Coming as little surprise to those who have been following its reception, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice took a vicious hit to its earnings in its second weekend of release. From Deadline:
Posting one of the steepest second weekend drops for a superhero movie ever at -68%, Warner Bros.’ Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice clearly didn’t entice fans back for a second look, pulling in just $52.4M over three days…
Compare BvS’ drop with those of other prized superhero titles: The Avengers: Age of Ultron (-59%), The Dark Knight (-52%), Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 (-61%). The latter caused Sony to go back to the drawing board in an effort to reboot Marvel’s Spidey for a third time.
Let the recriminations begin. In some ways, it could be said that BvS was doomed to disappoint on account of the lofty expectations foisted upon it. Audiences have been anticipating this film, in one form or another, for decades. It has long been imagined as Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor describes it, as “the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world.” However, in an age with more entertainment options than ever before, films can no longer rely on big stars and big concepts to rake in box office cash. They need a compelling story and rich characters to earn critical acclaim, drive word-of-mouth, and invite repeat viewings.
Story-wise, BvS starts strong but quickly descends into an incoherent jumble of poorly constructed plot points. Director Zack Snyder delivers visual spectacle and plenty of action, but little in the way of emotional investment. The film never lets up, doesn’t take a breath, and fails to make us laugh, cry, or feel much of anything at all. It’s a sampler platter of fan service, showcasing moments and themes from the comics which don’t work when Snyder applies them on screen.
The other big problem with BvS is that it alienates a huge portion of its natural audience, children. The runtime, somber themes, and intense violence alternate between shocking young viewers and boring them.
Fortunately, as Deadline further details, Warner Brothers appears to have gotten the message from critics and fans:
The critical reaction has prompted Warner Bros. (per some fanboy blogs) to another look at next summer’s Suicide Squad and ordered re-shoots to make it more fun… It’s going to take more than a visual stylist to move these DC films forward. Christopher Nolan was able to turn these dark DC stories into the smart Dark Knight series, but many argue that Snyder has thrown everything and the kitchen sink at BvS. On social media, per Relish Mix, Jesse Eisenberg’s turn as Lex Luther ticked fans off. WB is now tasked with proving to critics and fans why Snyder is the guy for the Justice League job, and must seriously consider content improvements moving forward in DC 2.0.
Here’s hoping they can execute. These characters deserve better than they have received thus far.