Monday, February 11, 2013

Can Superman Save the Justice League Movie?

It's been a tough couple weeks for the Justice League movie:
At this point, the Man Of Steel is going to have to hit pretty big to keep the project going. Which got me thinking: Exactly what is the dollar target MoS needs to hit to be successful?
Doing a bit of research, I found out some interesting things (to me) about how movie companies and movie theaters split their revenue.

I had always heard it was based on a sort of sliding scale with the companies getting the lions share the first week and then getting less as each week progressed. Apparently, that has changed some - now movie companies negotiate a standard cut with the theater regardless of which week it is. Now theaters can get between 45% to 60% of the box office every week.


From an article on i09:

You can actually look at the securities filings for the big theater chains, to look at how much of their ticket revenues go back to the studios, points out Stone. So for example, the latest quarterly filing by Cinemark Holdings, shows that 54.5 percent of its ticket revenues went to the distributors. So as a ballpark figure, studios generally take in around 50-55 percent of U.S. box office money.

Also, apparently foreign box office is NOT very lucrative because the splits there are even worse.

According to the book The Hollywood Economist by Edward Jay Epstein, studios take in about 40 percent of the revenue from overseas release — and after expenses, they're lucky if they take in 15 percent of that number.

The article also says that while DVD sales used to be something studios could count on to help a movie break even, that has become less true starting in 2009 as DVD revenue has gotten weaker. The article suggests Netflix might be the reason for this - which would explain why Time Warner hates Netflix so much.

Taking all that in consideration, with a production budget of 225 million, lets say (using worse case percentages from above) Man of Steel will need $250 million domestic and $250 million global to be counted as a money maker.



Also, I think Man of Steel will need to make a good bit more than Superman Returns million in its first weekend ($55 million) to be counted as a success by Warner Bros. For comparison, Captain America had a production budget of $140 million and made $65 million in the opening weekend. (A target number I correctly predicted)

Man of Steel has a budget of $200 million, so I would suspect anything less than $80 million would be seen as a opening weekend failure.

With all that said, I think that the movie can make its money back overtime, but will be a opening weekend failure. I predict $75 million for the first weekend.

With all that said, I wouldn't hold my breath for the Justice League movie.

- Jim

10 comments:

Trey said...

Good analysis. You misparaphrase Millar. He didn't say Silver Age heroes are a bit dated, he said heroes created "75 years ago" are, which which isn't the Silver Age but the Golden Age.

JimShelley said...

@Trey - you are correct! Good catch.
I sort of agree with him on one level, but I don't think it has anything to do with how long ago the characters were created. Captain America is just as old and made to jump to modern movies fine. Batman too.

The real issue as I see it is that the DC characters, when they were recreated in the Silver Age didn't stray that much from their Golden Age versions personality wise in that the writers at the time didn't give them any personality traits. That's changed a little over the years, but there's no cavalier Tony Stark or tormented Ben Grimm in the Justice League. Attempts to goddess-up Wonder Woman like Thor never really stick.

I think that's the real issue.

MattComix said...

First of all, Mark Millars view of superheroes isn't worth the time it took me to type his name.

The problem as I see it is not that you can't get a good movie out of the Justice League but that in a universe where the Avengers got there first we're going to run into the same problem that held the Green Lantern back.

They're not asking themselves what makes these characters work, whats made them last this long, they're asking which one is the Tony Stark, which one is the Captain America, which one is the Black Widow? etc.

The question for them seems to be less how do we make a good Justice League movie than it is how can we get that Marvel money?

As for personalities I thought the Justice League animated series did a good job with the one exception being Superman which was really odd given that Timm did STAS.

The show went from having Superman being knocked off camera constantly to giving him this weird hair-trigger temper to the point where it's Batman that has to talk him down. ..which gets into the shows other problem, Bat-bias. If Superman was do-anything-guy in Super Friends, that role was totally Batman's in JL and JLU.

But I notice there is an odd double standard with modern superhero audiences. If Superman is too powerful, it's a crime. But if Batman is too powerful to the point where it feels like he read the script ahead of time, it's somehow ok.


JimShelley said...

@MattComix - Matt, I'd never thought about it, but you are abasolutely right about that whole Batman can solve any problem thing so many Batman fans have.

I also think that if they used some of the personality tweaks from the Justice League cartoon, that would be a big help. But even that cartoon knew enough to ditch Hal for John Stewart. You won't see that in the movie unfortunately.

Kid said...

Apart from Superman, Batman and possibly the Flash, none of the other heroes are really strong enough to appeal to a non-comics audience. They're strictly Z-list, and even Wonder Women's TV success was due more to the stunning looks of Lynda Carter than any inherent potential in the character. The idea of the Avengers movie excited me - the idea of a JLA one leaves me feeling underwhelmed.

Ama Zing said...

The JLA animated series was top notch and I've been saying this for years but DC needs to either stick to animated versions (which Marvel IMO really sucks at save for the 90s X-Men cartoons)(no really AEMH had the worst theme song/opening credits of any cartoon ever but maybe they'll redo it for the reboot) or take what made the animated versions so great and bring them to live action. Batman TAS is probably the best comic book related anything EVER. Also I agree that the animated series made a better choice in choosing Jon Stewart over Hal, I wish the new GL animated series had done the same and not gone so CGI which is what made the live action movie suck even more. Still, a JLA movie is the only way I'm going to see Wonder Woman on the big screen, so I need to keep on hoping.

You said there's no Ben or Tony, but there have been great JLA members over the years. The real problem is that for some reason Thor and Captain America didn't fail when they should have because WB was too focused on making Nolan's Batman (which I hated every f-ing minute of)instead of spreading the love around and launching a series of films with smaller budgets to umm "assemble" (gather?) the JLA but in actuality they should have done it the other way around - big JLA movie and then individual films for the main members because f-ck the Avengers. The only Avenger I want to see a movie for besides a better HULK is Black Panther and we know that's never going to happen.

JimShelley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JimShelley said...

@Kid - yeah, Lynda Carter's amazing beauty makes that show tolerable even today. ;)

JimShelley said...

Misspelled Lynda

JimShelley said...

@Ama Zing - I don't completely follow this part:

The real problem is that for some reason Thor and Captain America didn't fail when they should have because WB was too focused on making Nolan's Batman (which I hated every f-ing minute of)instead of spreading the love around and launching a series of films with smaller budgets to umm "assemble" (gather?) the JLA but in actuality they should have done it the other way around - big JLA movie and then individual films for the main members because f-ck the Avengers

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