I’d like to say we didn’t see this coming, but the truth is, we did. Justice League opened up this past weekend, and it massively disappointed at the box office.
Justice League took in an estimated $96 million domestically—the lowest opening of any DC movie. It’s also the first DC movie that failed to crack $100 million in its first three days at the domestic box office. Internationally, it took in $281 million, but even that pales in comparison to Batman v. Superman’s $422 million international opening.
There’s just no way around it; this is a big loss for DC.
The reason for the failure is pretty clear: the movie is just not that good. It’s not as bad as Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad or even Man of Steel, but those movies had the benefit of the doubt. Hype and optimism surrounded those movies while dread and negativity seemed to cling to Justice League. But that’s what happens when movies in a franchise are bad. Only sterling reviews would have changed people’s mind and that didn’t happen. So far, Justice League has a 37-percent Rotten Tomatoes score.
Taking into account Justice League’s budget, the disappointing opening looks even worse. With reshoots, Justice League cost a behemoth $300 million to make. It will need to gross well into the $700-$800 million range internationally to break even.
Only time will tell if it gets there, but even if it does, breaking even is not what Warner Bros wanted out of a movie that is expected to compete on the same level as The Avengers.