Holy Context, Batman.
For all the bad press Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice has received – from scathing reviews, to a fast, steep box office dive after a strong opening – it has now reached a global box office total of $783.5 million. Not only does that make BvS one of the Top 10 highest grossing superhero movies of all time; it has also now surpassed two of the biggest, most successful Marvel titles of recent memory:
- Guardians of the Galaxy ($773 worldwide)
- Deadpool ($755.7 million worldwide)
Perception is a curious thing. Those two movies (the first produced by Marvel studios, the second by 20th Century Fox) are deemed unequivocal successes; specific light-hearted entertainments that took risks and paid off.
Of course a big part of perception is associated with expectation. Both Deadpool and Guardians were fringe properties that weren’t mass appeal guarantees; Batman and Superman should each be a license to print money, especially when you put them in the same movie.
Also, the two Marvel titles had solid domestic hauls: Deadpool has pulled in over $358 million in North America, and Guardians ended with $333 million. BvS is currently at $296.6 million; it may match Guardians, but it’ll struggle to reach Deadpool. Furthering Deadpool‘s positive perception is its moderate budget, a mere $58 million. (Guardians was much higher – $170 million – but still lower than BvS‘s $250 million.)
Drawing these contrasts is not a defense for Batman V Superman. When you factor in whatever was also spent on marketing, it’s fair to say that making anything less than $1 billion (which is probable) with such iconic characters is a letdown, and cause for concern over Zack Snyder‘s vision for the Justice League movies (Warner Bros. is probably relieved they’ve given stylistic and tonal freedom to their other DC movie directors; that will likely pay off).
Nevertheless, when you look at just raw worldwide box office numbers, what they reveal most of all is how truly relative success is in Hollywood.