March 2016 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
March 4, 2016
If you're still recovering from the improbably gargantuan and thoroughly dominant performance of comic book adaptation Deadpool, I have some very bad news for you: while March 2016 starts off unassumingly enough, with some action and animation and horror and comedy, what it ends with is one of the most anticipated comic book films in history. And not even a Greek Wedding sequel can stop what's coming.
1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25th)
One of the big concepts of the Century of the Fanboy has been improbable wish-fulfillment: ideas fans had spent decades reverently discussing, debating, and dreaming about on message boards and at comic book conventions everywhere are brought finally to the big screen as mega-budget mass market entertainments. The Force Awakens' reunion of its original characters was the motherlode, but what we have here is almost just as big. Somewhat easily one-upping both Freddy vs. Jason (as much as it pains me to admit it) and Alien vs. Predator is Batman v Superman, the most eagerly-awaited face-off in film history, even though I think we all know that neither Batman nor Superman can or will actually win this brawl ("mangled, lifeless remains of Clark Kent found in bog" or "deformed, crushed body of Bruce Wayne trawled from river" are presumably not headlines The Daily Planet will carry this year).
The film's genesis is kind of brilliant: in a canny move, studio Warner Bros. took in Man of Steel's $116 million opening weekend and dreamed only of greatness. Retaining the leads and setting from that title, they have began to build a whole DC cinematic universe around them, one unconnected to films even as recent as Christopher Nolan's trilogy (sorry, Batman 2005-2012, you have been wiped forever from the historical record. Goodbye.). Batman v Superman is helmed by Zack Snyder, who directed not only Man of Steel but also the often-brilliant Watchmen, and whose shadowy, gothic style always seemed more attuned to Batman than the lively, sunlight-based Superman.
This new iteration takes its duty as a film world-builder seriously: aside from Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in the title roles, there's Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, set to launch her own franchise next year, and the not-to-be-overlooked Amy Adams back again as Lois Lane, along with a whole batch of new super-characters in bit parts (The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and so on), all soon to depart on their own individual cinematic journeys also. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Alfred are odd decisions that may pay off well, and even with a Star Wars movie lurking around on the release schedule nine months from now (again???), B v S is a decent contender for the biggest movie of the year. If my prediction is at all correct (and there's no reason to think it will be), then the film could also end up as one of only two titles to finish with a gross between $500 million and $599 million. The other one? Assuming it ever existed, it was The Dark Knight.
Opening weekend: $200 million / Total gross: $575 million