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‘Batman V Superman’ Box Office Performance Forces Warner Bros Into Panic Over Company Strategy

Batman v Superman’s box office performance was disappointing to Warner Bros. executives. Batman v Superman’s box office harvest wasn’t bad, but it was not good enough for a large studio to feel content. After Batman v Superman and a string of other movies performed less than expected, Warner Bros. is looking to change course and seek more surefire ways to make money moving forward. Batman v Superman had a huge box office haul for March, but bad reviews and a sharp drop in earnings have Warner Bros. in a panic even though the movie has more than doubled its budget in earnings.

Warner Bros. and DC Comics expected Batman v Superman to be big and to carry a buzz until the first Justice League movie gets released next year. Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked out in the studio’s favor. Already, they have altered release dates and are looking at an overall company strategy to ensure big box office earnings. But what they are proposing is only going to crush the scope of the films they will release. This directly goes against WB’s reality of having released more original concept films than any other studio.

The Hollywood Reporter explains the seemingly inevitable change Warner Bros. is facing as it looks at the success of other studios.

“In an era of turmoil and transformation, even competitors aren’t eager to see a legacy studio like Warner Bros. struggle. Warner has long been known for its commitment to filmmaker- and star-driven projects, but sources see signs of a change in culture, though the studio denies there is one. Several executives and agents say Warner seems to be greenlighting fewer homegrown movies as it focuses on silos that echo those that generate so many hits for Disney (Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Disney Animation).”

Warner Bros. will do less innovating and instead focus on the industry trend of the moment, the one that Disney and Marvel have learned so well. It means Warner Bros. won’t slow its superhero aspirations but will focus on them even more. Warner plans to put its focus on three types of franchise creating efforts. Along with the DC Universe efforts, Warner has Harry Potter spinoff franchise dreams and Lego Movie expansion projects. Whether all these decisions getting made in the wake of a box office drop for Batman v Superman are necessary is a question Warner Bros. isn’t taking the time to think about.

As Uproxx reports, by depending on a certain kind of film to pull in all the profits, the company needs a franchise blockbuster that brought them to their current position. They depended on Batman v Superman to do it all for them. It has only been out for two weeks. It’s had negative reviews, but it has also had incredibly positive reviews. But Warner Bros. is forced to look at this from a purely financial picture, and it just didn’t perform at the level needed for the type of box office earnings expected from a movie of this size.

But it has also been a learning experience for Warner Bros. They are taking a look at what went wrong and are heading into the next DC movies with the current day’s lessons in mind. Suicide Squad is the next franchise film on their plate. Batman is rumored to appear there, too. Since Suicide Squad offers a different tone than Batman v Superman, they are looking to see if it goes better.

Warner Bros. got worried after having 18 months of movies not meet expectations. A change is in order. Batman v Superman’s box office earnings performance simply exemplifies the problem.

[Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images]