In a head to head battle for the eyes (and souls) of audiences everywhere, Batsy and S-man teamed up against film critics and the superhero duo has very clearly come out on top!

That's right, much to no one's surprise Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice took the box office this weekend, but that's hardly the half of it! While it was pretty clear that the first major superhero movie of the year would do well, the extent of that success was underestimated. Going into the weekend with a myriad of film critics and comic book snobs bashing the film's two main characters, the overall plot, and the continued storyline started in Man of Steel, some expected the film to take a hit in combined ticket sales. But Warner Bros.' newest installment in the DC franchise has officially set some bold new records.

In its opening weekend, Batman vs Superman has made $166 million domestically alone, making it the largest March opening since The Hunger Games, which set the record back in 2012 opening with $152.5 million domestic. On top of that, with a total of over $420 million worldwide, the film is now the 4th highest grossing film globally for an opening weekend. That's right, that means Batman vs Superman brought in another $254 million from international sales, which also makes it the 5th largest international opening weekend.  The film also took the cake for largest Easter opening (bumping Furious 7's opening total of $147.1 million record last year) and best opening weekend for a Film based on a DC Comics property (previously held by The Dark Knight Rises with $160.8 million).

Really the only record this film didn't break was largest opening weekend for any Warner Bros. film. While Monday morning projections had Dawn of Justice ending the weekend with a solid $170 million, by Monday afternoon when actuals came back, it was clear the film fell just short of that title leaving Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the reigning champ for that category given that it made $169.1 million domestically it's opening weekend. But let's be honest, having come within $3.1 million of that mark, who's scoffing at that? 

And Dawn of Justice wasn't the only film to do well this weekend. Universal's follow up sequel to their 2002 international smash hit, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 brought in just over $17.8 million, opening in 3,133 theatres, and making an average of $5,071 per theatre. Now, I know what you're thinking - $17.8 million is a heck of a lot less than $166 million. You're right, good job - you know basic mathematics - but the budget for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was a reported $18 million, so basically this film just made back its budget in its opening weekend (again, just domestically) and it's showing signs of going extremely strong.

The film currently has a CinemaScore of A- and made $8 million internationally over the weekend too. It's predicted that the film will crack $55 million once the theatre run is over given that films of this size, with these types of ratings from actual audiences tend to propel themselves to this level of success. While the film will most likely not achieve the success of its predecessor, Universal's counter-programming for the weekend, putting this as their front runner going up against Dawn of Justice and the powerhouse that is still Zootopia, was a brilliant move. With no other film going after its specific audience demographic, why not try to knock this one out of the park.

Speaking of Zootopia, even after being dethroned from the #1 spot on the box office list, it only got knocked down to spot #2, brining in another $24 million for Disney and Buena Vista. While its 3rd to 4th weekend percentage drop was nearly 36% (more than Frozen's drop for its respective weekends) the film is doing better in overall revenue than films such as Frozen, Kung Fu Panda, Cars, and Finding Nemo. The only film to be doing better in its 4th weekend that tops these five was Inside Out

But despite an overall successful weekend at the box office, not everyone had a glorious weekend. Films like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, starring the genius of comedy, Tina Fey, continued to struggle. In its fourth weekend of release the film made less than $1 million in sales, dropped below a 1,000 theatres showing the film (losing 60% of its venues from last weekend!) and is still a solid $13.6 million from making back its $35 million budget. Unfortunately, it looks like this Paramount comedy might be getting taken off the front lines sooner rather than later. 

All in all this was the best 13th weekend for movies EVER. Dawn of Justice is surely to thank for this, and while projections for the super heavy hitter is to fall nearly 55-70% between this and next weekend, it will be very curious to see just where the film lands. No one expected the film to do so well this weekend with such aggressive critiques coming against it, but the initial response from audiences seems to show they might not care, or even that films with inherent audience bases can do as they want. Which is an interesting place we find ourselves. 

Looking ahead to next weekend with God's Not Dead 2 leading the pack of new releases, I'm willing to bet that Dawn of Justice will still come out on top for a second weekend in a row. Whether God's Not Dead will take spot #2 and bump Zootopia down to #3 is less certain. Zootopia will most likely take another 30-40% decline in weekend sales, but that could still land it at about $16 million, which is where I'm predicting God's Not Dead 2 will land. Time will tell, and until then, grab a friend, some popcorn, and go watch some cinema!

-Matthew Miller

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