Word of mouth might be kryptonite for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," which fell a steep 68 percent in its second weekend in theaters according to comScore estimates Sunday. The superhero pic earned an estimated $52.4 million over the weekend, easily besting the modest new openers like "God's Not Dead 2" and "Meet the Blacks."
The Zack Snyder movie cost a reported $250 million to produce and around $150 million to market, and has earned an estimated $261.5 million to date.
It's a critical launching point for a series of interconnected movies in the DC Comics Universe from Warner Bros. that will include this year's "Suicide Squad" and next year's "Wonder Woman" and two "Justice League" movies, which is why its early performance — and hold — are being so intensely scrutinized.
Superhero movies tend to be frontloaded with fans, and a near 60 percent fall is not uncommon for major blockbusters in weekend two.
"Sometimes the bigger they are the harder they fall," said Paul Dergarabedian, comScore's senior media analyst. "This is often what happens when you have films that rank in the top 10 debuts of all time."
Snyder's "Man of Steel," for instance, fell 64.6 percent in its second weekend, and even "The Dark Knight Rises" dropped a hefty 61.4 percent. Things aren't terribly different in the Marvel universe either. Disney's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" tumbled 59.4 percent and Fox's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" plunged 64.2 percent.
Also, the first week "Batman v Superman" haul included the $27.7 million from Thursday night preview showings, whereas the second weekend sum does not account for those. The Friday of Easter weekend is also a holiday for many, making a straight comparison not entirely equitable.
Still, 68 percent is on the steeper side for a second week fall. Last year's much derided "Fantastic Four" reboot fell 68.2 percent and the divisive "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" dropped 69 percent in 2009.
In weekend one, many wondered whether the poor reviews would kill the film out of the gates, but it ended up earning $166 million regardless.