February 23, 2016

A Look Inside the Most Anticipated Movie of the Year : Batman v Superman

2016 looks set to be a huge year in the world of comic book movies. No less than seven huge productions starring DC and Marvel characters will hit cinema screens around the world; Deadpool (February), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March), Captain America: Civil War (May), X-Men: Apocalypse (May), Suicide Squad (August), Gambit (October) and Doctor Strange (November).

I suspect the four top contenders for this year’s box office glory are Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Captain America: Civil War, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Today I will be discussing the prospect of the most anticipated movie of the year: Batman v Superman, also known as BvS.

Batman vs superman

Batman vs superman

Opening on March 25, the full kickoff of the DC cinematic universe is going to bring us world’s two finest superheroes in the big screen for the first time. BvS will project before us an aged Batman taking inspiration from comic book writer Frank Miller’s 1986 four-issue comic book miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Batman is rumored to be aged 46 in the movie. We will see slight difference in Ben Affleck’s Batman from Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Batman in BvS is more experienced, has seen every turn of life and most of the people Batman used to believe in have disappointed him. Batman plays ‘Judge, Jury and Executioner’ all by himself in The Dark Knight Rises and we will see that “Bat Brand of Justice” in BvS. Superman will start from where it ended in Man of Steel. He feels very sorry for the fact that he is supposed to be a symbol of hope, instead a lot of destruction took place as he fought General Zod in Man of Steel. Some people will question Superman’s authority and things he believes in, specifically for that. BvS not only has the added value of Batman but also the first-ever big screen debut for Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg in the mix, while Green Lantern (Well, not Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern) might play a cameo. DC has more exciting news for the moviegoers as we might see the big bad villain Darkseid making an entrance.

BvS is definitely gonna do monstrous business in box office. Batman is a billion dollar brand and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy made a whopping $2.4 billion worldwide. Putting Batman alongside other superheroes seems like an easy bet for continuing that trend. Superman himself rebooted to the tune of $668 million against a budget of $225 million in 2013′s Man of Steel, a figure no previous Superman movies can even go close to. However, keep in mind that $668 million is what “slight underperforming” son of Krypton contributed. MoS didn’t receive very good critical review. It had a rotten tomatoes score of 56%, a big decline from The Dark Knight Rises that scored 87%. However, MoS received good review from fans and scored a good 7.2 in IMDB. Obviously it’s about reaching the billion mark this time, but most importantly, it needs to come out victorious critically and in viewer’s minds.

Man of Steel made $116 million in its first weekend in North America. The last Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, opened to $160.9 million. Marvel’s Iron Man 3 made $174.1 million in its first 3 days. For a long time, I expected Batman v Superman to take an opening in between the figures of The Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3. Interestingly, Batman v Superman recently had a test screening that reportedly received “standing ovation”. Keeping it in mind, I expect this film to make $180 million, a 1.55 multiple of the figure of Man of Steel, in its first 3 days in North America.

Man of Steel divided the moviegoers into two immediately after its release but still managed to make a good collection in North America. The movie collected $291 million in its entire run in North America, good 2.5 multiple of its opening.  Trade experts have a wide range of opinion about collection of Batman v Superman in North America from as low as $350 million to as high as $600 million. However, I think Batman v Superman will go for a smart 2.8 multiple of its opening weekend making $500 million (Well, $504 million if I stick to my calculator reading) in its entire run in North America.

Batman v Superman 2

Batman v Superman 2

DC Comics movies haven’t really done extraordinary business outside North America, mainly due to their intensely dark theme. 56% of Man of Steel’s worldwide collection came from overseas market. The Dark Knight Rises made around $636 million from overseas market, almost 59% of worldwide collection. Batman v Superman promos suggest it will offer some humor along with the trendy dark theme. Also there’s been a huge rise in overseas market lately, mostly in China. While Man of Steel made around $64 million in China, Batman v Superman might make more than $230 million there. Overall, the percentage collection from overseas market will go higher for BvS.

Batman v Superman should make around $800 million, over 60% of total collection, from overseas taking worldwide collection around $1.3 billion.

I am obviously risking my bet this early out, and if the film turns out to be much better or worse than expected, that could change things. But sometimes it’s fun to go out on a limb. Excited about Captain America: Civil War? Hopefully I have a piece of writing waiting in the pipeline. Captain America: Civil War hits theater on May 6, 6 weeks after Batman v Superman.

–  Salman Imtiaz ( Author @ Dhakainsider )