Faster than a speeding bullet and impervious to lousy reviews, the superhero face-off “Batman v Superman” rebounded from a smack down from critics to debut with a massive $170.1mln (Sh17.2 billion) in North America, the sixth best opening of all-time.
The stakes were high for the Warner Bros. release, which cost $250 million to make and about $150 million to market. But the studio’s bid to launch a DC Comics universe to rival Marvel’s empire was met with persistent PR pains and numerous changes in the release date.
It fought skepticism over Ben Affleck‘s casting as Batman and a barrage of bad reviews earlier in the week. Things were bad enough to spawn a ubiquitous viral video of “Sad Ben Affleck,” which took the actor’s response to the reviews and scored it with Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”
But the allure of seeing two of the most iconic superheroes battle it out was enough to set a record for the best pre-summer debut. “Batman v Superman” also grossed $254 million overseas, bringing its global total to $424.1 million for the weekend.
The mighty debut was met with a huge sigh of relief by Warner Bros. which invested its full marketing power in “Batman v Superman.” The film, directed by Zack Snyder, is the first of 10 DC Comics adaptations planned by the studio over the next five years. Along with pitting Henry Cavill’s Superman against Batman, it introduces a number of other heroes soon to get starring roles, including Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and the Flash (Ezra Miller).