A Quick Take
The March 18-20 weekend box office proved as zany as Zootopia’s cartoon cast. Speaking of Zootopia, Disney’s latest animated feature had another strong weekend, and held on to first place. After that, things got topsy-turvy. Allegiant disappointed, Miracles from Heaven over-performed, and 10 Cloverfield Lane did as well as expected. Now in its sixth week, Deadpool stubbornly refuses to let go of its place in the top five.
Box Office Top 5
Zootopia kept the number one spot atop the box office, wrangling in $37,164,158 (down 27.6% from last week). The Divergent Series: Allegiant fell short of expectations, bringing in an unsubstantial $29,027,348. The previous two installments in the series, Divergent and The Divergent Series: Insurgent’s opening weekends brought in $54,607,747 and $52,263,680 respectively. In just its opening weekend, Miracles from Heaven has already earned back its $13 million budget with a box office take of $14,812,393, good enough for third place. In its second weekend in theaters, 10 Cloverfield Lane earned $12,506,539 (down 49.4%). Deadpool closed out the top five with $8,011,984 (down 26.8%), bringing the film’s domestic total to a staggering $342,807,861.
Here is a look at a couple of films that open on March 25th.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (PG-13) 94 mins. — 14-years ago, My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out of nowhere to redefine the sleeper hit. With a microscopic $5 million budget, the film went on to earn almost a quarter-billion dollars domestically, an Oscar nomination for best screenplay, and its own television spinoff series. Had these events occurred in 2016, the studio would have greenlit a sequel during Big Fat’s opening weekend, seeing as this film was released in the good ol’ days of 2002, we didn’t receive a follow-up for 14-years.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is looking to capitalize on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s theatrical run-off. Let’s be real, how many comic book fans can convince their paramours to make a date night out of watching Batman punch Superman in the face? Sadly, taking a date to My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 may result in you taking a punch to the face instead (the film is currently sitting at a rancid 22% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Instead of checking this flick out, things might go a touch smoother staying home, scrolling through the contacts on your phone, and unleashing your finest Netflix and Chill pitch.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (PG-13) 151 mins. — Since breaking into the mainstream, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s director, Zack Snyder, has evolved into a divisive presence amongst comic book and superhero movie fans. Snyder’s early comic book-based movies, 300 and Watchmen are visually stunning homages to their source material. 300 and Watchmen prove that comic book movies could be visually arresting, thematically gripping films, targeted at adults. When Warner Bros. handed Snyder the reins to Superman, history’s most iconic superhero, his artistic sensibilities began going off the rails.
Perhaps spurred on by the success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight series, perhaps motivated by a desire to put a new spin on a familiar story, in his first Superman movie, Man of Steel, Snyder took the character down an ill-suited path. Man of Steel ignores Superman’s most important superpower, his idealism. Instead of depicting the standard Superman character, a man who represents humanity’s ideals, Snyder gave fans a brooding, reluctant hero who was content to keep his gifts to himself; Snyder’s take on the character is thematically tone-def. Snyder’s latest superhero flick teams together the two most popular comic book characters ever, and instead of course correcting Man of Steel’s flaws, Snyder’s issues with the source material are just compounded.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a cynical and miscalculated take on the genre and the type of disjointed blockbuster filmmaking that can only arise from Hollywood’s art by committee studio system. This movie is more concerned with selling action figures and Happy Meals than remaining true to the characters; its level of greed is so palpable that you can actually feel studio executives reaching into your pockets and grabbing your hard earned cash before the closing credits role. Be wary going into this film.
The Bottom Line
Even though we are inundated with comic book movies, both good and bad, the reason I’ve taken umbrage with Dawn of Justice is because Batman and Superman movies should be events. Batman and Superman are the foundations of the genre, each character a comic book movie Atlas, placing the industry on their shoulders and hoisting it up into the stratosphere. There have been only two Superman movies in 25-years, and in that same amount of time, there have only been two Batman movie franchises. There is no excuse for B-level characters such as Deadpool or Star-Lord leapfrogging industry titans like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Wonder Woman (who has NEVER starred in her own movie). Warner Bros. has a decade’s worth of movie’s riding on Dawn of Justice’s success and yet they didn’t even come close to producing a quality film. Their colossal failure to connect with fans speaks volumes about how wildly out of touch the execs behind DC’s forthcoming movie parade are.
Even if Dawn of Justice earns 13 Gazillion dollars (and it just may), it will still qualify as a huge misstep. Astronomical box office numbers are no longer the best measure of a film’s success; studios are now playing the long game — it’s all about planting healthy seeds for a long-term franchise. Even if this picture earns Scrooge McDuck money, it is also actively poisoning the water in DC’s brand loyalty well. Fans will show up in droves and leave feeling swindled. Warner Bros. needs to get their shit together. There are enough comic book movie and TV options out there that fans no longer feel compelled to flock to any film with a superhero in it.
Most Looking Forward To:
The Hateful Eight Blu-ray (Mar.29), Everybody Wants Some (Apr 1), Mile Ahead (Apr 1), Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray (Apr 5), Hardcore Henry (Apr 8).