So… Batman v Superman has proven to be a devisive little number, hasn’t it? Despite being roundly panned by critics for being a nigh-on incomprehensible mess (among other things) – an equally vocal group have leapt to the film’s defence. Critics have been painted as the bad guys – uptight snobs with axes to grind who want nothing more than to see the DC movie universe come crashing down to the gratifying cries of fans everywhere. This is, of course, untrue. The movie was just plain bad.
More often than not, fans of BvS have cited the movie’s box office figures as evidence of its quality. Quite aside from the fact that film’s aren’t necessarily good just because the make money (looking at you, Michael Bay) – it should be noted that despite recently breaking the $700 million mark, Batman v Superman isn’t actually doing all that well.
While $700 million worldwide is obviously a ridiculous amount of money, it is apparently no where near what Warner Bros. expected. The studio was reportedly hoping for between $800 million and $1 billion, and box office receipts have fallen dramatically since the movie first came out. According to Slashfilm.com, BvS has experienced a decrease of 81% in sales between it’s opening weekend and April 1st – one of the biggest ‘Friday-to-Friday’ drops in history (for reference – Green Lantern had a Friday-to-Friday drop of 72%).
While I personally don’t find this at all surprising, it has apparently really unsettled the studio. THR has reported that Warner Bros. has been rethinking its entire business strategy – not just for its DC line-up, but for all of its films. It’s been reported that WB is going to focus more on its franchise properties (DC, the Harry Potter universe etc.) than on developing ‘homegrown’ movies – i.e. they’re doubling-down on their bankable titles instead of coming up with new ideas.
I have limited sympathy for the studio – mainly because they constantly drive-up their own production costs for no reason (see the awful CGI costume from Green Lantern for example). Rather than focusing on their franchise titles on the increasingly shaky premise that they are guaranteed to make money, WB should be diversifying their content and taking more risks with their movies instead of just throwing money at the problem.
Case in point, the Deadpool movie has made around $753 million world-wide since it was released – only slightly more than BvS has made in two weeks. The key difference between the two is that Deadpool only cost around $60 million to make. Fox – the studio that owns the X-men franchise – took a risk with that project and it paid off massively. As I said in my review of Deadpool, the smaller budget made for a better movie that audiences loved and, crucially, that they kept on going to see.
Essentially, Warner Bros. need to take some time and actually think about what they are doing, instead of pumping out mindless blockbuster at increasingly higher costs. They need to stop making shit movies, basically. Surely it can’t be that difficult.