'Justice League' disappoints in U.S. with $96 million opening

'Justice League' disappoints in U.S. with $96 million opening

The superhero team-up pulled in $94 million on opening weekend (adjusted down today from yesterday's estimates of $96 million), the lowest bow yet for a DCEU film and well below expectations (it was pegged at $110 million last week).

Perhaps because the DC Extended Universe had set a darker tone in Batman v Superman and even Suicide Squad, Justice League feels less like a smoothly crafted, massive-sized superhero film and more like a Frankenstein's Monster.

The six films that have cracked the $100 million opening mark this year are Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" at $174.8 million, Disney-Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" at $146.5 million, Warner-New Line's "It" at $123.4 million, Disney-Marvel's "Thor: Ragnarok" at $122.7 million, Sony-Marvel's "Spider-Man: Homecoming" at $117 million, and Warner-DC's "Wonder Woman" at $103.3 million.

In Justice League, fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

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Although the numbers are impressive, they fell short of Warner Bros. and other analyst's expectations which had tracked the film to open at $110 million in the U.S. and Canada alone but instead came in at only $96 million. Those close to production continually promised that Justice League as always meant to be lighter and more fun, and while the reception has been mixed on the film, Justice League is certainly a fun film. Stakes are particularly high for Warner Bros., which hasn't revealed the cost of "Justice League" - estimated to be as much as $300 million.

So Wonder Woman's A CinemaScore gave an indication the film might have strong legs, while Justice League's B+ CinemaScore indicates there may be a chance that word-of-mouth isn't as strong. Sometimes it's the marketing of a movie that can be blamed for poor box office, or the release date. Cinema Score now ranks the film as a B+ based on audience reactions, while Rotten Tomatoes has it at a 39% according to critics, and an 85% audience score. Despite its "rotten" rating, Warner Bros. has at long last churned out a superhero movie that isn't just gloomy and complicated.

There is some fun to be had with "Justice League", and that's a huge step in the right direction.

Three weeks in the movie is still playing on over 4,000 screens.

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Thor: Ragnarok came in at a close third place, taking in $21.8 million over the weekend in its now third week in theaters. It's a blow Warner Bros. was likely somewhat prepared for, but the movie that beat "Ragnarok" for second place was something WB didn't factor in and surprised nearly everyone in Hollywood.

Coming in second was a bit of a surprise hit: the Stephen Chbosky-directed Wonder, which brought in $27.1 million from just over 3,000 theaters across North America. That's a typical opening for a movie that doesn't really grab the teens. Friday, and the movie didn't pick up enough steam over the weekend to hit the $100 mill. benchmark.

Justice League has dramatically underperformed in the domestic market.

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