Deadpool Outgrosses BvS Over Comparable Second Weekend
By John Hamann
April 3, 2016
After critics were treated like roadkill by audiences last weekend, they take their revenge out on Batman v Superman this time around, and man, there is blood on the street.
The news this weekend is not good for Warner Bros., as Batman and Superman lose their opening frame powers of persuasion, and the bottom falls out of the box office in the sophomore frame. Last weekend I talked about the ripple effect that making a bad film has on a blockbuster's legs and franchise, and we are already seeing some bigger waves earlier than I expected. Other studios hid this weekend, thinking Dawn of Justice would dominate for at least two weekends - and now we see opportunity lost. The only other new truly wide opener is God's Not Dead 2 (aka God's Still Not Dead, the preferred title). The disaster that is the second weekend of Dawn of Justice opened the door for the religious sequel, but even it fumbled the opportunity, debuting to the same amount of the original.
There was never a doubt that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would be the number one film in its second weekend. The question was how much would it drop. After an opening weekend that ignored critics' warnings, Dawn of Justice secured the seventh biggest opening weekend of all time at $166 million. Last weekend's total was revised down from $170 million, which was the first sign that trouble was on the horizon. The next sign came via its second Friday, when Batman v Superman earned only $15.3 million, off a nightmarish 81% from its opening Friday and its Thursday preview, which amounted to $27.7 million. Without the previews, the drop was still much too high at 72%. Deadpool earned more on its second Friday ($16.2 million, off 66%) despite opening to about $35 million LESS than Dawn of Justice. The air is rushing out of the Batman v Superman balloon, and this weekend Warner Bros. was left hoping (begging?) for fanboy support over Saturday and Sunday.
The Hunger Games and Furious 7 are the other big openers in March, and when facing off against each other, they had almost identical second weekends. The original Hunger Games had a second weekend take of $58.6 million, and Furious 7 came in at $59.6 million. Both films had internal multipliers (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 3.15, obviously not benefiting from a holiday or summer multiplier, where kids have Fridays off. Batman v Superman had an internal multiplier of 3.4, as it had a sad second weekend amounting to only $52.4 million. Dawn of Justice fell a downright ugly 68%, higher than Man of Steel's drop of 65% and significantly higher than The Hunger Games at 62% and Furious 7 at 60%.
As expected, the critical drubbing is beginning to take hold, as is the B Cinemascore. I had a discussion with someone this week who argued that the B Cinemascore was a good result - it isn't. Out of the entire Marvel Universe, never has a superhero movie scored below a B+ (The Incredible Hulk, Thor), and only one film in the Twilight series had a lower score (The original earned a C+, all others B+ or above). All of the X-Men films were better, including the truly awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine (B+), and all of the Blade films were B+ and above, and the second two were dreadful. Man of Steel was certainly no knockout, and came in two grades higher than Batman v Superman, earning an A-. The point to all of this is that Batman v Superman is going to have a poor opening-to-total multiplier, lower than Furious 7's 2.4, or Man of Steel's 2.5 - and that previous Superman film benefited from a summer release. With a 2.4 opening-to-total multiplier, Dawn of Justice would fail to reach $400 million domestic; with a 2.3, it would finish with an awful-compared-to-opening at $380 million.