Why Batman v Superman is a Box Office Failure

Ok slightly different to my usual film reviews or awards show reactions, what I’m going to try and do here is show with statistical evidence why Batman v Superman has been a box office failure when compared to relevant peers. I hope you enjoy this slice of something slightly different, and hey if I like it maybe I’ll do more of them who knows.


Ok so I’m going to use to model of the American box office, because A. it has more readily available data than other box offices and B. we don’t have to worry about the language difference because genres like comedy translate less well than action does abroad putting films like Ant-Man and Deadpool at a disadvantage. I’d also like to point out that this has nothing to do with what I think of the movie, this is purely a piece of statistical analysis.


As of the weekend ending 17/4/16 B v S (that’s batman v superman abbreviated folks) has earned $311 million domestically after having been in theatres for 4 weekends. This may seem like a lot of money and it is. However it is not as much as DC or Warner Bros. will have been hoping for. At this stage in Deapool’s run it had made $317 million. Now you may be thinking “what? I thought Deadpool was a massive success but it’s only just doing better than Batman v Superman which you call a failure” fair point. However the reason for the differences in terms of relative success is their respective budgets. B v S has a budget of $250 million which is about 4.3 times the size of Deapool’s $58 million. Now if you multiply Deadpool’s takings after 4 weekends by 4.3 you could realistically predict B v S earnings at $1,363 approximately – a figure over a billion pounds higher than B v S actual takings. Now of course that figure is misleading because Deadpool destroyed all predictions of what it should have earned. But I hope this gives you an inkling of how not ideal B v S’s box office has been.


The trouble with B v S is that no film really comes close to the kind of name recognition it holds. So let’s look at the Dark Knight and Man of Steel as two films of a similar tone and the same superheroes. After four weekends in cinemas Man of Steel had taken $271 million, so if we see B v S as a pure and simple Man of Steel sequel you could definitely view it as successful. However it isn’t a Man of Steel sequel, it’s a film with starring roles of both Batman and Superman. The Dark Knight after 4 weekends had taken $442 million – so considerably more than B v S. Also add into the equation that The Dark Knight came out 8 years ago in 2008 and adjust that figure for inflation and you get $489 million, so even further away from B v S. This is interesting because in it’s opening weekend B v S actually took a higher amount than The Dark Knight did grossing $166 million to The Dark Knight’s $158 million. However the drop from first weekend to fourth weekend for B v S has been a catastrophic 99.5% compared to the Dark Knight’s 83.5%. If B v S continues at its current trajectory a good estimate of its final domestic gross would be about $330 million which is way short of The Dark Knight’s $533 and just a little shy of Dead pool’s $359 (and Deadpool hasn’t finished yet bear in mind). While I know Deadpool shocked everyone, there is no way in which a film involving Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman can make less than a film whose third most well-known superhero is negasonic teenage warhead and not call it’s self a failure. B v S actually cost a good $30 million more than the Avngers: Assemble did, a film which after 4 weekends in the box office had grossed $513 million.


I’d like to focus a little more on budget and worldwide gross now, because with modern day movies a rule of thumb is that a film must make 2.5 times its budget to break even. So Deadpool has thus far made a worldwide profit of $614 million. B v S on the other hand currently sits on a worldwide profit of $202 million.


For whatever reason the general public has taken against B v S in significant numbers. This could be due to poor reviews that it’s been garnering. I don’t know, but what I do know is that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been a box office failure, not a flop necessarily we aren’t talking John Carter, but a failure.


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