The first tracking numbers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s box office have arrived, and they are unsurprisingly quite hefty. This is a massively important film for Warner Bros., which aims to use BvS as a sort of “announcement” for its upcoming DC Cinematic Universe that will continue with this August’s Suicide Squad and next summer’s Wonder Woman. Initially slated for release this May, Warner Bros. shifted release dates when Marvel claimed the same weekend for Captain America: Civil War, with WB instead shouting release date equivalent of “first” by opting to launch its biggest superhero film of the month in March, outside the traditional summer movie season.
So how high will Batman v Superman soar in its opening weekend? Early tracking, via Variety, suggests an opening weekend of at least $120 million, which could climb as high as $140 million for the Easter weekend as it launches on roughly 4,000 domestic screens across a wide arrange of formats, from 3D to IMAX to good old-fashioned 2D.
To put that in perspective, the biggest opening for a March release is held by the first The Hunger Games, which astounded pretty much everyone with a massive $152.5 million haul. And Batman v Superman’s predecessor, Man of Steel, opened to $116 million in the heart of the summer.
To be frank, however, if Batman v Superman holds to tracking and opens at $120 million, that would be considered something of a disappointment. This is two of the most iconic superheroes in history onscreen for the first time ever, and in the wake of Deadpool’s $132.4 million opening in February, the studio can’t really use the “well it’s not May/June/July” excuse to make up for the lower numbers. It’s time to put up or shut up, and after years of anticipation and copious amounts of marketing, Warner Bros. is no doubt hoping for an opening closer to $140 million. Just last April, in fact, Furious 7 opened to $147 million, so it’ll be curious to see A. Exactly how Batman v Superman does opening weekend and B. If a lower-than-expected opening would affect WB’s already well-underway plans, which have production on Justice League ramping up in April.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that tracking has proven to be wildly unreliable as of late. For example, Deadpool was tracking at an opening weekend somewhere between $55 million and $60 million just three weeks before it opened to over double that number. So while this early tracking gives us an idea of where Batman v Superman might open, don’t get too hung up on the specifics. There’s still three weeks to go, and a lot can change. I’d be surprised if it opened as low as $120 million—this is Batman and Superman we’re talking about.
The five highest opening weekends of all time took place within the last three years, from Iron Man 3’s $174 million opening to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ unprecedented $247.9 million weekend. Few expect Batman v Superman to hit Star Wars-like numbers, but it’ll be interesting to see if it can crack the Top 5 and knock out one of three Marvel Studios movies that are sitting pretty atop the chart.
But how will the film do in relation to other Batman movies? I’ve included the opening weekends of the most recent Batman films below, from Tim Burton’s franchise starter to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy-capper, to add some perspective.
- Batman (1989) – $40,489,746
- Batman Returns – $45,687,711
- Batman Forever – $52,784,433
- Batman and Robin – $42,872,605
- Batman Begins – $48,745,440
- The Dark Knight – $158,411,483
- The Dark Knight Rises – $160,887,295
For more on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, peruse our recent links below. The film opens in theaters on March 25th.
- ‘Batman v Superman’ R-Rated Version Details Revealed; Which Character Was Cut from Theatrical?
- ‘Batman v Superman': See 11 New Photos of the Superheroes Facing Off
- ‘Batman v Superman': EW’s Anthony Breznican Gives a Quick Review of the Film
- “No Winning Anymore” for Superman Says Director Zack Snyder
- ‘Batman v Superman’: New Footage Trickles In Through Four TV Spots