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Batman and Superman are proving a huge draw in their first meeting on the big screen.
Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice — in a key win for Warner Bros. — is off to a superhero-sized start at the Easter weekend box office, where it grossed an estimated $82 million from 4,242 theaters on Good Friday, on par with Jurassic World‘s Friday in summer in 2015 and one of the top Fridays of all time.
At this pace, BvS could open as high as $172 million in North America, the No. 4 opening of all time for a comic book adaptation and the No. 6 opening among any film. The movie’s performance is all the more impressive considering poor reviews and a ho-hum B CinemaScore, compared to an A- for Snyder’s Man of Steel.
It’s doing the best of any DC Entertainment film (The Dark Knight Rises debuted to $160.9 million) and, among superhero films, would only rank behind three Marvel titles: Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.3 million) and Iron-Man 3 ($174.1 million), not accounting for inflation.
BvS also looks to post the best-ever pre-summer debut, eclipsing the $152.2 million debut of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in March 2013.
The superhero film is also opening around the globe, including in China. BvS began rolling out offshore on Wednesday in select markets and opened in another 17 markets on Friday, grossing a $67.2 million for a three-day foreign total of $115.3 million and early global total of $197.3 million. The movie is prospering in Europe, where it’s scoring the biggest opening day of the year to date, led by the U.K. with $9 million. And in Germany and several smaller markets, it scored the biggest opening day of all time for a superhero movie.
On Friday, China delivered $20 million (including sneaks) the biggest opening day ever for a Warners title. India delivered $2.5 million, likewise the biggest opening day of all time for the studio.
The movie, costing at least $250 million to make before marketing, is a defining moment for Warner Bros. as it looks to both improve its box-office fortunes and launch the DC Entertainment cinematic universe.
Friday’s haul will include $27.7 million in Thursday night previews, the seventh-best preview gross in history, besting Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s $27.6 million (Star Wars: The Force Awakens set a new record for previews in December when it took in $57 million). BvS now also holds the highest Thursday preshow score for Easter weekend, eclipsing the $15.8 million earned by Furious 7 last year. Of its $27.7 million tally, $3.6 million comes from Imax (which is also their largest Easter preshow number ever).
BvS sees Batman (Affleck) and Superman (Cavill) battling it out as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) brings to life another deadly threat to the world. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) makes her first appearance ahead of getting her own stand-alone movie next year.
Warners‘ first Superman film starring Cavill, Man of Steel earned $116.6 million in its domestic debut in June 2013.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the follow-up the 2002 original hit, is the only other new nationwide release over Easter weekend and is likewise overperforming, thanks to females. The movie placed No. 3 Friday with a strong $7.2 million from 3,133 theaters for a projected opening of $19 million.
Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested the sequel, written by and starring Nia Vardalos, would open to $10 million. Gold Circle Entertainment, HBO and Playtone produced the film, which earned an A- CinemaScore.
Elsewhere in the top five, Disney Animation Studio’s Zootopia placed No. 2 with a sturdy $9.5 million for a domestic total of $226.9. The movie is tipped to earn $23.5 million in its fourth weekend.
Sony’s faith-based offering, Miracles From Heaven, is holding well in its second weekend, thanks to the Easter holiday. It’s expected to drop a slim 38 percent to an estimated $9.3 million for a domestic total of $34 million through Sunday.
The forecast remains grim for tentpole The Divergent Series: Allegiant — Part 1, which is projected to tumble nearly 70 percent in its second weekend to $9.1 million for a North American cume of roughly $46 million.
March 25, 12:10 p.m. Updated.
March 26, 7:33 a.m. Updated.
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