Whether you’re a comic-book fan, an avid movie watcher, or literally anyone who isn’t living under a rock, you’re aware by now that ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is out in theaters. Some critics have have been unimpressed. Others have torn this movie apart. A few, dare I say, even enjoyed it. No matter the debate about the movie’s quality. One thing that cannot be debated is the high level of amazing marketing that went into its promotion.
Batman v Superman – The Numbers
‘Batman V Superman’ is currently nearing 800 million USD in the box office worldwide, and with an expected end of $900 million. The film has grossed more than other beloved superhero movies, such as Deadpool ($754.8 million and rising) and Guardians of the Galaxy ($773.3 million). While this seems like a lot of money, ‘Batman v Superman’ is one of the most expensive films ever made. According to a report on Bloomberg, the movie along with all its merchandise is set to profit $278 million, which is less than was profited from Man of Steel ($300 million).
Finding positive reviews is not an easy task here. Christopher Orr, movie critic for The Atlantic, said that “‘Batman v Superman’ is a tiresome, ill-tempered film, and one too lazy even to earn its dismal outlook.” Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal didn’t have anything positive to say about the film either. As he put it, the movie was “Underdeveloped, overlong and stupendously dispiriting.” A slightly positive review came from Sean O’Connell from Cinemablend, who said it was “An improvement over Man of Steel, and a much better Batman movie than it is a Superman film. The highlights far outweigh the issues, and DC now has a base on which it can build its empire.”
The film scored a sad 28% on Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ while receiving an audience score of 69% (with almost 200,000 user ratings).
No one would have cared if this movie had been a flop (with exception to the die hard comic-book fans), if it hadn’t been for the huge viral marketing campaign surrounding the film, which started over 18 months ago. Warner Brothers and DC went all out in their interactive campaigns, including creating a fake business Lexcorp.io and launching a Twitter account for Lex Luthor as well. The so-called ‘Lex Luthor’ had faux interviews with Wired Magazine and Fortune. Lexcorp even sponsored free WiFi at New York’s Comic Con. If that’s not enough to bring the DC world to life, Turkish Airlines created a commercial publishing their new flight route to Gotham city.
Reportedly, there was over $150 million showered into marketing efforts worldwide to garner interest for the film. ‘Batman v Superman’ logos were visible everywhere from Dr Pepper cans to custom made General Mills cereal. Mattel, Lego and others have teamed up with DC and Warner Brothers to create action figures, puzzles and other merchandise.
A Whole New World of Profits
What’s important to understand about this film is that it laid important groundwork for the DC Cinematic Universe. DC has announced a whole bunch of new movies to be released up until 2020 including Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and two Justice League movies, not to even mention the just announced Batman project with Ben Affleck. The marketing team for ‘Batman v Superman’ has created a precedent for future DC films, and in that sense the movie was a success.
The bottom line is that with good marketing, fans came out to see the film despite what critics had to say. DC is going to be seeing the fruits of its labors in the years to come with the release of its superhero movies all the way until 2020.