This past weekend, Warner Brothers’s much hyped and anticipated Justice League failed to live up to expectations at the box office. Although projections but the film’s domestic opening weekend ticket sales somewhere between $105 and $120 million, the film fell short, only pulling in $94 million. And that is a number that could ultimately lead to the studio losing anywhere between $50 and $100 million on the movie.
The reason why the studio is looking at such a markdown is simple – This was one expensive film. Between its initial production, one round of reshoots overseen by director Zack Snyder and then a second round overseen by Joss Whedon after Snyder had to leave the project for personal reasons, the price tag for Justice League has ballooned to the vicinity of $300 million. On top of that is an estimated $150 million additionally spent on advertising, raising the final bill to $450 million.
In our own reporting on this weekend’s disappointing box office numbers, we made a rough projection of approximately $470 million being where Justice League’s ticket receipts top off. This was strictly based on Justice League following the same arc that Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice did. But Forbes’s projections are a bit more aggressive, forecasting that the film would probably gross closer to $635 million world wide.
But once you start figuring in things like distribution fees and the percentage of box office that goes to exhibitors, as well as positives like ancillary revenue streams such as home video, the film still comes in at anywhere between $50 and $100 million in the red.
The Forbes piece has the complete breakdown of how their figures were arrived at, but if anyone doubts their conclusion, it should be noted that the author, Rob Cain, has a long career as a film producer and fiance consultant.
There are many reasons as to why the box office was as underwhelming as it was. We take a look at those factors here. But one thing is for certain. This is not good news for Warner Brothers, and there very likely will be some hard questions being asked about the future of the DC Extended Universe franchise going forward.