LOS ANGELES • And then came the superplunge.
Second-weekend domestic ticket sales for Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, less a single movie than an audacious effort by Warner Bros to prime filmgoers for an 11-film superhero series, totalled about US$52.4 million (S$70.3 million), a 68 per cent decline from its opening weekend. That drop, which came despite little competition, was among the largest on record for a superhero movie, said database Box Office Mojo.
The film, embraced by comic- book fans but eviscerated by most critics, faced a similar collapse overseas, where second-weekend ticket sales totalled about US$85.1 million.
The decline was particularly steep in China, the world's second- largest movie market behind the United States, as audiences turned back to locally made films. China began festival celebrations for its annual tomb-sweeping holiday over the weekend.
Directed by Zack Snyder, Dawn Of Justice has collected US$682.9 million worldwide after only two weeks of release - a smash hit by any account. But Warner spent at least US$400 million to make and market it, which means the studio will need to generate an estimated US$800 million worldwide to break even, according to analysts.
But very successful films have also experienced steep weekend-to- weekend drops: Warner's Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 fell 72 per cent after its opening in 2011, but still went on to collect US$1.3 billion worldwide.
For the weekend in North America, Zootopia (Walt Disney Studios) was second, taking in about US$20 million for a five-week domestic total of US$275.9 million, said comScore, which compiles box-office data.
The only new wide-release film of note was the low-budget God's Not Dead 2 (Pure Flix), which collected about US$8.1 million, or roughly 12 per cent less than the first chapter generated over its first three days in 2014.
NEW YORK TIMES