03.2.2009

POLL: Watchmen… How will it do at the box office?

How will Watchmen do at the box office is a topic we’ve been debating over at THE UNIQUE GEEK and my friend EDP’s blog, I DON’T READ MY BLOG EITHER.  I think everyone agrees the movie will be great, but the questions are how will it be received by the general public and will it make any money.

How Will it be Received by the General Public?

My opinion is that geeks everywhere will praise this movie. I think intellectuals will praise the movie.   I think the general American public either won’t care/won’t see it, or won’t “get it” if they do watch it. Superhero movies are fairly common nowadays, so people are beginning to ignore them.  Here come the Watchmen, a superhero movie composed of superheroes that the general public has never heard of.  That could be a hindrance in getting the general public to come out for it.  Also, there is SO much merchandise out there for Watchmen right now. With all the marketing and merchandising, I’m afraid the general public is expecting the next Superman or Spider-Man. As we all know, it certainly won’t be that. Finally, I think the general public will struggle to reconcile the spandex outfits with the heavy subject matter.

How Much Money Will it Make at the Box Office?

I think Watchmen is likely to perform very well the first couple weeks, then quickly fall off.  Besides the factors I mentioned above, there is the issue that the film is rated “R”.  That will seriously restrict those that can see the movie legally.  I’m sure tons of under-17 kids will see it, but will they pay for Street Fighter and simply sneak into Watchmen?  That won’t help Watchmen’s profits.

For some perspective, here are some other comic book movie box office grosses.  For further information on superhero movie box office returns click here (worldwide gross) and click here (US gross).

  • Dark Knight – $997 million worldwide gross; $812 million profit
  • Spider-Man 3 – $890 million worldwide gross; $632 million profit
  • Iron Man – $571 million worldwide gross; $431 million profit
  • Fantastic Four – $330 million worldwide gross; $230 million profit
  • Daredevil – $179 million worldwide gross; $101 million profit
  • Hellboy II – $99 million worldwide gross; $14 million profit margin

Out of this list, I think Daredevil and Hellboy II are probably the most applicable films to compare to Watchmen.  I believe Hellboy II had more advertising than Watchmen has had, and yet it only made $99 million.  Watchmen does have the phenomenally-selling graphic novel right now to help them out.  So my guess it that Watchmen will gross somewhere around $150 million.

If I’m right, that might not be good news for Warner Brothers.  After all, we know they’ve reported that Watchmen cost over $100 million to make.   Typically those types of figures are understated, so they probably spent more.  Also, I don’t know what happened in that FOX lawsuit, but Warner Brothers may have to share some portion of their profits from Watchmen with FOX.

I honestly hope I’m wrong.  I want this movie to succeed.  I want it to make a gagillion dollars and sweep the Oscars… I just don’t think either is going to happen.

I will say that it’s a safe bet the DVD releases will be a HUGE success.  Geeks have proven time and again that we can make DVD sales go through the roof.  I also think this will be one of the more illegally downloaded movies.  Geeks are bad about that too.

What do you think?  Vote in the new poll here at ONCE UPON A GEEK.  How much do you think Watchmen will gross worldwide?

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9 Responses to “POLL: Watchmen… How will it do at the box office?”

  1. Sghoul Says:

    I think you need to take into account 300. While not as big a budget, it was based on a little known comic, rated R, and was huge.

    While I don’t think it will do as well as more well known superhero movies, Zack’s ability to akre fight scenes cool and the rumors of such perfect casting make me wonder if this doesn’t have more legs than us cynical geeks believe.

  2. Shag Says:

    Sghoul – I honestly hope you are correct. The fact that the graphic novel is selling so well (in major places like Target even) is encouraging.

    I typically disagree with everything you say, but today I hope you are right. :)

  3. N Stacey Says:

    I don’t know. What I heard was Alan Moore’s name does not appear anywhere in the credits because he wants to distance himself from it, hating all movie adaptations of comic books. Feels they never do the actual work the justice they deserve. I have heard mixed reviews that even though the characters are great it has a problem because it sticks to the comic books and that limits how they were able to tell the story, sort of binding it. Also the ending is not movie goer friendly.

  4. Cary Says:

    I was surprised to see it popping up in places like Target. The advertising just kicked in here locally, with numerous TV spots. I get the feeling this will be closer to Fantastic Four profit levels- respectable, but not earth-shattering. Not many of the public at large know the FF, the critical reviews weren’t that embracing, and the movie didn’t have much buzz at all. Watchmen is an R (limiting it’s target audience), but has much more hype, the critical reviews have been far better (around 80% on Rottentomatoes), and the sales of the source material *have* to be helpful.

  5. Debi Says:

    Shag! When are you guys going to see the movie? I’d love to tag along, and help boost those sales my tiny little bit! :-)

  6. Chris Says:

    I think its going to do fairly well. I work in retail, selling movies, video games and the like and the buzz I get on a daily basis is incredible. Granted, that’s just a small portion of people, but taken on a larger scale, people seem to be excited.

    Now will they get it or enjoy it? That I’m doubtful of.

  7. Butz Says:
  8. Butz Says:

    more analysis including ‘awareness’ figures – a key barometer used in tracking BO: http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/64-think-watchmen-will-be-2009s-comic-book-blockbuster/

  9. Ed Says:

    We’re almost two months past since the opening and here are the totals so far.
    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=watchmen.htm
    I don’t think it’s going to make $200 million world-wide.
    I sure did guess wrong. I projected in the $300 to $400 million world-wide range.

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