The critically reviled Batman vs. Superman opened in March of last year with $160 million. Suicide Squad opened with $133 million. Wonder Woman opened with $103 million, and more recently, Thor: Ragnarok opened with $122 million. Comparatively speaking, the $96 million opening of Justice League — a movie that’s been a decade in the making and that cost upwards of $300 million to produce — is hugely disappointing. It’s going to inspire dozens of think pieces about whether DC should even continue, and dozens more about how the DCEU needs to change in order to rebound from this.
However, here’s the silver lining: $96 million is still $96 million. It’s still the eighth biggest opening of the weekend of 2017, and I feel fairly confident that Justice League will eventually match the $330 domestic box-office gross of Batman v. Superman. Justice League, which is faring marginally better than Batman v. Superman with critics (39 percent compared to 27 percent) and performing better with audiences, as well (a B+ Cinemascore compared to the B of Batman v. Superman). Plus 85 percent of moviegoers grade the film “positively.” Word of mouth should keep Justice League healthy in the coming weeks.
The biggest advantage Justice League has, however, is nearly a month of runway. Maybe Justice League fans didn’t run out and see this one on opening weekend — the sense of urgency wasn’t there for this one. But there’s a five-day Thanksgiving weekend approaching, where blockbuster films rarely lose much of their hold. But next Monday, Justice League will likely have crossed the $200 million mark with only Pixar’s family-friend Coco as competition. After that, there are no major films standing in between Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15th. In other words, Justice League still has Thanksgiving weekend and two more weekends mostly to itself, and my guess is that moviegoers will eventually come around to it. Justice League may not have had monstrous opening weekend numbers, but studios anticipated that it would and cleared the decks accordingly.