This past weekend marked the debut of Warner Bros’ $300million DC Comics superhero team-up Justice League, and the Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller starring picture needed no encouragement to take the top spot in this week’s chart…
The actual figure for Justice League in its opening weekend was £7,264,784, a total that was below expectations following the red-hot showings of superhero films in recent months and the overall cost of the production itself. To put things in perspective, last week’s number 1 was British independent film Paddington 2 which earned £8,260,160, just £4,000 short of £1million more than the figure Justice League was able to reach in the same length of time just a week later. To compound the overall disappointment from Warner Bros’ perspective, here is Justice League in comparison to the other superhero film debuts of 2017:
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Apr – £13.1million
- Thor: Ragnarok – Oct – £12.4million
- Logan – Mar – £11.9million
- Spider-Man: Homecoming – July – £9.4million
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Sept – £8.5million
- LEGO Batman – Feb – £7.9million
- Justice League – Nov – £7.3million
- Wonder Woman – May – £6.2million
Pinned between the two other Warner Bros. productions at the foot of the table, Justice League is most noticeable for how much it has lacked in terms of a box office boost from the two other properties – Batman and Wonder Woman – that were released this year and subsequently incorporated into the make up of Justice League and its related promotional material. Could it be that audiences have lost faith after the critical bombs that were Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in 2016? Has the build-up to the release of Justice League simply been too tumultuous to gain faith?
The financial success of Justice League in North America has also been put into question with the superhero team-up earning just over $93million at the North American box office, some $25million short of its early projections and way short of other superhero films from 2017 like Thor: Ragnarok ($123million), Spider-Man: Homecoming ($117million) and even Warner Bros’ own Wonder Woman ($103million).
Internationally the film has had more success, racking up around $185million in territories across the globe (including the ever-lucrative Chinese market), totalling the film at around $278million worldwide. While this is only $22million short of its budget – a figure the film will undoubtedly retrieve in the coming days – the question as to whether the film will surpass its production budget and unknown advertising costs remains.
Even with the possibility of turning a profit, Justice League must be considered a disappointing entry into the franchise, the fallout from which could see Warner Bros search out some alternative routes in the future, with an upcoming Flashpoint film seeming the most likely place to feature a timeline altering journey that sees the heroes recast and the tone of the films altered.
To further put things into context, here is a league table of the opening weekends of all superhero films released as a part of the DCEU in the UK in recent years:
- Batman v Superman (2016) – £14.6million
- Suicide Squad (2016) – £11.3million
- Man of Steel (2013) – £11.2million
- Justice League (2017) – £7.3million
- Wonder Woman (2017) – £6.2million
Elsewhere in the top 5, Paddington 2 retained a huge percentage of its opening weekend’s audience, grabbing a further £6,612,699 at the box office this week, a figure that pushes the film to £16.9million in total, only £1million shy of Murder on the Orient Express which has been in cinemas for a further week. Thor: Ragnarok also earned an additional £1million to put it ever closer to the no. 5 spot for the year’s top grossing UK releases, just £1.7million shy of fellow Marvel production Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Here are the week’s top 15 films:
- Justice League – weeks on release: 1 – weekend: £7,264,784 – total: £7,264,784
- Paddington 2 – 2 – £6,612,699 – £16,893,580
- Murder on the Orient Express – 3 – £2,279,200 – £17,753,371
- Thor: Ragnarok – 4 – £1,166,031 – £28,210,484
- A Bad Moms Christmas – 3 – £761,829 – £5,804,544
- Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool – 1 – £236,317 – £236,317
- The Death of Stalin – 5 – £111,743 – £4,574,405
- Jigsaw – 4 – £105,861 – £4,855,609
- The Florida Project – 2 – £103,014 – £459,999
- Event Cinema: Exterminating Angel – Met Opera 2017 – 1 – £98,593 – £98,593
- Ingrid Goes West – 1 – £65,750 – £65,750
- My Little Pony – 5 – £61,434 – £3,507,235
- Blade Runner 2049 – 7 – £60,377 – £18,821,157
- The Lego Ninjago Movie – 6 – £60,365 – £9,378,170
- Call Me By Your Name – 4 – £53,528 – £883,452
Elsewhere in the top 15, Blade Runner 2049 continues to hold on to a chart spot despite receding into figures way below £100,000, a cut-off point for many charts of this year so far. The film, which wasn’t taken to by audiences in the way the studios and critics had hoped, will be surpassed by Paddington 2 and Murder on the Orient Express in the yearly box office this coming week. The film has made around $250million at the worldwide box office, just $60-90million more than its estimated budget, making the likelihood of the film being profitable slim to none given additional promotional budgets and so on.
One of the big debuts outside of the top 5 this week was that of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool starring Jamie Bell, Annette Bening and Julie Walters, which reached as high as number 6 on this week’s chart. Contrary to what such a position would usually indicate, the weekly takings of the film were quite low at £236,317, putting it way below other British independents like The Death of Stalin, Goodbye Christopher Robin and Victoria & Abdul in terms of box office debuts and making it unlikely to reach the golden £1million mark. With a release scheduled for the US in December, only time will tell if this film lives to see itself become profitable.
With the likes of Call Me By Your Name, The Lego Ninjago Movie, Blade Runner 2049, My Little Pony and Ingrid Goes West all teetering on the brink of elimination from the chart, next week could prove to be very interesting at both ends, with Justice League likely to struggle against the beloved Paddington sequel and the likes of Daddy’s Home 2, Suburbicon and Battle of the Sexes set to debut.
We’ll be back next Wednesday with a full box office round-up and top 5 chart video. Until then, make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss our exclusive UK box office updates, news stories, reviews, essays and features.