2ND UPDATE, Friday midday: It’s still early and right now Justice League‘s Friday, including its $13 million last night, is between $36.6M-$38.5M for today. At the top end, that’s $300K higher than Wonder Woman’s Friday, and she was boosted by an $11M Thursday night. This puts Justice League around $97M-plus per industry estimates, far lower than the $110M-$120M on tracking.
Why? Because Justice League‘s morning sales weren’t as robust as many expected.
To avoid such sluggish numbers, DC needs to meet both critical and audience positive sentiment equally, like Marvel — it’s the only way to avoid this roller-coaster ride at the box office. Critics weren’t kind to Justice League with a 39% Rotten Tomatoes score, which is just slightly higher than Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. PostTrak’s overall positive score for Justice League is upbeat at 85% and a high 69% definite recommend.
BvS got a B CinemaScore and Suicide Squad earned a B+. We’ll see what that crowd has to say tonight. Hopefully for WB and DC good word of mouth clicks in.
Warner Bros execs truly aimed to make this title lighter and funnier than the gloom of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and definitely shorter (2 hours vs. 2 1/2 hours), and anything under $100M would likely make Warner Bros brass unhappy: That’s not what they planned for here given how this film has been in development over the past 10 years. I, mean, this is DC’s Avengers. It’s the zenith of the DC universe. Should Justice League rebound into Wonder Woman territory ($103.2M), it will still be hard to jump up and down since Justice League before P&A cost double what Wonder Woman did ($149M) with the Joss Whedon reshoots, etc.
Fanboys and critics have dinged Justice League and BvS for being of a visualist versus a Kubrickan cinematic bent, the latter of which Christopher Nolan delivered to the Dark Knight franchise. There was promise when Whedon stepped in, but as one rival studio executive told me, “I’ve never heard of a director completely changing the DNA of a movie when he’s called in for reshoots. That’s inherent in the script from the onset.”
I hear though that if the film clears $700M global, after ancillaries, it will turn a profit, but not much. Overseas including China is currently at $42.4M.
Also, realize that the Gal Gadot quotient could be slow to show up here. Older women were there for Wonder Woman during opening weekend, with PostTrak showing females 25+ (37%), followed by guys over 25 (34%), females under 25 (17%), and men under 25 (12%). However, the share of women grew over time for Wonder Woman. Gadot’s Wonder Woman does have her moments in the movie.
For Justice League last night, PostTrak showed men over 25 in bulk (41%), men under 25 (25%), females over 25 (21%) and females under 25 (14%).
Also, note, there’s only 1% K-12 schools out today, and Lionsgate’s Wonder is coming on very strong thanks to school pre-sales; likely, that’s where Justice League might be losing the younger audience. Friday is looking at $10M-$11M and $30M-$32M for the drama. Some distributors say it’s hard to make a call on Wonder because of all the front-loaded ticket sales, so if the pic falls to high-$20M for its three-day total, it’s not bad for this $20M-budgeted production before P&A. Fandango knew this movie was going to surprise, and surprise it did.
Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarokis also cutting into Justice League‘s business, hence the possible danger of putting another DC mega superhero film too close to a well-received Marvel rival; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman were spaced out by a month. Ragnarok is currently estimated to have a third Friday of $5.9M-$6.5M and a three-day of $20M in third place.
Sony Affirm’s featured animated title The Staris flailing with $2M-$2.5M today and an awful $8M-$9M beginning. Too much family fare in the market, even though this is targeted at the faith-based.
20th Century Fox’s Murder on the Orient Expressis holding up well with $4M today and a likely $13M-$13.5M in fourth, down 54%, putting its 10-day total at the high end near $51.4M.
Paramount’s Daddy’s Home 2 is looking at a second Friday between $3.5M-$3.7M and a second weekend of $11.9M, down 60%, for a 10-day total of $47.7M.
More updates later.