BatmanSuperman BATMAN V SUPERMAN Is On The Right Track written by Sean Gerber March 3, 2016 In all my years watching superhero movies, I’ve never seen anything like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I’m not talking about the movie itself, as I’ve obviously not seen it, but the buildup to BvS has been an experience unlike any other. Having followed the buildup of just about every superhero movie since Tim Burton’s Batman, I’m unable to think of a similar battle between unbridled enthusiasm, underlying and blatant skepticism, and hand wringing everywhere in between. The first-ever cinematic pairing of Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill), plus the first-ever feature film appearance of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) should be a slam dunk that practically everyone would be overjoyed to see. Removing fandom and presumptions of what “should be,” there are logical reasons behind all the uneasiness. After all, World’s Finest debut or not, Batman v Superman is the follow up to a Superman movie, Man of Steel, that has been as divisive as any comic book movie in recent or distant memory. Nearly three years after its release, Man of Steel has a very passionate group of supporters who still profess their love for and defend the film against all naysayers on a daily basis. At the same time, there is a large group of fans who did not care for director Zack Snyder’s take on Superman and have serious doubts as to whether or not they’ll like his Batman and Superman team-up any better. I don’t recommend you waste the time, but if you have a surplus you wish to kill, look at any social media debate about BvS. Odds are you will see the conversation work its way back to MOS. The mix of rabid fans loving everything they see, cautious optimists, MOS-scarred pessimists, and harsh skeptics has made the journey to BvS, which began inside Hall H at San Diego Comic Con in July 2013, a much bumpier ride than the usual “We all can’t wait!” hype for superhero movies. It’s made the success of the film very hard to predict, though many have prematurely tried with various reports of positive and negative reactions to test screenings and the studio, Warner Bros., having concerns over BvS‘ eventual mainstream audience reception. If Warner Bros. is worried, the studio hasn’t shown it. The next team-up of DC Comics heroes, Justice League, has an announced start date of April 11 and Zack Snyder will return to direct his third straight DC movie. Those announcements don’t get made without some genuine confidence to back them up. With tickets now on sale and the first tracking reports arriving this morning, that confidence appears to be well-placed. Batman v Superman debuted on the tracking boards with a projection of $120 million – $140 million for its domestic opening weekend. Relative to other mega superhero blockbusters, that sounds a little low. Batman’s last two solo movies, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises each debuted north of $150 million, so the combination of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all in one movie for the first time ever, plus inflation, should lead to the biggest debut ever for a DC-based movie, right? Yes, it should and it probably will. The thing about tracking is that it’s historically unreliable for opening weekends bigger than $100 million because the sample size is still relatively small. When Deadpool began tracking earlier this year, its projected opening was $55 million. The tracking was adjusted up each week, but never came anywhere near the film’s actual opening weekend gross of $132.4 million. Of the three films that have made over $200 million on their domestic opening weekend, only Star Wars: The Force Awakens actually tracked that high ahead of time. Marvel’s The Avengers and Jurassic World never tracked anywhere near their respective opening frames of $207.4 million and $208.8 million. With that in mind, don’t be surprised to see the tracking for BvS bump up each week prior to release, only to have the film post even higher actual earnings. Advanced ticket sales currently point to a better performance than what tracking would suggest. Warner Bros. and DC’s advanced sales champion, The Dark Knight Rises, earned $25 million prior to its July 2012 release. That led to an opening weekend of $160.9 million, still the biggest opening for a DC film. While Rises had the advantage of being a follow up to one of the most successful and popular comic book movies ever made, The Dark Knight, it was still Batman on his own. Surpassing that DC-best is at least a high-end goal for Batman v Superman. In more good news for BvS, advanced sales for the film are reported to be ahead of TDKR‘s pace. Like tracking, however, online pre-sales are not always accurate indicators of a film’s eventual opening weekend. Last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron had higher advanced ticket sales than all 10 of its Marvel Studios predecessors combined. This led to obvious predictions that it would surpass The Avengers‘ $207.4 million on opening weekend, but Age of Ultron fell short with a still outstanding $191.3 million. Regardless, a film has to start somewhere and higher advanced sales are better than lower ones, so it still goes in the plus column for BvS. It is very hard to predict what a major blockbuster will do when it reaches this rarefied air. What three of the biggest tracking over-performers, The Avengers, Jurassic World, and Deadpool, all have in common is an unquantifiable “it” factor that pulled audiences to them in droves. Whatever the “it” factor was in each film individually, the result was positive buzz from critics, fellow moviegoers, or both that led to more and more people coming out over the weekend. All three films wound up having their opening weekend projections adjusted up on Friday, Saturday, and again on Sunday. They all clicked in ways just about no one saw coming. That, more than anything else, seems to be what BvS will need in order to move from being a solid performer to a true box office phenomenon. How likely is that to happen? Perhaps more likely than one might expect based on the mixed opinions that have told the back and forth story of the film’s buildup. Tracking isn’t the only first we got from BvS today. We also have the first public reaction from someone who’s actually seen the film. Entertainment Weekly‘s Anthony Breznican, who will not be writing the magazine’s review of Batman v Superman, saw the film about a month ago and had this to say on Twitter: I gotta go write, but last things I’ll say about seeing #BatmanvSuperman. (Personally, I was happy.) pic.twitter.com/tAkmYVDJti — Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) March 3, 2016 Obviously, this is just one person’s reaction. It can’t really be taken as anything more than that, but for the sake of argument, let’s say Breznican’s assessment of who will and won’t like Batman v Superman ends up being correct. If so, then we can guess that like Man of Steel, more than half of the critics and audience members who see BvS will respond positively. Also, since BvS addresses one of the biggest issues people had with MOS while also offering an awesome Wonder Woman and a powerful emotional moment between Batman and Superman, it’s quite possible and even likely BvS will get a more positive response than MOS, in general. That Breznican believes people who hated MOS will probably not enjoy BvS suggests that the new film may not ride a wave of uninterrupted positivity like previous opening weekend record-setters. That probably isn’t what Warner Bros. would hope for, but it’s hardly damning. Again, this is one person’s take and audiences have had the tendency to shift back and forth when it comes to what they want out of superhero films from the grim and gritty The Dark Knight to the awesomely adventurous and fun The Avengers. So, almost 1,300 words later, what we ultimately know is that we really don’t know how Batman v Superman will perform. There are, however, strong signs that the doom and gloom predictions of the film failing to such an extent that it will derail the DC Extended Universe do not have much chance of coming to fruition. All signs currently point to a mostly positive reception for BvS with the only question being just how positive audiences will be about it. Whatever in-fighting and skepticism there has been between fans, it has not had any effect on mainstream moviegoers. They are aware of the film, most of them want to see it, and many have already bought their tickets. At the absolute worst, all of that will lead to a very solid opening weekend for Batman v Superman. If those opening night and opening day attendees really like what they see and tell their friends, however, then we could see BvS‘ projections continue to ascend all the way through Sunday, March 27, to a box office total well beyond what today’s and even next week’s tracking would suggest. We will, as always, simply have to wait and see. One thing’s for sure, however, which is that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will have exactly what it needs to succeed, the chance to speak for itself in front of a large audience willing to listen. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25 and is this week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story. For new images and updates on the film, click the awesome image below. BATMAN V SUPERMAN Is On The Right Track was last modified: March 4th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 4 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Comes Home In April! next post ZOOTOPIA Is The Best Of Disney Animation’s New Renaissance You may also like Empire TDKR Covers Uncovered! November 20, 2011 ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel Rockets Toward 2015 June 11, 2013 TDKR Gets the Cover of EW’s 2012... January 12, 2012 New ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Trailer! June 19, 2012 Bale (Still) Retired as Batman July 1, 2013 2016 in Review: The Year the Good... January 2, 2017 Hot Toys Presents THE DARK KNIGHT Armory February 6, 2014 UPDATED WITH VIDEO! Superman Soars To SESAME... September 17, 2013 ‘Man of Steel’ Trailer #2 December 11, 2012 Dueling Empire Covers for Superman & Zod April 23, 2013 GibLesPaul456 I think if it nails its landing and has a strong and satisfying ending…then I believe audiences will go with the grim and dark. Matthew Malecki I’ve been waiting for this movie since I was about 7 years old when I fell in love with the Bruce Timm animated universe (those shows are the reason I love comic books and comic book movies today). I want so badly for DC to have their own shared movie universe like Marvel. I am hoping this movie lives up to my expectations (the symbol for the House of El means Hope, right?). I got what I wanted as a kid in the World’s Finest TV movie where Batman and Superman meet for the first time. To finally see that come to fruition on the silver screen is amazing, no matter the reason for us getting here. I can’t wait to fall in love with Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. I’ve tried to keep my expectations in check and not get too hyped for BvS. That hasn’t worked entirely, according to the plan (thankfully I haven’t lost my mind yet 😉). I’m pretty certain I am going to love this movie. I just hope that a lot of other people do too. March 24th can’t get here fast enough. Oreole I dunno, Batman v Superman looks good, but all signs point to a more mixed reception. I’m very confident this film gets better critical reception than Man Of Steel though to what extent is unknown. Whether marginal or much is anybody’s guess(I’m willing to bet marginal). Now I know one thing is almost certain: it won’t get better reviews than Civil War, which is fine. If it’s a good movie all on its own than that’s what matters most. CW looks to be the critical darling that people will rave deserves an Oscar nomination or whatever inversely BvS looks to be the more polarizing critical demon of the two. Of course, time will tell. stock I guess I’m in the cautiously optimistic camp. No matter what the box office, the chance to see Bats and Supes sharing the screen will be too great for many to pass up. Myself included. The only caveat is I seem to remember a doomsday (no pun intended) scenario flick with Will Smith that had a BvS logo on a movie marquee. If you also keep tuned into politics lately, that might make your Adam’s Apple jump.