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‘Batman v Superman’ Shrugs Off Reviews, Heads for $180 Million Weekend in U.S.

A slew of downbeat reviews are having no impact on “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” with the Warner Bros. tentpole heading for a $180 million opening weekend in the U.S., early estimates showed Friday.

The Good Friday opening day number is likely to wind up between $78 million and $83 million at 4,242 sites — which translates to $165 million to $180 million for the weekend. The Friday number included an impressive $27.7 million from its Thursday night shows.

Should “Batman v Superman” come in at $180 million, it would be the fifth highest domestic opening weekend of all time. It’s already smashed the record for highest Thursday preshow for an Easter Weekend, set last year by “Furious 7” with $15.8 million on its way to a Good Friday launch of $67.4 million and a $147.2 million opening weekend.

The superhero match-up stars Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman and the film carries a whopping $250 million price tag. Recent estimates had placed the film at $150 million this weekend and more than $300 million globally when it rolls out across more than 60 major territories including China, the world’s second biggest market for film.

Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” set the Thursday night preview record on Dec. 17 with $57 million in the U.S. “The Force Awakens” easily beat the previous preview screening record of $43.5 million set by Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” in 2011.

“Batman v Superman” should surpass the 2012 record set by Jennifer Lawrence’s “The Hunger Games” for the best March domestic opening of all time — $152.5 million. That’s the 10th best domestic opening weekend.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” broke the record for top U.S. opening weekend with $248 million, smashing the mark set in June by “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million. Disney’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” is in the third spot at $207.4 million, followed by the studio’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” at $191 million.

“Batman v Superman” is coming into the market with minimal support from most critics, many of whom point to what they see as a jumbled story line as Warner Bros. attempts to set up an array of DC movies with new characters such as Wonder Woman and Aquaman. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is at 30%.

The weekend’s other opening, Universal’s counterprogrammer comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” took in $1.02 million at late night shows Thursday and is expected to finish Friday at around $8 million at 3,132 locations.

The comedy will likely wind up the weekend with $18 million to $20 million. The 2002 original was a phenomenon, grossing $368 million at the global box office.

The follow-up, which cost $18 million to produce, stars Nia Vardalos and was produced by Gold Circle Entertainment, HBO and Playtone.

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