justice league feature

Movie News – Will Justice Be Served?

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Box Office Brasserie – Movie News For Movie Lovers

A League Of Their Own

The day of justice is upon us, and hopefully it’s more enlightening than the dawn, as the preview, “Batman V. Superman” was a color-by-number nightmare that harkened back to the Joel Schumacher era more than the Christopher Nolan renaissance.

DC’s “Justice League” drops hot on the heels of this summer’s “Wonder Woman,” the first critical and box office smash DCU has experienced that genuinely approached the success of their rival, Marvel.

As a cinematic curio, “Batman V. Superman” attracted a lot of attention, debuting with $166M, but tapped out with just $330M domestic. In comparison, “Wonder Woman” rolled out with $103M and finished with $412M on the strength of reviews and the best word-of-mouth of the summer season.

Luckily for WB the international scene is more lenient in terms of what passes for entertainment, as “BvS” scored $542M, taking its worldwide total to $873M. Even “Suicide Squad” bolstered its way to $745M, so you know the WB brand is strong, despite the films having a “Made in China” feel to them–cheap, but passable.

“Wonder Woman” certainly flipped the script on the Zack Snyder model of the DCU—or maybe more appropriately, swiped a page from Marvel—however, Snyder is back front and center, helming a film (with the assistance of Marvel guru Joss Whedon) that will have no shelter this time when it’s compared to Marvel’s “The Avengers,” which hit $1.5B worldwide in 2012.

So, if it doesn’t debut with $166M+ will it be considered a failure? That’s overstepping things a bit. However, riding the goodwill coattails of “Wonder Woman,” it should reach $150M+, right? Well, early tracking has indicated $110M, which is even less than “Suicide Squad,” and, oh yeah, about $100M less than Marvel’s “Avengers.”

The benchmark here has got to be, at the very least, “Suicide Squad,” which hit $133 opening weekend, and that didn’t have great reviews either.

Sure, it’s a crowded marketplace, and I have a hard time saying this for a film that opens with $100M+, but if it doesn’t open with at least $135M+ and $350M+ domestic, this will certainly be a step backwards for the WB brand, domestically speaking.

There will be Twitter Trolls, oh yes, they will defend DC to the end, but no matter how the grosses play out, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Aquaman—the most exciting characters in “Dawn of Justice”—will use this as a springboard to their next adventures, and that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do.  Oh, and sell merchandise up the wazoo. Check and check. Gotta do something to cover that alleged $300M price tag.

I know everyone is up in arms over WB’s review embargo, but guess what—no one reads reviews when it comes to a film like this. Not at this point in the superhero game. As an audience member, you either want to see DC’s finest on the big screen or you don’t.

Snyder isn’t breaking the mold here, and even with Whedon’s band-aid job, it’s the same-old rock ‘em, sock ‘em showcase of spandex and codpieces that we’ve grown accustomed to. Although, he really didn’t have to mess with the Amazonians’ outfits, did he?

“Justice League” is a collective film, one that’s designed to expand the universe of sales, sales, and more sales…which translates to more sequels and spin-offs that lead the DCU into the land of eternal profit.

Auteur episodes by the likes of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan are becoming more and more rare in this genre, as studios have everything riding on these tentpoles, and thus, everyone wants their say.

Lionsgate has the perfect antidote for those that are experiencing comic book chronic fatigue: “Wonder,” a sweet and sappy drama starring Julia Roberts and a cute kid with a facial deformity.

Don’t discount this $20M flick based on the bestselling novel, as it’s got great pedigree with writer/director Stephen Chbosky (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) at the helm and Roberts front and center.

Expect a solid opening, and extended playability as Lionsgate has placed their PG pic perfectly into the sentimentality slot. In 3,000+ theaters this weekend, expect upwards of $15M for starters.

Looking for salvation in a cinema-scape littered with comic book characters and comedians? Sony and Affirm Films delivers the animated film, “The Star.”

Like “Wonder,” the faith-based animated Christmas film celebrating the birth of Christ and his wacky assemblage of yammering animals certainly won’t light up the box office; it’s the slow burn that offers hope to its producers. Fact is,  “The Star” cost just $20M to produce, which is ridiculously cheap for an animated entry these days.

Sony is pegging the film at $7M this weekend in 3,000+ theaters, although I think it may top that by a bit–$9M.

In exclusive release, Sony unleashes Denzel Washington’s latest one-man show, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” into four theaters.

Talk about consistency at the box office—of Denzel’s last 15 starring roles, only one of them has failed to gross more than $57M domestically. That film, “The Great Debaters,” was Denzel’s sophomore directing effort.

Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler”) directs the $22M, PG-13 legal drama, which, like most Denzel flicks, should have a solid run as it expands over Thanksgiving weekend despite average reviews.

Also, watch out for the expansion of  A24’s “Lady Bird” which spreads its wings into 238 theaters after swooping into the Top 10 in just 37 theaters last weekend, and Fox Searchlight’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Both critical darlings should help destroy art houses as well as multiplexes with their mighty PTA this weekend.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Justice League – $128M
  2. Thor: Ragnarok – $25M
  3. Daddy’s Home 2 – $17M
  4. Wonder – $14M
  5. Murder on the Orient Express – $12M

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CHOICEST CUT OF THE SEASON: Fox’s “Deadpool 2” (June 6, 2018)

Dear Santa, all I want for Xmas is for Disney to keep its dirty mouse claws off of Fox Studios—otherwise this kind of brilliance will cease to exist. Happy holidaze, everyone.

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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Lead-In Image (“Justice League” Movie Poster) Courtesy of Warner Bros.; Poster Design by Concept Arts

justice league poster