By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES, April 3 (Variety.com) – “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” appears to be losing steam as it ends its second weekend in theaters.
The critically loathed superhero movie topped the box office, picking up $52.4 million. However, that represented a steep 68% fall from its $166 million debut. It suggests that “Batman v Superman” will be a front-loaded blockbuster along the lines of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” or “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” both of which earned a disproportionate share of their revenues in their initial weekends and suffered similar drop-offs.
Domestically, the Warner Bros. release has picked up a hefty $261.4 million. The major problem facing the studio is it doesn’t just need “Batman v Superman” to be a hit, it needs it to be so fervently embraced that fans will show up to see sequels and spin-offs for years to come. The film is intended to kick off an interconnected cinematic universe of DC Comics characters that Warner Bros. hopes will rival what Marvel has achieved with the Avengers films.
There wasn’t much in the way of competition. Most studios steered clear of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel’s on screen scuffle, preferring to hold their fire. The next big-budget studio release to hit theaters is Disney’s “The Jungle Book” on April 15. In the interim, Pure Flix tried to engage faith-based audiences with “God’s Not Dead 2,” a follow-up to the 2014 low-budget smash. The picture centers on a school teacher (Melissa Joan Hart, of “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” fame) who gets embroiled in a legal controversy after bringing up Jesus in class. The film wasn’t as warmly embraced as its predecessor, pulling in $8.1 million for a fourth place finish, and trailing the original’s $9.2 million launch, despite opening on 2,318 theaters, more than double the number of locations as the first “God’s Not Dead.”
The weekend’s other new release, Freestyle Releasing’s “Meet the Blacks,” fared even worse. A parody of the film “The Purge,” the film did a tepid $4.1 million after debuting on 1,011 screens.
Among holdovers, Disney’s “Zootopia” took second place, with roughly $19.8 million, pushing the animated hit’s domestic total to $ million. In its second weekend, Universal’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” showed some endurance, racking up $11.1 million, a slender 38% drop from its opening weekend. The romantic comedy sequel has earned $36.5 million after two weeks of release. Sony’s “Miracles From Heaven” rounded out the top five, grossing approximately $7.5 million and pushing its total to $46.8 million.
Among indie films, Bleecker Street expanded the drone thriller “Eye in the Sky” from 123 theaters to 1,029, picking up $4 million. The film has earned $6.1 million in four weeks of release. Sony Pictures Classics debuted the Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead” in four theaters, where it grossed $122,751, for a per screen average of $30,688.