Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’s disappointing second week drop and negative reviews, along with the mixed general audience, is having a ripple effect over at Warner Bros. Studios. The sequel grossed a meager $51 million, a 69% drop from its opening weekend of $166 million. With those kind of numbers, and a slew of other tentpoles that are getting more positive word of mouth, it is highly unlikely that BvS will even reach the $1 billion mark.
The poor performance will now have WB mulling over a decision to release fewer films in a given year. More on the story below.
THR was the first to report on the story.
It is hard to put all the blame on BvS, considering how Jupiter Ascending, Pan, and In the Heart of the Sea performed at the box office. However, WB had to have hoped that BvS would have been the one film that would have turned a profit. But the aforementioned problems are making the studio consider scaling back on its releases.
For those that defend the film by citing its opening numbers, the following week pretty much speaks for itself. Others would say the dark tones would address themes that Marvel would never address. Whatever the case may be, the studio has no interest in becoming like its other comic book studio competitor. “The biggest problem,” says WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara, “is that it is not turning [DC] into Marvel. The audience has communicated, as have the critics.” Pointing out that Jurassic World pulled in $1.67 billion globally, he continues, “you can’t tell me Batman v Superman is so much less valuable.”
However, there have been reports that the studio is now conducting reshoots to make Suicide Squad more fun. A word that has hardly been used in the DCEU. While they don’t want to be like Marvel Studios, WB’s decision to perform reshoots is clearly a reactionary move and shows that they are at least listening to the people.
Unlike the multiple franchises that Disney has under their umbrella, Warners long has been known for its commitment to filmmaker and star-driven projects. THR’s report says the studio will likely greenlight fewer “homegrown” features and turn its attention to their surefire franchise hits. Which means we will see more DCEU films, Harry Potter spinoffs, and LEGO Movie sequels and spinoffs. WB already has set release dates for DCEU, while Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set for a release later this year. The LEGO Batman Movie is also scheduled for a release early next year, hoping to replicate the same surprising success previous films had when they were released in the usually dead month of February.
One source who does a lot of business with WB said:
“It’s not dramatic, but it is uncharted territory for them. They were always filmmaker-driven — that might now not be the case as much. They had a bad 18 months. How could there not be some kind of reaction to that?”
With another executive with business at the studio saying “It’s a strange path to a greenlight now. It takes longer.”
Despite BvS‘s disappointing numbers, Zack Snyder is still on board as director of Justice League: Part One. But the studio will evaluate what went wrong with BvS to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t made with again on that project, which is set to begin lensing next Monday.