Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2016 by Ethan Anderton
Whether you liked Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or not (and don’t forget that regardless of your opinion, you’re 100% right), there’s no denying that the film is a box office success. We’ll get to the specific numbers below.
However, if box office numbers don’t interest you, the real meaty part of this story is director Zack Snyder talking about the ending of the film, which has been a little controversial for some comic book fans. But since that delves into major spoiler territory, we’ve saved that chatter about the Batman v Superman ending for after the jump, along with some of the director’s thoughts about the forthcoming assembly of Justice League.
The early estimates are in for the Easter weekend, and the comic book battle took in $170.1 million in the domestic box office, making it the best pre-summer opening weekend of all-time, the best Easter weekend, the best March opening, the biggest DC Comics film (even beating The Dark Knight) and also becoming the biggest domestic opener for Warner Bros. Pictures, knocking out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
UPDATE 3/28/16: The morning after these estimates were released, Variety revealed the film actually only took in $166.1 million. So the film didn’t surpass the opening weekend record set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, but it’s still the biggest DC Comics movie, the biggest March opening weekend, and the seventh biggest opening weekend of all time.
Internationally, Batman v Superman landed $254 million, making the worldwide total for the film $424.1 million so far. And it’s bound to make plenty more money, likely ending up as one of the biggest box officer earners of the year by the end of 2016.
But the question will be whether or not audiences are excited for more from this DC cinematic universe that Zack Snyder has been shepherding so far. This seems to be one of the most divisive comic book movies to hit the big screen in a long time, and the debate about whether or not the film is good will likely continue for years. However, if there’s one thing that will keep the disappointed audiences interested in future movies, it’s one particular death at the end of the movie, and we’re not talking about Jimmy Olsen.
Zack Snyder surprised a lot of people by killing Superman (Henry Cavill) off at the end of Batman v Superman, but for the director, it was something that just needed to be done. Speaking with BuzzFeed, Snyder says:
“I felt it was inevitable. Even when we were working on Man of Steel, I was like, Gosh, what are we going to do with this guy? He’s a pretty tough cookie. He’s so mythic. Superman takes cosmic shifts to get him to move emotionally [and] that reinforces his mythic nature.”
Indeed, the sheer strength and power that Superman had would make the Justice League’s job a little easier whenever they actually all get assembled. However, it could be more exciting if he actually eventually makes Justice League’s job more difficult.
In the world of comic book movies, no one is ever really dead. And there’s a quick hint that Superman hasn’t really died in the final shot of Batman v Superman, when specks of dirt begin to float off of Clark Kent’s casket. Snyder said he almost didn’t include that shot in the movie:
“I went back and forth with it, to be honest. I do feel like it offers a teeny bit of hope for those people who need it. I feel like it’s obvious that we have to figure out a way to get him back, but I don’t know that everyone [knows that]. So I just wanted to give them that little jolt out of the theater, where they’re like, ‘Oh shit! What’s going to happen?'”
But whenever Superman comes back, will he be an ally to Justice League? After all, as we’ve seen in the Knightmare sequence in Batman v Superman, it might be more exciting to have Superman on the wrong side of justice for awhile. We know Darkseid is coming, and Bruce Wayne’s vision and time travel warning from The Flash (Ezra Miller) indicates that Superman might pose a threat to Justice League before joining their ranks. That might explain why Zack Snyder has tasked Batman with being the one to actually round up the other metahumans like Aquaman and Cyborg.
Zack Snyder says, “I really felt like Bruce should be the one that puts the Justice League together. He feels like the samurai who would do that, who gathers the others.” And it turns out the death of Superman is the reason that needs to happen. Snyder explains, “The catalyst, the need for the Justice League, has to rise from something.”
That’s why Jesse Eisenberg‘s little monologue at the end of the movie when Batman comes to visit him teases an impending threat. The cosmic bell that can’t be unrung is the death of Superman, making Earth vulnerable to any number of threats. And that’s why we need Justice League.
In a way, it’s the opposite of what happened in The Avengers. The Marvel assembly is what signaled to the rest of the universe that they’re on whole new cosmic playing field, ready to play with some dangerous threats. In the DC universe, they’re just now preparing for “something” big. Perhaps Superman will be a problem to be dealt with in Justice League: Part One, and then the second part is when he’ll actually join forces with the team. We’ll see.
Even though Batman v Superman has its problems, I do think the seeds that have been planted for the expanding DC Comics cinematic universe are promising. However, I just hope that the upcoming films can have a little more focus that Batman v Superman seemed to be lacking.
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