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Categories: Features

No matter the critical derision, this film was always going to be a hit.


In case you haven’t heard the news, a little film called Batman vs Superman came out last weekend. However, what you may not have heard, is that BvS sang to the tune of over $420,000,000 worldwide. Even in its own right a film making that much money in one weekend is remarkable, but let’s look at the bigger picture here. BvS from the get-go had some serious doubts over the plot and some even louder doubts over the casting. After the trailers were released, even the most loyal DC fans were ready to tear the film apart. Throw in DC’s spotty track record of producing quality comic book adaptations, a hefty $250,000,000 price tag and a serious critical bashing before the film was even released and all of a sudden, people were saying the words no one wants to hear: Box Office Bomb.

But somehow, someway, BvS has managed to overcome every obstacle to become a box office juggernaut – with no signs of slowing down. So how does BvS all of a sudden find itself in the driver’s seat? Well believe it or not, the success of BvS speaks volumes about the current state of film and us as the film going audience. But the main reason why is simply because…

1. There’s literally nothing else out worth seeing.

BvS opening weekend numbers

This is the box office chart for last weekend (US Domestic). Anything here jump out at you? No? Didn’t think so. Deadpool has been out for over a month now, so if you haven’t seen it yet you’re simply a chump. Zootopia (Zootropolis) has also been out for a while and whilst it has been very successful, the fatigue is starting to settle in. Everyone that was going to see it, has, and it will naturally fall down the charts over time. So what else is there for the moviegoing audience? The sequels that no one asked for (London Has Fallen, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2)? A Divergent Series installment that really should have stopped at Divergent?

BvS came into the marketplace going up against films that have either already been rejected by audiences or are simply coming to the end of their course. I’m not saying any of these films are bad (well maybe I am for Allegiant) but if you’re playing the game of finances, BvS has played the game well. Another thing that they have done well is…

2. The marketing has been spot on.

Marketing is simple in theory, but always tricky in execution. But much like Deadpool‘s marketing campaign, BvS found the right balance of fun, interactive and most importantly, informative marketing. After the hype of Deadpool died down, the BvS campaign found their opportunity to strike. Run-of-the-mill trailers and banner ads aside, the marketers allowed you to have a look inside the world of BvS with fresh and creative ways of engaging people. The TV spots have also been a home run, with the stars allowing themselves, and the heroes they portray, to let their guard down and have some fun with the film’s notoriety (see above). It is only a movie after all, right?

At the start of the video, Jimmy Kimmel touched on something that also played a big part in the film’s success…

3. People LOVE Batman


I love Batman. You love Batman. We all love Batman! Superman is obviously popular, but has really struggled to find his way on the big screen since the 70s. The last Superman film, Man of Steel, was received by audiences and critics alike with a big, resounding ‘okay’, but more importantly it didn’t make the profit that it was originally expected to. This film, however, with Batman now firmly involved, just proves that if Batman is involved, butts will be in seats. I’m not even just talking about this film. The Lego Movie just released the trailer for a Lego Batman spin-off and is unsurprisingly hotly anticipated. Gotham is a show that dances around the idea of Batman without ever actually showing Batman in action and its one of the most watched shows on TV today. If Batman is around, you better believe his legions of fans will be there too (you can throw me in that category as well).

However, possible the biggest reason this film has been a hit with fans is most likely because…

4. People don’t pay a whole lot of attention to movie critics anymore

Rotten Tomatoes

A critic-audience divide of 43%. Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Remember the time where film critics could sink the success of a film with just the power of their words? Well, that time has gone. It’s no one’s fault, really, just a casualty of the evolution of the digital age. All the critical bashing that was inflicted before the film was released fell on deaf ears, because these days EVERYONE is a critic. Not just about movies, but about everything! The average ordinary person can install an app or sign up to a website service and review literally anything and most people are happy to do it for free. There is a satisfying allure to throwing your opinion out into the world for everyone to see.

Some film critic services do still hold some weight. Rotten Tomatoes is still highly regarded as the ‘be all end all’ website for movie reviews, but even that website is just a mass collection of people’s opinions. Opinions of people who believe that every film needs to be Schindler’s List for it to be considered good. These (paid) critics can reach a general consensus, but really, in a time where you can access a large amount of information at just the touch of a button, the best thing that you can do is to see the film for yourself – then decide.

So is Batman v Superman a good film? That is still fiercely up for debate. But luckily, it’s being debated by people who have gone out to see the film for themselves and who are forming their own opinion.

Callum Nicholas

A freelance worker with a keen interest in film, music and the arts. You can also catch some of Callum's previous work at ratedcmedia.wordpress.com.

Posted on Apr 4, 2016

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