Box office: God’s Not Dead 2 and Batman v Superman both perform below (their not-high-to-begin-with) expectations

Box office: God’s Not Dead 2 and Batman v Superman both perform below (their not-high-to-begin-with) expectations April 3, 2016

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It was a weekend of setbacks for “faith-based” films and superhero movies.

God’s Not Dead 2 grossed an estimated $8.1 million between Thursday and Sunday nights — which is impressive for a film that cost only $5 million or so to produce, but disappointing for the sequel to one of the biggest evangelical hits of all time.

The first God’s Not Dead opened to $9.2 million and an $11,817 per-screen average on 780 screens two years ago. The sequel made less money despite playing on roughly three times as many screens (2,419), and it averaged only $3,350 per theatre.

This is at least the second time this year that a “faith-based” film opened well behind expectations. The Young Messiah was expected to earn $7-8 million in its first weekend, and instead made less than half that, i.e. $3.3 million. Similarly, God’s Not Dead 2 was expected to gross $10-12 million this weekend, but didn’t.

The other big letdown this week was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which held on to the top spot but — thanks to savage reviews and bad word-of-mouth — plummeted to $52.4 million, for a $261.5 million domestic gross-to-date.

That represents a fall of 68.4% from last week’s opening of $166 million. It is also significantly less than the $66 million the film was expected to make.

To put this in some perspective: Batman v Superman had the biggest opening of any Batman movie ever last week, but it has now fallen behind The Dark Knight ($313.8 million after two weekends) and The Dark Knight Rises ($287.1 million).

And while Batman v Superman had the seventh-best opening weekend of all time last week, it currently has only the 26th-best second weekend of all time.

In fact, the film doesn’t even have the best second weekend of this year. That honour goes to Deadpool, which dropped from $132.4 million to $56.5 million in February.

And if the weekend’s actual figures turn out to be lower than the estimates — as was the case last week — then Batman v Superman could also fall behind the second week of Zootopia, which dropped from $75.1 million to $51.3 million in March.

Batman v Superman also dropped 66.5% overseas this week.

The film has earned $421.4 million overseas and $682.9 million worldwide, which is nothing to sneeze at — but the film cost at least $250 million to produce and the studio was clearly hoping that this would be another billion-dollar grosser like the last two Dark Knight movies, the two Avengers movies and Iron Man 3.

As it stands right now, though, the film might not get particularly close to that.

Meanwhile, in other box-office news…

Zootopia stayed in second place this week and earned another $20 million to bring its domestic total up to $275.9 million after five weeks. Zootopia is now the 12th-highest-grossing animated film ever in North America, and it pulled ahead of Deadpool this week to become the highest-grossing film of the year worldwide.

Miracles from Heaven grossed $7.6 million and ranked fifth in its third week, thereby raising its domestic total to $46.8 million. It is now the sixth-highest-grossing “faith-based” film ever in North America (see the charts below).

Deadpool earned $3.5 million and ranked tenth in its eighth week, thereby raising its domestic total to $355.1 million. The film has grossed $754.5 million worldwide, which now makes it the top-grossing X-Men movie worldwide (though Days of Future Past remains well ahead of it overseas and will likely stay well ahead of it).

Risen — which briefly returned to the top ten last week — tumbled down the chart to the #23 spot now that the Easter weekend has come and gone. It grossed $240,000, thereby raising its North American total to $36.5 million after seven weeks. Risen has earned another $5.8 million overseas for a global total of $42.4 million so far.

The Young Messiah grossed only $33,000 and ranked #40 in its fourth week. It has earned $6.4 million in North America and another $561,994 overseas.

Now for a bit of extra data on the “faith-based” films:

Miracles from Heaven had the fourth-best first weekend of any film in this genre and the fourth-best second weekend, and now it has the fifth-best third weekend:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $32.1 million
  • 2014 — Heaven Is for Real — $8.6 million
  • 2015 — War Room — $7.8 million
  • 2014 — God’s Not Dead — $7.8 million
  • 2016 — Miracles from Heaven — $7.6 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $5.5 million
  • 2011 — Soul Surfer — $5.4 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $4.7 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $3.9 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $3.9 million

Miracles from Heaven now ranks sixth among “faith-based” films domestically:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  • 2014 — Heaven Is for Real — $91.4 million
  • 2015 — War Room — $67.8 million
  • 2014 — God’s Not Dead — $60.8 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  • 2016 — Miracles from Heaven — $46.8 million
  • 2011 — Soul Surfer — $43.9 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $36.5 million
  • 2011 — Courageous — $34.5 million

Meanwhile, Risen still ranks eighth among recent Bible-themed films:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $101.4 million
  • 2014 — Noah — $101.2 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $65 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $43.3 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $36.5 million
  • 1981 — History of the World, Part I — $31.7 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $30.1 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $25.6 million
  • 1979 — Monty Python’s Life of Brian — $20 million
  • 1980 — Wholly Moses! — $14.2 million
  • 2006 — One Night with the King — $13.4 million
  • 1988 — The Last Temptation of Christ — $8.4 million
  • 2016 — The Young Messiah — $6.4 million
  • 1985 — King David — $5.1 million
  • 2003 — The Gospel of John — $4.1 million

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