For years fans have imagined Justice League being a blockbuster of epic proportion - finally bringing together some of the most iconic heroes of all time together on the big screen. Sadly, that isn't the developing narrative for this film. It had rough development, production and editing periods, received primarily negative reviews, and now has found itself under-performing at the box office. Original estimates suggested that the film would make a big splash in its first three days, with estimates suggesting somewhere in the realm of $113-115, but, as you can see, things didn't work out that way. With a total of just $96 million, its the slowest starter among all DC Extended Universe titles.
While there are surely many factors that contribute to Justice League's not-so-hot performance, it's hard to not pin some of it on the buzz of both the project itself and the larger franchise. There is no question that Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman earned DC and Warner Bros. a hell of a lot of good will when it was released this past summer, but Justice League has sadly been a questionable entity for a while now - and not just because of the aforementioned behind-the-scenes issues/hurdles. Following Zack Snyder's divisive Man of Steel in 2013, neither Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice nor David Ayer's Suicide Squad got the response that was was desired when they came out in 2016, and there are surely many people who had those titles in mind when they were deciding whether or not they wanted Justice League to be a part of their weekend plans. And not only have the professional critics dinged it, but it also carries an average "B+" rating on CinemaScore (for comparison, Man of Steel got an "A-," Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice got a "B," Suicide Squad got a "B+," and Wonder Woman got an "A.")
The mention of CinemaScore is a perfect segue into the conversation about Stephen Chbosky's Wonder, which was Justice League's biggest competition in wide release this weekend. Obviously nobody expected it to open at number one, but the film nearly doubled what prognosticators thought the family drama was going to pull in over the last three days, and walked away with an impressive "A+" rating from audiences. The movie is based on popular source material, namely the novel of the same name by author R.J. Palacio, which already gave it a built in audience, but it also inspired critics to hail it as the best wide-release of the newcomers this week - highlighting its ability to succeed as a sweet drama that never gets too saccharine or cloying.
Both Justice League and Wonder both proved to be far too much competition for The Star - which entered theaters this weekend courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation. The Bible-inspired feature tells the story of the birth of Jesus from the perspective of a goofy donkey, and while it tried to both stir up some holiday spirit and attract the religious crowd, it looks like it managed to do neither. The movie was made for only $20 million, which means that it ultimately should be able to squeeze out a profit in the long run, but $10 million still isn't exactly a fantastic start.
JUSTICE LEAGUE SPOILER ALERT: Justice League End Credits Scenes - What Happens, And What They Mean
Speaking of holidays, next week we'll be jumping into Thanksgiving, which is always a big time for the movies (thanks to the fact that it is a perfect way to spend time with family and not say a single word, and then provides topic for shared discussion afterwards!) To help celebrate Turkey Day we will have the latest from Pixar, the animated Coco; the limited release of a serious Oscar contender in Joe Wright's Darkest Hour; and the expansion of the latest from Denzel Washington, Dan Gilroy's Roman J. Israel, Esq. Check back in next week to see how it all shakes out!