Justice League Soars and Sinks Simultaneously

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Justice League

If you’re a top-flight team in college football, it’s not enough to just win. You’ve got to win by 50. If you don’t win pretty enough, you’re liable to sink in the standings.

The box office tourney is a little like that.

Justice League won and won easily this weekend. It earned an estimated $96 million—a dandy showing by almost any standard. Except by superhero standards, that is. With the studio expecting this DC meetup to clear at least $110 million, the $96 mil opening-weekend payout felt rather paltry.

Consider: Thor: Ragnarok collected $122.7 million its first weekend in theaters. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 banked $146.5 million, and Spider-Man: Homecoming scored $117 million. Why, even Wonder Woman, flying solo, earned $103.3 million during its opening frame, and that was without a bevy of other superheroes to sweeten the pot.

‘Course, consider this: According to Rotten Tomatoes, the worst reviewed movie of that above list was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 … at 82%. Justice League stands at 39%. Maybe quality counts. (Oh, and Zack Snyder, if you’re interested in some tips on how to make your future D.C. movies better, I’ve got you covered.)

Second-place Wonder earned less than a third of what Justice League did, but its makers are far happier about it. The sweet, poignant family film collected $27 million for its silver-medal finish.

Ragnarok, last week’s champ, slipped to third with $21.8 million, bringing its 2017 North American haul to $247.4 million. It’s also earned about $490.7 million overseas, giving it a truly Asgardian $738.1 million. If it’s better to be lucky than good, does this mean it’s better to be Loki than lucky? Hmmm.

Daddy’s Home 2 finished fourth with $14.8 million, while Murder on the Orient Express whistled in at fifth about $1 million behind. (It earned $13.8 million for those of you who, like me, are a bit math-impaired.)

The faith-based animated flick The Star finished just outside the top five with a $10 million opening weekend.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Elijah Aldrich 21 days ago
The problem Warner Bro's has is that it won't keep their grubby hands out of their superhero films. Of the four DCEU films to come out, only one(Wonder Woman) was the directors vision. All the other films were tampered with, especially Suicide Squad and Justice League. If anyone is to blame for the failings of the DCEU, it's WB and Joss Whedon, who hasn't made anything good since the first Avengers(besides directing a commercial for his favorite mass murderers, Planned Parenthood)
Zach Snyder, for all the hate he has gotten, is the best thing to happen to superhero films since Christopher Nolan. No one else understands comics or adaptations as much as he does in the industry. Not to say his films are anything close to clean or appropriate, but they always have deeper philosophical ideas and are full of religious themes that stick with you long after the credits role.
Anonymous 20 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

While I don't fully agree with your opinion on Zack Snyder (who IMO is just a smarter and flashier Michael Bay), I definitely agree with you about Warner Bros.

Is it coincidental that Warner Bros started to go downhill when Kevin Tsujara (I'm probably misspelling that) became the new CEO?
Anonymous 21 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Justice League was, in my honest opinion, frustratingly awesome.

On the one hand, I had a blast watching a 2 hour live action episode of my favorite cartoon series (in fact, I'm willing to bet that the guy who played The Flash was basing his performance from The Animated JL show). I loved the opening with Batman, when Superman beat up the bad guy, and how they reimagined Aquaman.

The problem with the movie the one dimensional villain and some pretty bad CGI. Sure, they may had wanted to play this movie safe, but I wouldn't play it so safe to the point where the villain simply wants to destroy Earth.

I once heard someone once say, " If something can be great, then good is not enough." I guess the box office numbers for JL are evidence of that statement.
bobed 20 days ago
Isn't a one dimensional villain pretty much par for the course? We're talking about a superhero movie, after all.
bobed 21 days ago
Why am I not surprised that the only faith based movie currently out is failing?
Evan Weisensel 19 days ago
Because it's not particularly good and was by the the studio that has basically had flop after flop recently including the Emoji Movie? :D
bobed 21 days ago
Maybe people would be more responsive to the DCEU if it wasn't so terribly inconsistent. Marvel's Iron Man is the template for all their films - quippy, not too dark but not too light, fun, action packed, and so forth. It has been that way for 10 years, and so audiences know what to expect. Meanwhile the DCEU cannot decide what it wants to be, and Justice League reflects this perfectly. Many critics have commented that they don't know what tone the movie was trying for, and that's a reflection of the franchise as a whole. Can we finally write off the terrible DCEU as a failure and just make a Wonder Woman franchise? (From a purely financial standpoint, of course. From my personal standpoint, Wonder Woman is just like the rest of them. Stale and bland.)
bobed 21 days ago
Here's a perfect example of the DCEU not understanding its audience. Wonder Woman was successful with women and embraced as a role model for girls. Notably, a woman helmed it. Justice League, with the absence of a woman's touch (directed by two men), featured redesigned "sexy" outfits for Wonder Woman's female friends, and had several up skirt shots of her, and even featured a moment where a character falls on top of Wonder Woman in a sexual way. None of which was present in the character's stand alone movie. She is made into the generic token female on the team, a sex object to be ogled. Not very feminist at all.

Ask yourself. If there are girls and women seeing this movie because they liked Wonder Woman, do you honestly think they'll be recommending it to their friends? The DCEU doesn't understand what made their only good movie a success.