Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice held on to the number one spot at the box office this weekend, but it sure wasn’t pretty. Zack Snyder’s superhero showdown took a jaw-dropping tumble and if any other studio had decided to release a major film this weekend, it probably would have sunk to second place. This film is already proving to be a fascinating case study in marketing versus word of mouth: one earns you an opening weekend while the other gives you legs.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was never not going to have an enormous opening weekend. Toxic reviews and mixed word of mouth mean nothing next to hype — that title alone guaranteed a record-breaking start. And right now, Zack Snyder’s superhero epic does look like a gigantic hit. However, this weekend is really all about the trailers and posters and Warner Bros.’ omnipresent marketing. The real challenge will be next weekend, when the film’s legs will be properly tested.
Pardon the pun, but Zootopia is a beast. Disney Animation’s new film held on to the number one spot at the box office for the third weekend in a row and made it look easy. Not even Allegiant, the third film in the Divergent series, could topple it. Could the film end up pulling Frozen numbers? Maybe. Possibly. We’ll have to see how strong it stands in the face of a couple of superheroes.
In news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with a child in their life, Zootopia held on to the number one spot at the box office this weekend and made it look effortless. And yet, 10 Cloverfield Lane’s second place opening is nothing to scoff at, especially for a modestly budged, small-scale thriller (although the “Cloverfield” in the title certainly helped).
Deadpool ruled the box office for the second weekend in a row, following up its record-breaking opening with with a strong sophomore weekend that proved its initial success was no fluke. In fact, the three newcomers didn’t even stand a chance against this red-suited menace, as Risen, The Witch, and Race all found themselves punted further down the top 10.
20th Century Fox sat on Deadpool for six years before finally giving it a green light with a modest $58 million budget. After a lengthy and impressive marketing campaign that ensured everyone in the world knew the name Wade Wilson, box office tracking was looking strong with $55 million. And then the film actually opened, more than doubling that prediction, shattering a handful of records and blowing the doors off the comic book movie genre. This feels like a big deal. Oh, and Zoolander 2 also opened.
Kung Fu Panda 3 once again led the box office this weekend, but like its lower-than-expected opening weekend, it’s not as impressive as anyone was hoping or expecting. DreamWorks Animation’s sequel managed to fend off a trio of newcomers, but each of those films disappointed in their own ways, leading to a shrug-worthy top 10 that feels like Hollywood just accepting that everyone is going to be watching the Super Bowl instead of going to the movies.
The victory of of Kung Fu Panda 3 at the box office this weekend conjures one of the most common questions you have to ask yourself when keeping a constant eye on the charts: when is a hit not a hit? Sure, the third film in DreamWorks Animation’s series did open at number one and its numbers are very good, but they’re lower than you’d think. In any case, it still fared significantly better than the rest of the competition this week — all of the other new releases simply flopped.
It took Avatar two and half months to become the highest grossing movie of all time. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will surpass its domestic box office gross within the next day or two after less than three weeks in release. The big question now is when J.J. Abrams’ sequel will find its ceiling because as of right now, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was always going to make enough money to make most blockbusters tremble in fear. That was inevitable. It’s a Star Wars movie. The big question lingering over this opening weekend concerned whether or not it’s surely enormous opening weekend would break the records set by Jurassic World earlier this year. And now, with the early estimates in, we can answer that question: yes and no.
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