Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made its much anticipated debut this previous weekend to mixed reviews. Mixed in the way that people either didn’t like it or outright hated it. As of this writing it sits at awesomely terrible 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. Just in case there’s any confusion, a low percentage is bad.
So why is it doing so well at the box office?
The superhero face-off brought in over $400 million worldwide and $170 million domestically despite being panned by critics and fans alike. It set the record for biggest March opening weekend and the biggest opening weekend in Warner Brothers history.
Now we live in the 21st century so news of BvS is everywhere. People love Batman and people love Superman so the coverage was widespread. It was terrible and people knew it. The critics were just brutal to the movie as were the movie websites. If you have any kind of interest in these things you knew that this movie was being bombed. If you have Facebook or Twitter you were probably also made aware of these facts. Probably on Instagram too but I’m old and don’t have one of those.
That all circles back around to the question of why BvS is doing so well. There has been a drop-off in the money flow since opening night but it absolutely decimated everything else. Shouldn’t something that’s apparently this terrible not be making money? Pre-screenings weren’t producing good reviews so we knew ahead of time. There hasn’t even been that commercial that we always see where quotes about how good the movie is are spliced into the trailers. That’s pretty unprecedented.
The 2013 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was in a pretty similar situation. Despite some character critiques we were all pretty excited to see this movie. Spoiler alert: it was not good. It currently sits at a 21% on Rotten Tomatoes. So a completely similar situation but Ninja Turtles made barely more in the entirety of its theatrical run with 191.2 million than BvS did in one weekend. Why the difference?
I couldn’t figure it out at all until I realized it was affecting me too. I wanted to go see it because there was absolutely no way that it could be that bad, right? Those people were just being dramatic and it couldn’t be as awful as they said. The fact that the average user rating was hovering between 6 and 7 out of 10 was just people being harsh, right?
In fact, I think it might be the opposite. Now I haven’t actually seen the movie yet but everyone I know went into the movie wanting to like it because come on, it’s Batman and Superman! Nobody wanted this movie to be terrible but it was anyway. Because everyone was so excited they didn’t want to admit they were wrong. The ratings they gave were out of pity. They weren’t in the mood for a movie or they were tired or something. Anything. There had to be something redeeming about it. Nobody wants to be mean to Batman.
So people keep going to see it. They don’t just want to see it now, they have to see it. They need to know for themselves if it’s actually as bad as everyone is telling them that it is.
I know that’s why I’m going to see it.