Justice League underwhelms at box office with $96 million opening
It's the lowest domestic debut yet for the DC Extended Universe
DC Comics’ mightiest heroes are uniting on the big screen for the first time, saving the world from certain doom, and topping the box office in Justice League — but the highly anticipated film is nonetheless falling short of expectations. Warner Bros’. superhero team-up is on track to gross an estimated $96 million in the U.S. and Canada during its first weekend in theaters, dominating the competition but coming in well below analysts’ projections of about $110 million.
The fifth installment of the DC Extended Universe marks the franchise’s first sub-$100-million domestic debut, trailing Wonder Woman ($103.3 million), Suicide Squad ($133.7 million), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million), and Man of Steel ($116.6 million). It’s also not in the same, ahem, league as Disney and Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.3 million).
While $96 million is no small sum, Justice League reportedly cost a hefty $250 million-$300 million to make, and it’s intended to be a linchpin of one of Warner Bros’. signature brands. On the plus side, the film is faring well overseas, where it’s poised to take in $185.5 million.
Directed by Zack Snyder — with extensive reshoots overseen by Avengers alum Joss Whedon while Snyder dealt with a family tragedy — Justice League met with mixed to negative reviews (better than BVS but much worse than Wonder Woman) and received a mediocre B-plus CinemaScore.
The film stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as the Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and Henry Cavill as Superman, with Ciarán Hinds voicing the villain Steppenwolf.
In second place, the new Julia Roberts drama Wonder is exceeding expectations with an estimated $27.1 million, to go along with an A-plus CinemaScore and solid reviews. The modestly budgeted Lionsgate release had been pegged for an opening in the ballpark of $10 million.
Directed by Stephen Chbosky and based on R.J. Palacio’s middle-grade novel of the same name, Wonder centers on a young boy (played by Jacob Tremblay) coping with a facial deformity and trying to fit in at a new school. Roberts plays the boy’s mother, and Owen Wilson portrays his father.
Disney’s superhero threequel Thor: Ragnarok is holding steady in third place with an estimated $21.8 million in its third weekend. That brings the domestic total to $247.4 million, and the worldwide total to $738.1 million.
Rounding out the top five — and continuing their battle from last week — are Paramount’s paternal comedy Daddy’s Home 2, with about $14.8 million, and Fox’s whodunit Murder on the Orient Express, with about $13.8 million.
This weekend’s other new wide release, Sony’s faith-based animated movie The Star, is poised to take in an estimated $10 million, good for the No. 6 spot.
Sony also began rolling out Dan Gilroy and Denzel Washington’s legal drama Roman J. Israel, Esq., which will gross about $65,000 from four locations, for a a per-theater average of $16,250. The film, which has received mixed reviews, will expand into about 1,500 theaters Wednesday.
According to ComScore, overall box office is down 4.3 percent year-to-date. Check out the Nov. 17-19 figures below.
1. Justice League — $96 million
2. Wonder — $27.1 million
3. Thor: Ragnarok — $21.8 million
4. Daddy’s Home 2 — $14.8 million
5. Murder on the Orient Express — $13.8 million
6. The Star — $10 million
7. A Bad Moms Christmas — $6.9 million
8. Lady Bird — $2.5 million
9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri — $1.1 million
10. Jigsaw — $1.1 million