Early box office numbers are in for Justice League, and it appears the $300 million production that was ten years in the making is headed for a less than stellar opening weekend. According to Deadline, the superhero ensemble film brought in $38.8M on Friday, only to drop 15% to $33M on Saturday. The expectation is that Justice League declines an additional 27% on Sunday to around $24.1M. Most films would be pretty pleased with a $96 million opening, but Justice League was intended to be the DC Universe’s flagship, and launch solo films for new characters like The Flash and Aquaman, so expectations were high. To put it into perspective, the much-maligned Batman v. Superman opened at $166 million, which is 44% higher. Meanwhile, Marvel’s rival Avengers earned a record-setting $207 million when it opened in 2012.
No doubt cutting into Justice League’s box office is the success of Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, which earned a three-day total of $20.3M (in its third week of release). There is also the fact Justice League’s Rotten Tomatoes score was delayed until just before the film’s release, which many in the press and public suspected was a move forced by Warner Bros. In actuality, Rotten Tomatoes sought to use the reveal as a way to promote its new Siskel & Ebert-esque Facebook show See It/Skip It, in which they exclusively reveal a wide release’s RT score before it hits their website. Even still, the critical reception to Justice League has been lukewarm at best, with a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Globally, Justice League earned $185 million, which is also below expectations. Deadline reports that in order to be profitable, Warner Bros. needs to clear between $700 and $725 million overseas, and there’s no guarantee that will happen.
Even prior to its lackluster box office results, Justice League’s production was a chaotic one. The film’s original director Zack Snyder stepped down after the tragic passing of his daughter and was replaced by Avengers filmmaker Joss Whedon, who oversaw post-production. Additionally, composer Junkie XL was unceremoniously fired late in the film’s production and replaced by Danny Elfman.