‘Batman v Superman’ Hits a Wall at China Box Office

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Superhero franchise movie “Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice” slumped at the Chinese box office as it entered its second week of release.

On Friday (April 1) the film earned $2.57 million (RMB16.7 million) and slipped from first place to fourth in the Chinese box office rankings. That score represents a drop of 85% compared with the previous Friday (March 25,) when it opened in China with $18.4 million as part of a globally coordinated day-and-date release.

“Batman v Superman” has seen its box office scores reduce on a daily basis through the week following its Saturday (March 26) peak of $22.3 million. With a host of new Chinese-language releases ahead of the local holiday — Tomb Sweeping Festival (Qingming) — that meant that exhibitors slashed the number of screens available to “Batman V Superman.”

The Friday chart was topped by “My Beloved Bodyguard,” (aka “The Bodyguard”,) a martial arts action drama directed by and starring Sammo Hung (“Martial Law”) and co-starring Andy Lau (“Infernal Affairs”) which earned $7.83 million (RMB50.9 million). Second place was “Chongqing Hotpot,” a noirish comedy-drama that last month opened the Hong Kong film festival, and which scored $5.24 million (RMB34.0 million.) Third was “Who Sleeps My Bro,” a youth drama which earned $3.41 million (RMB22.2 million).

“Batman v Superman” opened brightly with a $55.6 million first three days in China. Sources close to Warner Bros. told Variety earlier in the week that they “feel great about that number, as very few films open above $50 million.”

The source also cautioned against short term comparisons, as films in China open on different days of the week.

The slump for “Batman v Superman” comes at a time when China’s box office is growing at 50%. That growth is increasingly powered by local Chinese titles, rather than by Hollywood.

“Batman v Superman” was expected to benefit from being the biggest Hollywood superhero movie released in China since midway through last year. But with a tone than is darker than ideal for mainstream Chinese audiences the DC Comics adaptation earned modest reviews and weak word of mouth.

Its Sunday score was $14.8 million; Monday $4.58 million; Tuesday $4.02 million; Wednesday $3.47 million; Thursday $2.86 million. After eight days “Batman V Superman” stands on $74.9 million (RMB487 million), according to local data sources.

Local forecasts now point to a final score of less than $100 million (RMB650 million) for “Batman v Superman.” In 2015 the lesser known “Ant Man” earned RMB644 million, and “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” scored RMB1.47 billion. In 2014 “X-Men: Days of Future Past” scored RMB744 million. In 2013 “Iron Man 3” earned RMB768 million.


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  1. Jacques Strappe says:

    :”My Big Fat Batman vs Superman Wedding Has Fallen.” What a dumpster fire of superhero flick. Bloated, boring, pretentious schlock.

  2. Jackson Whole Foods says:

    Ah, more BVS hate from Variety. What more can anyone expect? It’s an hourly event. How tiresome you have become.

  3. Jim says:

    Movie was Awful. Gloomy, boring, hot mess. Eisenberg was horribly miscast.

  4. Ben says:

    Ticket sales probably slumped because they made a billion illegal pirated copies of the movie. I don’t understand why intellectual knowledge is shared with them when they have so little respect for copyright.

    • Chendaddy says:

      Right, but the piraters have a lot of respect for Marvel, which is why their major franchise movies last year all cleared 740 mil RMB. Also, they’re getting super lazy, which is why box office receipts grew by 50% in 2015. You got any more insights from 2002 that you want to share with us?

  5. Hal P. says:

    Well said, Martha. And while we’re on the subject, why DIDN’T they learn from MoS? It also had a major drop that did not warrant a sequel of any kind, let alone a 10 tentpole ediface.

    It was downright irresponsible to continue with Zack Snyder and his Frank Miller fetish. It is MORE irresponsible to even consider letting this madness continue. WB management have to protect the studio, or stockholders have to reevaluate WB management.

  6. Martha says:

    Warner deserve this, they should have learned his lesson from Man of Stell.
    A Zack Snyder movie with Gadot, Eisenberg, Mamoa?
    No, thank you!

  7. herrumph says:

    And ones wonders why people liked just as much a mess Force Awakens.

  8. kylevpirate says:

    Haha utterly pathetic for a Batman or Superman movie. Especially this time of age where China is the second biggest and soon to be the first market.

  9. Lance says:

    Utter trash….

  10. Carlo says:

    This seems to be another case of sour grapes reporting. Damn, people, the movie already has done a really good world box office and it “slumps” in China. What a bunch of morons.

    • therealeverton says:

      It’s just the facts. They report this news every week. If there’s an American film doing better than expected, they report it. Worse than expected, report it. No American film at all, they STILL report it!

    • Jeffrey Krupa says:

      Here we have the “professional critics” again, desperate to be proven right.
      Of course, the easiest way to do this is to be…ahem…”selective” with the facts you choose to present.

  11. How much BvS hate can one site produce? JFC

    • Thoom says:

      This isn’t an opinion piece. This article is merely reporting the actual box office numbers in China. Yesterday they actually did a slant piece in favor of BvS. It was a piece about people on Twitter living the movie. There are more good tweets than b bad about bvs. Meanwhile they didn’t point out that if the majority of the audience wasn’t impressed with the movie they wouldn’t bother tweeting about it. Only the people who love bvs would tweet about it.

    • therealeverton says:

      Reporting the box office facts isn’t hate.

  12. China is in love with the furries =^_^=.

    • EricJ says:

      Well, that’s true, foreign countries DO prefer CGI talking critters of no particular cultural ethnicity or nationality, that doesn’t require a lot of translation.
      As to why a violent vigilante, breaking the rules to establish his own law, didn’t so well in Beijing, I….can’t imagine.

      (Unless it’s because Asian countries don’t understand Western superheroes at ALL. And I’m not just talking DC, either; ever see those weird anime versions of the Marvel heroes?)

      • Chendaddy says:

        They don’t care here. What they see is a big spectacle, so they go watch that. You’ve got to lower your expectations for Chinese knowledge and recognition of American IP. The people in Shanghai, Beijing, and other first-tier Chinese cities probably know it, but those are four cities. The ones in second-tier cities might as well, but that’s just six cities. The vast majority of the Chinese box office is earned in third-tier, fourth-tier, and even smaller cities. That’s why any American company who wants to do business in China needs to familiarize itself with local stars like 邓超 and 吴亦凡, because every moviegoer in China knows who they are whereas a large number of third/fourth tier moviegoers couldn’t even recognize Ironman.

      • Andrew says:

        I live in an Asian country right now, South Korea and Marvel is HUGE here.

        Guess again. The Batman vs. Superman isn’t catching here because its not good.

      • Sterling Archer says:

        If Asian countries don’t understand Western superherors, then why did Avengers and Iron Man 3 do so well? This is no different than every other Zack Snyder film. A huge opening, and then a MASSIVE drop off. This film has had a 65% drop off in the US, and it will not have the legs of Guardians of the Galaxy or even to a lesser degree Ant-Man. It is simply not that good.

      • Thoom says:

        You know that doesn’t make sense right? If the Chinese didn’t know or like these characters, it wouldn’t have made 55 million last week there. Most likely, the majority didnt like it and word of mouth hurt it. And no repeat viewings.

      • Orlando says:

        @EricJ – I highly doubt that. If you don’t think they know who Batman and Superman is even in China your sadly mistaken.

      • elmeco4 says:

        Great point, not to mention Batman and Superman are basically America’s most popular and beloved heroes while China (correct me if I’m wrong) probably have no real idea on who these guys are or their legacy.

  13. JR says:

    Ignore the haters and enjoy the movie. Yes there are big chunks missing but the movie aims higher than most superhero flicks. I’m looking forward to seeing it again with some of the footage it is restored later on. Like Blade Runner and numerous other films, BvS will gain a stronger appreciation years from now.

  14. Wayne Trask says:

    seriously, save your money. the movie is as bad as the reviewers are saying.

  15. 85wzen says:

    I’m seeing it today which is unheard of for me not to have seen this first is odd… looking forward to it.

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