With Warner Bros.' Justice League just under two months away from hitting theaters, the first box office projection has come in, which is certainly a good sign for the DC Extended Universe. While the DCEU's box office numbers have always been strong, the first two movies were bashed by critics, until Wonder Woman became a hit critically (92% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and commercially ($411.6 million domestic, $819.5 million worldwide). Now, with early Justice League reactions coming in quite positive, the first box office projection is pegging the superhero ensemble at a $150 million debut.
The projection comes from the latest long-range forecast from Box Office Pro, which projects a $150 million opening weekend and a domestic total of $333 million. The opening weekend tally would make it the second highest of all DCEU movies, behind the $166 million debut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with the domestic take also the second largest among DCEU movies, behind the $411.6 million of Wonder Woman. Here's an excerpt from Box Office Pro's long-range forecast analysis, regarding the "pros" of Justice League.
"Justice League (Warner Bros.) will unite key heroes from the DC universe with the promise of Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and (presumably) Superman joining forces in their first film as a collective group. The previous DC universe films have generated major financial success thus far, although only Wonder Woman has enjoyed both box office supremacy and critical + audience adoration. The latter's goodwill, on top of the fact that Batman is still one of the most bankable icons in film history, could allow some audiences to give League the benefit of the doubt. Fans are also very curious about what kind of influence Joss Whedon (The Avengers) will have had on the finished product since Zack Snyder stepped down during production following a family tragedy."
While $150 million is certainly an exceptional opening weekend by any standard, if even more positive early reactions keep flooding in, then it could very well be an even bigger opening weekend for these DC superheroes. Despite rumors that the film was a "mess," early tracking put Wonder Woman at $80 million for its opening weekend, which is certainly a strong number, but it ended up in even better shape, opening with $103.2 million, the highest opening weekend for any female-directed movie, with Patty Jenkins at the helm. The irony is, while Wonder Woman has the lowest opening weekend of the four DCEU films, including Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, it held so well from week to week that it ultimately out-grossed its predecessors domestically, becoming the first DCEU movie to cross $400 million at the U.S. box office.
As for the "cons" of Justice League, this analysis states that the biggest obstacle Justice League will have to overcome is being the direct sequel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, since the response from critics and many fans was not too good. Justice League will also open just two weeks after Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok, the closest a Marvel and DCEU film have been together thus far. For what it's worth, the same long range forecast puts Thor: Ragnarok at $100 million opening weekend and $250 million overall domestic, but Thor: Ragnarok's third weekend could still cut into the Justice League opening weekend. The word-of-mouth and reviews are said to be critical to Justice League's success at the box office.