‘Justice League’ crossed the $100 million line on Monday, thanks to 35% of U.S. K-12 schools being out for the Thanksgiving holiday, so at least there’s one thing for Warner Brothers to be thankful about. The superhero team up earned an additional $7.5M, which when added to its $96M Friday-Sunday gross, brought the film to $113.5M and it is expected to make $40-42M more this coming weekend. Keep in mind these are just projections. It was projected to make $110-120M on opening weekend and that didn’t quite happen. But ‘Justice League’ was well-received by audiences. 42% of its audience was female and they gave it an average A- CinemaScore. (Its overall score was a still decent B+.) Also enjoying the movie, in smaller quantities, were those under 25. For whatever reason, they only made up 31% of the audience, but they likewise gave it an A-.
Aside: It’s been quite logically surmised that filmgoers opted for the obviously more fun (according to trailers) ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ as their family superhero destination and keep in mind, the average person/family doesn’t go see every big movie that comes out. Many chose the more proven crowd-pleasing Marvel movie and skipped DC’s because Warner Brothers has had a spottier track record. After all, ‘Batman V Superman’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ could hardly be called family fare.
On social media, the one positive word that is being used most to describe ‘JL’ is “fun.” Maybe if that word continues to spread, those on the fence will realize this is a break from the bleakness of ‘BvS’ with a much simpler script and less lofty goals and give it a shot while its still in theaters and perhaps more importantly, before the arrival of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’.
But this weekend, a strong competitor arrives in the form of Disney/Pixar’s ‘Coco’. Disney has a great track record with the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year’s ‘Moana’ and 2015’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ dominated, then of course there was the phenomenon ‘Frozen’ in 2013. ‘Coco’ is projected to open in the $40M range for three days and $55-60M over five. On the plus side for ‘Justice League’, it is projected to earn $60-65M over five, so it could actually come out on top again.
Not to get too bogged down in math, but financial expert Rob Cain of Forbes tallied the total expense of making and marketing ‘Justice League’ which includes the $300M production cost, $150M for marketing, plus additional expenses for talent guild residuals, release-related expenses, interest expense and talent participation (to the director, Zack Snyder, stars and others). When all these fees are added up, Warner Brothers is on the hook for $600M.
When studio revenue is deducted, ‘Justice League’, as it stands right now, is looking to lose WB 12% or roughly $55M. Based on its opening, ‘Justice League’ should wrap its domestic run with about $235 million, with $400 million foreign. Once home video is factored in (once again, these are estimates and projections), the film will still lose $50M. For comparison’s sake, 2015’s abysmal ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot lost $60M.
Contrasting in the opposite direction, ‘Wonder Woman’ earned WB $305M. It ranks just behind ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Iron Man 3’ as the most profitable superhero movie and is by far THE most profitable WB/DC movie. The closest runner up is ‘Suicide Squad’ which made a profit of $195.5M, Even ‘Batman V Superman’ made a tiny profit of $126M and that’s considered a flop.
That sucks, because ‘Justice League’ is actually a… yes, FUN movie. Snyder and company put away the “Superman is Jesus” bludgeoning club and simply delivered an enjoyable romp. Yes, it has its flaws (the CGI on these movies is still pretty crappy, Steppenwolf’s motivation was basically to be a bad guy) but it was still very enjoyable. Hopefully, these projections will prove inaccurate and ‘JL’ will rally.
But we’ll keep covering it, so check back to see how things go!