BO Report: ‘Justice League’ falls short of the lofty heights expected of superhero adventures

20 November, 2017 by Don Groves

‘Justice League’. 

In a measure of just how brutal the economics of producing and releasing Hollywood tentpoles has become, pundits are already sneering at Justice League because the superhero adventure failed to crack $US100 million in its opening weekend in the US and $US200 million internationally.


That may not be an overly harsh assessment compared with the global debut of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and considering the reported $300 million production budget of the Warner Bros./DC production directed by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon (who took over after Snyder’s daughter died).

The estimated three day take of $96 million in the US is well below the projection of $110 million and a far cry from Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’s $166 million opening.

Internationally the movie starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher pulled in $185.5 million, 16 per cent below the previous edition, led by China’s $51.7 million.

In Australia the WB/Roadshow release rang up $8.1 million at 299 locations, trailing the predecessor’s $13 million first weekend. That propelled the top 20 titles’ takings to $15.7 million, up 32 per cent on the previous weekend, according to Numero.

Among the other new releases, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is shaping as a rare arthouse hit, Louis Theroux: Heroin Town did okay in a limited run as alternate content, while Borg vs McEnroe double-faulted.

Updating the Australian titles still in release: Ben Elton’s Three Summers (Transmission) has taken $656,000 after three weekends, Kriv Stenders’ The Go Betweens: Right Here (Umbrella) is at $110,000, Karina Holden’s Blue (Transmission) has $92,000 and Greg McLean’s Jungle (Umbrella) just $58,000 after its second weekend.

Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express ranked second, nabbing $2.7 million in its second outing at 306 cinemas, down 30 per cent. The Fox release with an ensemble cast including Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad and Derek Jacobi advanced to $8.1 million.

Disney’s Thor: Ragnarok collected $2 million at 302 locations, falling by 48 per cent, to reach $29.5 million. The superhero adventure has amassed more than $241 million after its third weekend in the US and $738 million worldwide.

Roadshow’s raunchy comedy Bad Moms 2 from writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore topped $8 million after earning $1 million in its third weekend at 290.

Peter and Michael Spierig’s Saw reboot Jigsaw is experiencing a fast burn-out, fetching just $217,000 in its third chapter at 216, scoring a modest $2.3 million for Studiocanal.

Sharmill Films’ Louis Theroux: Heroin Town, which follows the filmmaker as he visits a West Virginia backwoods town blighted by opiate abuse, grossed $177,000 on 37 screens.

Animated comedy/adventure My Little Pony: The Movie, which features the voices of Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth and Liev Schreiber, reached $1 million after making $150,000 in its third for Madman Entertainment.

Madman launched The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English film, a black comedy starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, at 20 screens, generating $125,000 and $141,000 including previews.

Sony’s Blade Runner 2049 climbed to a respectable but not outstanding $12.7 million after drumming up $112,000 in its seventh frame on 81.

Loving Vincent, co-directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, drew $103,000 in its third on 55, banking $565,000 for Madman.

Danish director Janus Metz’s Borg vs McEnroe, a biopic of 1980 Wimbledon final between tennis greats Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, which stars Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf, netted a piddling $30,000 on 33 screens for Vendetta Films.