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 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 BvS would pull in north of $60 million, considering it had little competition (no new major studio titles opened nationwide). Warners and Snyder have plenty riding on BvS, 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.
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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.
As a way of comparison, Avengers: Age of Ultron fell 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. And recent superhero entry Deadpool feel 57 percent to $56.4 million, while 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 weren’t considered four-quadrant movies.