Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has had a decidedly mixed reception since opening in theaters worldwide at the end of March.
While no one can deny that the film made money with an $865 million haul and a production/marketing budget estimated between $400 million to $450 million, the profit margin has been considerably smaller than what Disney and Marvel have enjoyed throughout their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) run.
It’s also way under the margin for surprise hit Deadpool at Fox and Marvel.
Deadpool, which starred Ryan Reynolds and brandished an R rating for graphic violence, language, and sexual content, grossed $762 million worldwide on a budget of just $58 million, a profit of more than $700 million to Batman V Superman‘s $465-515 million margins.
It also out-grossed the DC Extended Movie Universe kickoff at the U.S. box office with $362 million to the Zack Snyder film’s $327 million.
As embarrassing as that may seem for DC and Time Warner, however, the really sobering statistic referred to in this headline is the one that will have followers of the DC vs. Marvel movie war taking note.
Captain America: Civil War opened in the U.S. this week after an earlier opening in foreign markets and outgrossed Batman V Superman by more than $15 million — $181 million to BvS‘s $166 million.
With its first full weekend under belt, the Marvel film has grossed more than 78 percent globally of the entire haul for Batman V Superman ($678 million against $865 million).
All Captain America: Civil War needs to eclipse that total is a second worldwide week of just $187 million — that’s all seven days, not just weekend totals.
That said, it is conceivable the Marvel film would be able to pick that up in just its second weekend, forgetting the weekday grosses. After all, it is enjoying strong critical and audience buzz with a 90 percent “Certified Fresh” rating from critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and a 92 percent reaction from the audience community.
Compare that to the performance of Batman V Superman, which finished with around 27 percent from critics and 67 percent from the RT community.
It also struggled to win support from CinemaScore, where audiences ranked it on par with the much maligned Catwoman and Green Lantern films.
What is difficult for DC loyalists to swallow through the BvS debacle is that Snyder’s film — which featured Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in prominent roles, together for the first time in a feature film — had one of the largest drops of any superhero film.
In fact, out of its $865 million gross, about $571 million came in the first weekend. The remaining $300 million-or-so has come over the course of five full weeks and six weekends, indicating that both critics and word-of-mouth had a detrimental effect on the film’s overall performance.
Marvel/Disney is not likely to experience the same steep drop, especially since X-Men: Apocalypse is the next superhero vehicle to give it any competition whatsoever, and that doesn’t release until May 27.
Since X-Men is a Marvel property as well — though the films are handled by 20th Century Fox — it wouldn’t be the worst thing for Marvel to have X-Men do well.
DC/Warner, on the other hand, has been scrambling to save their Extended Movie Universe with widely publicized Zack Snyder tension, a shift in power to Ben Affleck on the creative side and extensive reshoots on August’s Suicide Squad — a Batman V Superman follow-up.
Interestingly, Box Office Mojo, which previously showed SS with a $150 million production budget, has since taken down that information, muddling the clarity on just how much DC has invested in this next feature.
So what do you think, readers?
Is Marvel winning the cinema war with its rival DC, and do you think Captain America: Civil War will defeat Batman V Superman at the box office? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Batman V Superman screen grab]