Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice plunged an estimated 68 percent in its second weekend — one of the biggest drops in history for a marquee superhero title — even as it easily stayed No. 1.
The Warner Bros. title earned $52.4 million from 4,256 theaters, less than anticipated, for a domestic total of $261.5 million. Final weekend numbers will be tallied Monday.
Heading into the weekend, some analysts thought BvSwould pull in north of $60 million, considering it had little competition (no new major studio title opened nationwide). Warners and Snyder have plenty riding onBvS, which launches the DC cinematic universe, including two Justice League movies — the first of which Snyder is presently shooting — and this summer’s Suicide Squad.
BvS is also seeing big drops in some key international markets. Overall, its Friday haul of $19.2 million from 67 markets was down 72 percent from Friday a week ago. The tentpole’s decline in China was a hefty 87 percent, and 77 percent in the U.K.
Dismal reviews and a B CinemaScore are no doubt catching up with the superhero smackdown, which teams Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) on the big screen for the first time. In February, Deadpool, buoyed by strong notices and an A CinemaScore, grossed $56.4 million in its second weekend, a decline of 57 percent.
Among other superhero movies, Avengers: Age of Ultronfell 59 percent in its second weekend and The Dark Knight, 53 percent. The only major studio superhero movie to see a decline approaching 70 percent was X-Men Origins: The Wolverine, which fell 69 percent in its second outing. Snyder’s Man of Steel dipped 65 percent.
Some industry observers suggest a decline of 70 percent is acceptable. They note that blockbuster Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 actually tumbled 72 percent in its second weekend, while The Twilight Saga: The New Moon slipped 70 percent. Both movies were fan-driven and hence front-loaded. Nor were they were considered four-quadrant movies.
Warner Bros. dismisses any concern, saying BvS remains a formidable player after breaking a number of records in its debut, including nabbing the best March opening of all time domestically and the No. 1 superhero debut at the worldwide box office.
Others are more circumspect, saying lukewarm word-of-mouth is definitely having an impact.
Audience darling Zootopia placed No. 2 in its fifth weekend, grossing $20 million from 3,698 theaters for a domestic total of $275.9 million. Overseas, the Disney Animation Studios title grossed another $30 million to zoom past the $500 million mark, finishing Sunday with $511.7 million internationally and $787.6 million globally. In China, it beat BvS with $12.8 million, bringing its total in the Middle Kingdom to a record $215.3 million.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 came in No. 3, falling a mere 38 percent in its second weekend to $11.1 million for a North American total of $36.4 million. Overseas, the sequel took in $5.6 million from 19 markets for a foreign total of $18.4 million and global tally of $54.8 million for Universal, Gold Circle and Playtone.
With the studios taking a break this weekend, the marquee belonged to new titles from indie distributors, including Pure Flix’s indie faith-based offering God’s Not Dead 2 and Freestyle Releasing’s Meet the Blacks.
God’s Not Dead 2 came in ahead of projections with estimated $8.1 million from 2,320, putting it in a close race with fellow faith-based title Miracles From Heaven for the No. 4 spot.
Meet the Blacks, starring Mike Epps, debuted to an estimated $4.1 million from 1,104 theaters.
Elsewhere, Bleecker Street used the opportunity to expand Eye in the Sky nationwide into 1,029 theaters. The drone drama, starring Helen Mirren, likewise took in an estimated $4.1 million for a domestic total of $6.1 million and tying with Meet the Blacks for the No. 8 spot.
Specialty player Hello, My Name is Doris, from Roadside Attractions, is also making another major push, expanding from 485 to 964 screens. The film, starring Sally Field, is expected to gross roughly $2.3 million for the weekend for a pleasing domestic total of $6.6 million.
Making its debut at the specialty box office is Paramount and Annapurna Pictures’ Everybody Wants Some, filmmaker Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused. The $10 million movie, opening in 19 theaters, took in $323,000 over the weekend for a pleasing location average of $17,000 and five-day cume of $371,000 (the movie opened Wednesday).
Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, starring Don Cheadle, claimed the top theater average of the weekend after debuting to $122,751 from in four locations in New York and Los Angeles for an average of $30,668 for Sony Pictures Classics.