Early box office projections put Warner Bros. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at $120 million and $140 million for its opening weekend. This report came shortly after 20th Century Fox's R-rated superhero adventure Deadpool broke records with a $132.4 million opening weekend last month. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ended up surpassing expectations, with Box Office Mojo reporting that it took in an estimated $170 million, the largest pre-summer opening weekend in history.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has now become the highest-grossing movie to ever debut in March, breaking The Hunger Games' record of $152.5 million set in 2012. We reported last week that advanced ticket sales for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are out-pacing Deadpool, which took in a record-breaking $132.4 million over its opening weekend, the highest debut ever for an R-rated movie. The movie has gone on to earn $340.9 million domestically and $390 million internationally for a worldwide haul of $731 million, with many wondering if it can surpass the $1 billion worldwide plateau. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice easily surpassed the Merc With the Mouth's debut, but, unlike Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has not won the critics over.
Early fan reactions from the New York premiere on Sunday have been exceedingly positive, but after the first reviews started coming in on Tuesday, the response has been negative from the start. The initial wave of reviews put Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at 40%, a number which has now slipped to 29% over the weekend. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice debuted in 4,242 theaters, which is a huge release but comes nowhere close to the widest release of all time. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has held that record for nearly six years, opening in 4,468 theaters in the summer of 2010. The superhero adventure pulled in an impressive $40,099 per-screen average.
Following his titanic struggle against General Zod, Metropolis has been razed to the ground and Superman is the most controversial figure in the world. While for many he is still an emblem of hope, a growing number of people consider him a threat to humanity, seeking justice for the chaos he has brought to Earth. As far as Bruce Wayne is concerned, Superman is clearly a danger to society. He fears for the future of the world with such a reckless power left ungoverned, and so he dons his mask and cape to right Superman's wrongs. The rivalry between them is furious, fueled by bitterness and vengeance, and nothing can dissuade them from waging this war. However, a dark new threat arises in the form of a third man: one who has a power greater than either of them to endanger the world and cause total destruction.
From director Zack Snyder comes Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, starring Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent in the characters' first big-screen pairing. The film also stars Oscar nominees Amy Adams (American Hustle) as Lois Lane, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as Lex Luthor, Diane Lane (Unfaithful) as Martha Kent, and Laurence Fishburne (What's Love Got to Do with It) as Perry White; Oscar winners Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Alfred, and Holly Hunter (The Piano) as Senator Finch; and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. Zack Snyder directed from a screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, based on characters from DC Comics, including Batman, created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, and Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The film is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer serving as executive producers.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's only competition in wide release this weekend is Universal's My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which debuted in third place with $18.1 million, behind Zootopia with $23.1 million. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opened in 3,133 theaters, with a solid $5,784 per-screen average, although it hasn't fared too well with the nation's critics, earning just a 24% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It's predecessor, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, became the surprise indie hit of 2002, earning $241.3 million domestically and $368.7 million worldwide, from just a $5 million budget. The movie still ranks as the top-grossing romantic comedy of all time, and holds the unique record of having the highest box office take without ever hitting #1, even though it was in theaters for a full 52-week year. The top 5 actually rounds out in a tie, with The Divergent Series: Allegiant and Miracles from Heaven both earning an estimated $9.5 million.
The top 10 is rounded out by 10 Cloverfield Lane ($6 million), Deadpool ($5 million), London Has Fallen ($2.9 million) and two surprising entries, Hello, My Name Is Doris ($1.7 million) and Eye in the Sky ($1 million). Both movies are in their third week in release, with significant theater increases that brought them into the top 10. Also opening in limited release are Sony Pictures' Classics' I Saw the Light, which earned $50,464 from five theaters for a $10,093 per-screen average and IFC's Born to Be Blue, which earned $47,340 from three theaters for a $15,780 per-screen average. No box office data was released for Alchemy's Mia Madre, Reliance Big Pictures' Rocky Handsome, Amplify's They're Watching and Strand's Valley of Love. It isn't known if there are any plans for nationwide expansion for any of these movies quite yet, but we'll keep you posted.
Looking ahead to next weekend, PureFlix's God's Not Dead 2 will hit theaters in wide release. Open Road Films' Collide was supposed to open next weekend, but it was pushed at the last minute, with no release date set at this time. Opening in limited release is Paramount's Everybody Wants Some, the latest from director Richard Linklater, Broad Green Pictures' The Dark Horse, Sony Pictures Classics' Miles Ahead, Lionsgate's Natural Born Pranksters and Distrib Films' Next Time I'll Aim for the Heart. Take a look at the top 10 for the weekend of March 25, and check back on Tuesday for next week's predictions.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: