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‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Eyes Massive $140 Million Debut

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is shaping up to be a box office powerhouse.

Early tracking suggests that the comic book movie will open to at least $120 million on March 25. Tracking shows massive awareness of the film and audiences report definite interest and intent to see the movie. It should be helped by the fact that it opens on Easter weekend, and if audiences get behind the picture, it could climb as high as $140 million. It will launch across roughly 4,000 domestic locations, and will screen in Imax, Premium Large Format, 3D and 4DX venues, each of them carrying surcharges.

The film brings together some of DC Comics’ most iconic characters in Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). Warner Bros., the studio backing the $250 million production, is hoping that the picture will kick off a new string of interconnected superhero sagas. It follows “Batman v Superman” with a super-villains mash-up, “Suicide Squad,” this summer and a “Justice League” adventure next year. Going forward, the studio hopes to release roughly two comic book movies a year, including films centered on the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg.

Warner Bros. is planning a massive global roll-out for the film. It will debut simultaneously across 30,000 screens in nearly every major foreign territory, including China, the world’s second largest movie market. Other top locations include the United Kingdom, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Japan. It should pull in $200 million overseas, giving the film more than $300 million in global grosses.

Tickets for “Batman v Superman” went on sale Monday. The top domestic opening for a March release is “The Hunger Games,” which bowed to $152.5 million in 2012.

Warner Bros. could use a blockbuster hit. With “Harry Potter” and “The Hobbit” finished, the studio is scrambling to find new franchises to replace the old. In addition to the DC Comics universe, it will return to Potter-world this fall with the spin-off “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Although there has been some concern that the sheer onslaught of movies featuring costumed heroes will lead to superhero fatigue, comic book movies continue to be one of the most popular genres. “Deadpool,” featuring a character that is far less widely known than Batman or Superman, opened to $132.4 million over President’s Day weekend, and expectations are also high for future Marvel films such as “Captain America: Civil War” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

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