As we reported yesterday, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is set to break a couple of box-office records after opening globally day and date. It bowed to an estimated $170 million domestically and a total of $424 million globally - huge numbers to be sure.
But Warner Bros. is saying that the production costs of the film are a quarter of a billion dollars, which means it's likely more. Add onto that the marketing costs and you're talking probably in and around $400 - $500 million all in. That's a lot of cash, so what kind of business does 'Justice' need to do to turn a profit?
Well according to Peter Bart at Deadline, you're talking pretty close to a billion dollars; he estimates that it will likely break even in and around the $800 million mark, which is an insane number. But the studio will be looking at the film as a catalyst for a series that will ultimately create a new universe of heroes and anti-heroes - Suicide Squad drops in August, Wonder Woman is currently in production.
When you look at the most profitable films of 2015, a lot of them cost very little to make. Insidious 3 and Paper Towns are a couple that showed extremely strong returns on a relatively slight investment. The former pulling in a profit of about $44 million for the studio, which frankly, they'd snap the hand off of now for Bats v Supes.
We're not likely to see blockbuster budgets cut dramatically anytime soon, but Deadpool has turned the genre on its head. Off of a $59 million budget, the film is moving towards $800 million globally - and it's 'R' rated, which means this is mostly repeated business and word of mouth. It might just make Hollywood question often blind investment in admittedly marquee properties, when some innovative marketing and a strong script can do the majority of the work for them.
Warner also have Ben Affleck slated to direct a Batman movie at some point, but the Oscar-winning filmmaker might be a little hesitant now; he's worked hard to build his credibility back up and Zack Synder's film has taken a lot of critical hits. Affleck is by far the biggest name involved, so focus has shifted to him as the cast and director do the publicity rounds and the reviews are brought up. He's being forced to defend the film and that could get tiresome after a couple of outings as Batman.
Regardless, there's a Justice League movie about to kick off production with the same director, and a budget likely to be around the same if not more; while Suicide Squad will open in August after building solid buzz since the first trailer launch.
Negative reviews for films like this are often redundant, but as Deadpool proved, buzz and word of mouth can be imperative. DC and Warner Bros will be hoping the tides turn with 'Squad' and Wonder Wonder' otherwise it could be a rough few years.