opening weekend.
“Justice League” opened over the weekend with a domestic box office total of $A127 million. That’s the lowest opening of any DC Comics Extended Universe release to date. The movie was projected to earn around $US110 million in North America.
In today’s world, where superhero blockbusters keep the lights on at all the studios in Hollywood, an anticipated release like “Justice League” — powered with the iconic characters Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg — not being able to crack $A130 million is a shocking result that could lead to dramatic changes in the franchise.
So what the heck happened? Here we break down four reasons why “Justice League” turned out to be a box office dud.
Yes, it's beating a dead horse, but it's the obvious reason. Sometimes it's the marketing of a movie that can be blamed for poor box office, or the release date. However, for 'Justice League,' the fact is the movie didn't live up to the hype.
With a 39% Rotten Tomatoes score, the movie didn't leave a good taste in the mouths of critics, and moviegoers who didn't like 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' were given more reasons why they should stay clear of this one.
The experiment by Rotten Tomatoes of revealing the scores of select titles on its Facebook Watch show 'See It/Skip It' isn't gaining many fans in Hollywood.
Though the show had previously revealed the scores of a few other movies in the weeks leading up to 'Justice League' opening (to zero controversy), it was the news that the site wouldn't reveal the score of the DC movie until hours before preview screenings began on Thursday that became a story. And Warner Bros. being a stakeholder in Rotten Tomatoes just added to a narrative that the studio was working behind the scenes to bury the score. (Personally, I think Rotten Tomatoes was just trying to build an audience for its show.)
If this story found its way into your feed last week, the assumption you made was probably that the movie wasn't good. It will be interesting going forward if studios will plead with Rotten Tomatoes to not do the same score reveal with their upcoming anticipated titles.
Warner Bros. probably thought placing the 'Justice League' release the week before Thanksgiving was far enough to not be hugely affected by the run of 'Thor: Ragnarok,' but it turned out the Marvel movie still had legs.
Three weeks in the movie is still playing on over 4,000 screens. That certainly took a chunk out of the gross for 'Justice League,' as the unorthodox MCU title earned $A28.74 million over the weekend. It's a blow Warner Bros. was likely somewhat prepared for, but the movie that beat 'Ragnarok' for second place was something WB didn't factor in and surprised almost everyone in Hollywood.
The Julia Roberts family drama, 'Wonder,' was projected to earn around $A11.92 million this weekend. That's a typical opening for a movie that doesn't really grab the teens. But Lionsgate worked overtime to build an audience.
The distributor did a big push to third through sixth grade teachers to do field trips to see the movie (which exemplifies anti-bullying, as its main character is a child with a facial deformity who enters elementary school), and that led to huge pre-sale figures. That, along with an A+ CinemaScore and 84% Rotten Tomatoes score resulted in a surprising second place finish with $UA36 million.
That was a huge blow to the domestic box office of 'Justice League.' For those who believe the movie didn't hit the $A130 million mark because of bad luck, this is the example they can use.
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