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Sunday, April 3, 2016

(EXCLUSIVE): #BatmanvSuperman Takes a Huge Hit

Its second-week slide is one of the largest in history.

Story by Matt Cummings

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice witnessed a monumental drop in its second week in theaters, marking it as one of the highest declines ever. At 68% (far higher than the traditional 60%), Warner Bros.' tentpole is starting to look like a misfire. After a strong domestic opening of $166m, the pundits were scratching their heads as to how a film with a "B" CinemaScore and a 29% Rotten Tomatoes rating could rake in that much cash. Additionally, Monday ($33m) and Tuesday ($15m) showed strong numbers, possibly indicating a backlash by audiences who wanted to see it for themselves. But as the week wore on, numbers began to decline rapidly, with Thursday offering just $7.7m. This weekend's decline places it with other not-so-great company, including 2015's Fantastic Four (68.2%) and X-Men: The Last Stand (66.9%)

The whole free fall obviously should have WB and the Zack Snyder camp very worried. It's the second sharpest drop for a comic book tentpole - X-Men Origins: Wolverine experienced a 69% decline - and with no competition this weekend, BvS should have cleaned up. It therefore should come as little surprise that the studio has begun to make some (possibly ill-advised) kneejerk reactions. Collider and several other outlets reported last week that the cast of Suicide Squad has gathered to reshoot several scenes in order to bring more levity to Director David Ayer's film. Essentially, every joke that appeared in the Bohemian Rhapsody-style trailer was every joke in the film; and since audiences responded well to them, the studio wants to see how good a slightly lighter Squad is viewed. Hmmm....last minute reshoots in response to critical condemnation of another film is not new, but this doesn't bode well if the results don't impress.

There is one glimmer of hope: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 experienced a massive 72% fall and still managed to make $381m domestically. But while WB is expecting a similar performance out of DC Comics' opener, they have to be concerned that what should have been a guaranteed money maker with broad audience support has suffered a rather ignominious black eye. This is so bad that some critics believe BvS could be supplanted next weekend by none other than Melissa McCarthy's comedy The Boss. Three months ago, we couldn't have guessed this course of events, but now it's a real possibility.

And while a final $362.8m domestic haul is still in the cards, the worldwide numbers are a mixed bag. On the good side, its $682.8m total has already surpassed Iron Man (585.2m), Iron Man 2 ($623.9m), Thor: The Dark World ($644.6m), and Man of Steel ($668m). However, the domestic plummet has all but removed the possibility of a $1b+ performer.

Other contenders in this week's box office made an even greater point about the failure of BvS, as audiences chose to stay home rather than succumb to the dour world of Gotham and Metropolis. Fans returned to Disney's Zootopia with an estimated $20m, putting its numbers at over $275m domestically/$787.6m worldwide.

Our thanks to BOM, Collider, and Deadline for the numbers.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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