Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Commercial and content impact generated by Batman vs. Superman for the film industry

Jonathan Blum

2016 promises to be a great year for filmgoers and especially for comic-book lovers, with Warner Bros. Pictures offering the blockbuster film “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” This has perhaps been one of the most anticipated movies, for not only fans of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, but also for those who wonder which of the two will prevail in this clash of titans.

The film, directed by Zack Snyder, had its world premier this past March 19 in Mexico City, grossing US$424.1 million in its first weekend alone, becoming the top global superhero film launch and the fourth highest grossing premier in history, behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, “Jurassic World” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”.

El director Zach Snyder y Ben Affleck en el disfraz de Batman durante el rodaje.
Director Zach Snyder and Ben Affleck in the Batman suit during shooting.

What has been the result of producing this film? According to reports, Batman vs. Superman had a 250 million dollar production budget, in addition to a hefty marketing campaign worth about 150 to 200 million.

The promotional campaign deployed by Warner and DC Comics where, mimicking the best boxing fight promotions in Las Vegas, they try to promote the clash between the two superheroes using the hashtag #WhoWillWin, setting the expectation among spectators regarding who will win, and subsequently naming a video game designed for Iphone and Android devices. They fed the expectation during several months and audiences responded with mass attendance to movie theaters around the world, thus justifying every dollar destined to the film’s successful campaign.

Production – in addition to having a great cast – included a wide range of brands that can be seen as the story develops. Samsung, Dodge, Jeep, Oakley, Ray Ban and even news giant CNN, which was responsible for informing citizens about the latest events in Gotham City and Metropolis; these were some of the large companies that promoted their brands and products with the expectation of generating great impact for their products.

Samsung screens were used by Bruce Wayne in the Bat-cave.
Samsung screens were used by Bruce Wayne in the Bat-cave.

Another commercial opportunity that comes from a superhero movie comes from toys. Mattel presented a new line of toys based on Batman vs. Superman. This latest launch includes 19 references inspired on the movie. On the other hand, LEGO has followed the same trend with its own version of the movie.

With the upcoming premiere, the movie activity in social networks was massive. It has been estimated that 727.2 million people have referred to the movie in the different networks, according to RelishMix. While its TV ads, according to iSpot.TV, have nearly 1.64 billion views and social network accounts exceed 4 million fans in Facebook and 500 thousand followers in Twitter.

Furthermore, its cast is greatly renowned in all networks, and it has accomplished its duty to promote the movie, starting with Gal Gadot, the actress that plays Wonder Woman, with 8.8 million followers in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram together. Ben Affleck has nearly 4 million followers, while Henry Cavill, with slightly over a million, have also contributed to the movie promotion. On the mean time, the material related to Batman vs. Superman with nearly 600 million visits on YouTube, 90.8 million video views on Facebook and 37 million likes. Estimates indicate that the Web page of the movie has gained 20 thousand fans per day, approaching 4 million.

A questioned clash of titans
According to information of “The Hollywood Reporter” portal, despite the fact that it reached USD 720 million collected globally, on its second week on theaters, the movie reduced its ticket office performance by 69% vis-à-vis the first week, collecting slightly over 52 million in such period, raising the flags among producers.

The movie is renowned as a production with good performers, but with a rather weak script, leading Warner to rethink various aspects, given its upcoming premiere of the so-called “DC Universe”, which includes productions like: “Wonder Woman”, “Aquaman”, “Flash” and the “League of Justice” among others. This, in order to meet the expectations of fans and to face its “archenemy” and competitor, Marvel, which seems to lead with blockbuster films, highly accepted by critics.

El elenco de la película durante el estreno mundial en la Ciudad de México
El elenco de la película durante el estreno mundial en la Ciudad de México