Box office preview: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
This weekend, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will soar into theaters, as Zack Snyder attempts to answer the age-old question of who would win in a fight between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. The second most important question of the holiday, however, is exactly how high Dawn of Justice will fly at the box office — and what records it’ll break along the way.
On one hand, Batman v Superman is facing some scathing reviews. It currently holds only a 31 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes — which is worse than the rating for the 2003 Daredevil, Ben Affleck’s last attempt at a superhero film. Still, anticipation is high, and it has already raked in $7 million after opening in select overseas markets Wednesday.
And with Zootopia still holding strong, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 also premiering, Easter weekend is shaping up to be a busy weekend at the box office.
Here’s how this weekend’s box office race might play out:
1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — $150 million
When you’re looking at projected openings over $100 million, box office tracking can get a little hard to pin down. (Remember last month, when early tracking indicated that Deadpool was set to debut around $65 million? Instead, it earned more than twice that, with $132.4 million.) Conservative estimates are suggesting Dawn of Justice will land somewhere in the range of $110-140 million, but most agree that the highly-anticipated showdown between Batman and Superman will clear $150 million — if not considerably higher. Globally, it could hit $350 million, especially as it opens in Chinese theaters this weekend.
There are a few domestic records to pay attention to as Batman v Superman makes its debut. Bowing in more than 4,200 theaters, it’s already set a new record for the widest March release ever, and if it clears $152.5 million, it’ll surpass The Hunger Games as the biggest March opening ever. It could also challenge The Dark Knight ($158.4 million in 2008) and The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9 million in 2012), which aren’t just the biggest DC debuts ever but the eighth and seventh biggest opening weekends of all time.
2. Zootopia — $24 million
Since opening in early March, Zootopia has sped past box office milestones, currently boasting $212.9 million domestically and more than $608.5 million worldwide. Much of its success can be attributed to positive word-of-mouth and the fact that there aren’t any other animated movies in theaters right now, and over Easter weekend, Zootopia should provide a family-friendly alternative to Batman v Superman. Disney’s animated adventure has held up extremely well over the last three weekends, and it should continue that pattern as it enters its fourth, adding another $24 million or so to its domestic total.
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 — $15 million
Fourteen years after Nia Vardalos first introduced us to the Portokalos family, the boisterous Greek clan is back. The first My Big Fat Greek Wedding was the definition of a sleeper hit, opening in April 2002 to just $597,000 before going wide and raking in millions. In all, the original spent almost a year in theaters, tapping out at $241.4 million domestic and $368.7 million worldwide. It still stands as the highest-grossing domestic romantic comedy of all time — and the highest-grossing movie never to hit No. 1.
Studio predictions place Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 somewhere around $10 million in 3,130 theaters, but it’s more likely to land somewhere in the mid-teens, especially as counter programming to Batman v Superman.
4. The Divergent Series: Allegiant — $11.6 million
The third installment of Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago saga bowed to $29.2 million last weekend, a little more than half of what its predecessors earned. To date, Allegiant has raked in $35.2 million domestically and $89.2 million worldwide.
After opening at the same time last year, Insurgent fell almost 60 percent in its second weekend. Allegiant should perform similarly, and if it does, it’s looking at a second weekend around $11.6 million.
5. Miracles from Heaven — $9.7 million
After opening last Wednesday, Patricia Riggen’s faith-based drama earned $14.8 million over Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and its domestic total now stands at $23 million. Faith-based dramas often see a bump over Easter weekend, and the Greg Kinnear-starring Heaven is for Real — which, like Miracles, was also distributed by Sony’s Affirm label — opened to a whopping $22.5 million over Easter weekend 2014. As a result, Miracles from Heaven should see a tiny drop over Easter, falling about 35 percent for a $9.7 million second weekend.