Monday 26 September 2016

Is Batman v Superman a massive hit or gargantuan flop? It's complicated...

Clarisse Loughrey

Published 30/03/2016 | 10:28

Batman v Superman
Batman v Superman

What exactly is going on with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? No other blockbuster in recent memory has had such a dramatically shifting narrative; with no one quite being able to declare the thing an all-round disaster, or determined triumph.

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First came the impressive early reactions from fans, undercut by an onslaught of negative critical reviews. Though it didn't appear to matter, with its $170m (€150m) US debut weekend making it the biggest superhero movie opening, snatching the dubious honour of becoming the first film to rake in $150m (€132m)despite a "rotten" rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

It's a result which saw the internet quick to declare the irrelevance of critics; except, here's where things get a little interesting. There's another record that Batman v Superman broke over the weekend, marking it as the worst Friday-Sunday drop for any superhero film. As Forbes points out, the decrease in ticket sales in North America over the course of the weekend is nothing short of startling; dropping 55% from its $82m (€72m) Friday debut to its $37m (€33m) gross on Sunday; which beats out the much-reviled Fantastic Four reboot's drop of 48% by a fairly significant amount.

It's a result that can't necessarily be explained away by the convenience of Easter Sunday, considering the film still suffered a 38% decline from Friday-to-Saturday; only beaten by the 40% drop for The Dark Knight Rises, which received somewhat of an initial kickback for its dissatisfactory ending.

Opening weekends, in reality, are a fairly poor reflection of popular reception; something as heavily marketed, and as feverishly-hyped, as Batman v Superman was bound to initially ride high on pre-release good will and sales. The true testament of its cinematic favourability is what we'll see over the next few weeks, with experts predicting the severe drop is an indication the film will land a final domestic gross closer to Iron Man 3's $409M than The Avengers' $623m (€550m).

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