Justice League underperformed , What could this mean !11 min read
Justice League fails to earn 100 million dollars in the opening weekend at the domestic markets. What does this indicate about the gross earning and future aspects of the DC Films ? Read along to find out our analysis and judge for yourself with an open mind as to how much it may align with the reality in the upcoming future.
Warner Brothers Entertainment’s and DC Film’s magnum opus , the epic team up superhero flick “Justice League” failed to earn 100 million dollars this opening weekend to gross a 96 million dollar in domestic soil. Though this is absolutely not a bad number , but this is far below the estimated average opening for any Superhero movie of the likes of Justice League. When compared to its fellow predecessor , it falls 7% below Wonder Woman’s 103 million $ , 28% below Suicide Squad’s 133 million $ debut , 42% below Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice’s 166 million $ debut and 25% below Man of Steel’s 116 million $ debut. This is an extremely embarrassing situation for the fan who knows what the term “Justice League” means considering the PG-13 tentpole team-up comprises of the incredibly popular Superman (everyone knows he is coming back despite Warner’s interesting ad campaign) , Batman , Wonder Woman ( the general audience know her from her incredibly successful standalone debut), Flash (general audience have known him from the CWTV show , cartoons and more) and others.
Justice League is rumored to have a production budget of 300 million $ (inclusive of the reshoots) and a huge unspecified amount for global marketing , heaping up to a reasonable target of 800 million $ worldwide to break even. Justice League struggled with the same critical backlash as Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad but it lacks the huge fan support both of the former received in their opening weekends , that DC fans have been so proud of. Opening day audiences gave the film a “B+” CinemaScore and of that audience, 58% were male vs. 42% female and 69% were over the age of 25. It seems that general audience , based on the footage they saw and news they heard about the film, were “all out” this weekend and chose to skip a trip to see Justice League. Justice League is for now , outclassed by the mammoth 207 million $ opening of Avengers (+105 %) back in 2012 and the 191 million $ opening of Avengers : Age of Ultron (+98%) back in 2015. In fact when we look at approximate tickets sold, the turnout this weekend for Justice League was only about 14% better than it was for the 1997 flop Batman & Robin which at the time killed the DC movie world (and if we are being honest , the comic book movie industry in general which was luckily revived later on by X-Men and Raimi’s Spiderman ).
But on a positive side , the international markets have been generous on Justice League and brought in an estimated $185.5 million from 65 markets for a $281.5 million worldwide debut. So does this current scenario speaks nothing but volumes of downhill disaster for the DC Films Epic from now on ? Well definately not ! For now ! There’s a series of recurring factors which can roll the ball in either side from this point onward. Lets have an insight on them :
1.Thanksgiving – With Thanksgiving just around the corner , it is expected to see a spike in the charts in favor of the league as the #1 movie of the theaters are generally the target for the holiday enjoying crowd. And since the movie in itself is a crowd-pleaser above all others , the movie should serve just fine. Also , since there is no other big movie at the moment , Justice League is expected to benefit the maximum from the national holiday. Thanksgiving has proven to be a bliss for tentpole movies with lower end opening collections over the years.
2.Disney Pixar’s COCO – This 3D computer-animated musical fantasy adventure film by PIXAR has the potential to turn up or down the game for Justice League. Though by the look of it , it lacks the zeal possessed by any blockbuster Disney animation , it can still steal the PG-13 market of the Justice League with its ~3,800 locations. Disney has long used the Thanksgiving holiday as a boost for several of their animated features, including Pixar’s Toy Story back in 1995. The studio itself holds an astonishing 9 of the top 10 spots in the Thanksgiving record books. By personal speculation , I consider the scenario very similar to last year’s where Disney’s “Moana” competed with Warner’s “Fantastic beasts and where to find them” and both went home happy. Fantastic Beasts faced a 40% drop over the Disney animated debut.
3. Multipliers – DC Extended Universe have had an interesting history of recurring multipliers.One might expect Justice League to follow patterns closer to the ~2.4x multipliers for Man of Steel or perhaps even closer to the 1.99x multiplier for Batman v Superman. The multiplier will hold or go down depending on the other discussed factors but will in turn hold up for the final run of the movie.
4.Star Wars : The Last Jedi – The biggest factor that should decide the final bills. With a movie as big as Star Wars and judging by the hype and approach of the movie , the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga is expected to break records. This might leave us seeing the last legs of Justice League. There is a 4 weekend gap between the launch of this Star Wars juggernaut which should provide the solid earning period of the movie. If Justice League intends to break a billion ( which it should ) , the movie should break it out (or at least into the late 900 million $ range) in this time interval. Otherwise , there is a good probability of the movie missing the chance to do so.
On simultaneous box office feats , “Wonder” debuted to a solid 27 million $ debut with massive support and love from moviegoers (Adult women were the driving force as studio data showed that the crowd was 68% female and 66% over 25 pushing it to a A+ Cinema score) and critics alike. Speaking of Thor : Ragnarok , with the debut of Justice League , it dropped from first to third place grossing an estimated 21.8 million $ in its third weekend ( 62% drop ). The 17th Marvel Cinematic Universe now sits on a global haul of 738.1 million $ .
What now ?
Justice League is yet to see its debut in Japan on the 23rd and that should help strengthen its feet on the foreign soils. Though the increasing ratio of Foreign / Domestic gross (decreasing gross in domestic soils over the years) makes me worry that DC Cinematic Universe might just roll down to the likes of Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean. We have recently seen where a franchise with continued critical backlash and commercial success (especially from the foreign markets) leads to , in Transformers : The Last Knight. It would be a shame to predict DC Films to go in that category and not being able to do anything about it. If you look at the scenario with glasses , the doom of Justice League could result in a number of cumulative disasters. With 10 years in the MCU , and its throttle on the maximum gear (Avengers : Infinity War and the unnamed Avengers 4 featuring the biggest threat Marvel can produce in the absence of Galactus and Dr. Doom) , Warner Bros can pull the industry down with their bare hands judging by their consistency to bring in lower quality movies which adds nothing but fatigue to the genre. 2017 is a massive year for comic book movies where any casual movie goer can look back and appreciate the quality and diversity each one has brought to the table. Justice League , as feared , comes out as the only example of bad film-making in this excelsior roster of CBMs.
Now one may argue that is Justice League that bad of a movie and conflict the likes of Fantastic 4 movies and X-Men origins : Wolverine ? No it’s not , but sadly it’s not me that’s doing the talking this time. Its the audience speaking for themselves with a Justice League number that’s not just about 14% higher than a Doctor Strange debut but also about 2 million lesser than an Iron Man debut from about a decade back.If I had said this 15 years ago , I would have earned myself a name for a comedian in my circle.However , it started worrying me way back when Batman v Superman earned a 105 million $ profit , a bit less than Ant-Man (some people who are ignorant of how movies work still argue on this ! well they can argue for an eternity when Warner decides to go full on in standalone movies and never ever make a sequel to Justice League).
To draw examples , Batman is far more popular than Captain , but an Evan’s Captain has a better combustibility in movies than Affleck’s Dark Knight. Why ? Because people are more acquainted with the character , they have seen the actor blend into the character through a massive chain of events over the years. This is the only way to make things like this work ! This is the only reason , some people feel miserable after watching Logan ! this is the reason Christian Bale is still preferred by many even after possessing far lesser Batman attributes than “Batffleck” ! We should stop admiring whatever the studios rolls out to us , stop justifying things which are clear indications of the studio trying too hard to make the characters different from their previous incarnations ! Otherwise , mark my words, that day is not far away when there will be nothing left to justify and fight for ! At the end of the day , there are enough predators in the industry envious of this kind of films for their massive grosses and productions. This is exclaimed to be a golden comic book movie era , let’s do our best to help the era sustain as much as possible.
Let us know what you thought of this article in the comments section below.