Box Office: 'Batman v. Superman' Plunges 69 Percent in Second Weekend to $51.3M

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice'

Dismal reviews and a mediocre B CinemaScore are catching up with Zack Snyder's tentpole even as it amasses sizable grosses at the global box office, hitting $682.9 million through Sunday and already surpassing the lifetime gross of 'Man of Steel.'

Zack Snyder's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice plunged 69 percent in its second weekend — one of the biggest drops in history for a marquee superhero title — even as it easily stayed No. 1.

Final numbers show the Warner Bros. title earning $51.3 million from 4,256 theaters for a domestic total of $260.4 million. That compares to Sunday's estimate of $52.4 million, which would have put the drop at 68 percent.

Heading into the weekend, some analysts thought BvS would pull in north of $60 million, considering it had little competition (no new major studio title opened nationwide). Warners and Snyder have plenty riding on BvS, which launches the DC cinematic universe, including two Justice League movies — the first of which Snyder is presently shooting — and this summer's Suicide Squad.

BvS is also seeing big drops in some key international markets. Overall, the movie fell 67 percent internationally to $85.3 million from 67 markets for a foreign total of $422.5 million and a global haul of $682.9 million. BvS has slowed dramatically in China, where it was beaten by Zootopia this weekend. It has earned $85 million in the Middle Kingdom to date.

Dismal reviews and a B CinemaScore are no doubt catching up with the superhero smackdown, which teams Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) on the big screen for the first time. And it already has eclipsed the entire lifetime gross of Snyder's Man of Steel ($668 million).

Among other superhero movies, Avengers: Age of Ultron fell 59 percent in its second weekend and The Dark Knight slipped 53 percent. The only major studio superhero movie to see a decline approaching 70 percent was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which fell 69 percent in its second outing. Man of Steel dipped 65 percent.

Some industry observers suggest a decline of 70 percent or less is acceptable for BvS. They note that blockbuster Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 actually tumbled 72 percent in its second weekend, while The Twilight Saga: New Moon slipped 70 percent. Both movies were fan-driven and hence front-loaded. Nor were they considered four-quadrant movies.

Warner Bros. also dismissed any concerns, saying BvS remains a formidable player after breaking a number of records in its debut, including nabbing the best March opening of all time domestically and the No. 1 superhero debut at the worldwide box office. The studio also noted the film already has passed the entire lifetime runs of titles including Ant-Man, Thor, Wolverine and Captain America.

"We're not concerned with the drop," said Warners domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. "No matter how you slice it, to get to $52 million on any given weekend is an enormous accomplishment. We’re most focused on where we are in total. And our global number is huge."

Internationally, Batman v. Superman already has beaten Deadpool ($399.3 million). China leads, followed by the U.K. with $39.7 million, Mexico with $29.7 million and Brazil with $21.8 million. BvS also is rewriting the history books in parts of Latin America, where it is already the biggest Warners release of all time in Mexico and Brazil.

Deadpool celebrated its own milestone this weekend, becoming the top-grossing title in the X-Men universe of films with a global total through Sunday of $752 million for Fox, surpassing X-Men: Days of Future Past ($749 million).

In February, Deadpool, buoyed by strong notices and an A CinemaScore, grossed $56.4 million in its second weekend, a decline of 57 percent.

Warner Bros. says a key reason for Batman v. Superman's drop in the U.S. is the fact that the movie earned nearly $28 million in Thursday-night previews, which was folded into the opening-weekend gross. Age of Ultron, however, also earned $27.7 million in previews, while Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed a massive $57 million in previews while falling less than 40 percent in its second weekend.

Audience darling Zootopia placed No. 2 in its fifth weekend, grossing $20 million from 3,698 theaters for a domestic total of $275.9 million. Overseas, the Disney Animation Studios title grossed another $30 million to zoom past the $500 million mark, finishing Sunday with $511.7 million abroad and $787.6 million globally. In China, it beat BvS with $12.8 million, bringing its total in the Middle Kingdom to a record $215.3 million.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 came in at No. 3, falling a mere 38 percent in its second weekend to $11.1 million for a North American total of $36.4 million. Overseas, the sequel took in $5.6 million from 19 markets for a foreign total of $18.4 million and a global tally of $54.8 million for Universal, Gold Circle, HBO and Playtone.

With the studios taking a break this weekend, the marquee belonged to new titles from indie distributors, including Pure Flix's faith-based indie offering God's Not Dead 2 and Freestyle Releasing's Meet the Blacks.

God's Not Dead 2 came in ahead of projections with estimated $8.1 million from 2,320 theaters, followed closely by Sony's faith-based title Miracles From Heaven, which took in $7.6 million in its third weekend from 3,155 theaters for a solid domestic total of $46.2 million. God's Not Dead 2 came in behind the $9.2 million debut of the original film in March 2014.

The Purge spoof Meet the Blacks, starring Mike Epps, debuted to an estimated $4.1 million from 1,104 theaters.

Elsewhere, Bleecker Street used the opportunity to expand Eye in the Sky nationwide into 1,029 theaters. The drone drama, starring Helen Mirren, likewise took in an estimated $4.1 million for a domestic total of $6.1 million and tied with Meet the Blacks for the No. 8 spot.

Specialty player Hello, My Name Is Doris, from Roadside Attractions, is also making another major push, expanding from 485 to 964 screens. The film, starring Sally Field, is expected to gross about $2.3 million for the weekend for a pleasing domestic total of $6.6 million.

Making its debut at the specialty box office is Paramount and Annapurna Pictures' Everybody Wants Some, filmmaker Richard Linklater's critically acclaimed "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused. The $10 million movie, opening in 19 theaters, took in $323,000 over the weekend for a  location average of $17,000 and five-day cume of $371,000 (the movie opened Wednesday).

Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, starring Don Cheadle, claimed the top theater average of the weekend after debuting to $122,751 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles for an average of $30,668 for Sony Pictures Classics.

And, after losing its slot at the Tribeca Film Fesival, the controversial documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe debuted at the Angelika Film Center in New York, grossing a solid $22,000. The anti-vaccination doc has plans to debut in select theaters in Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

April 2, 7:30 a.m. Updated.

April 3, 7:30 a.m. Updated.

April 4, 7:55 a.m. Updated with final numbers.