As we've been left with nothing to do for March (thanks Hollywood!), I figured I'd hazard a guess on Watchmen's box office chances.
Zack Snyder's other "vision" 300) made $456 million worldwide back in March of 2007.
The new "comic movie" bar is Dark Knight's billion dollars.
300 opened at $71 million domestically in March.
Watchmen is 35 minutes longer, which could theoretically cut one running time per screen.
Neither 300 nor Watchmen had to open against any competition.
I'd say Watchmen has more initial buzz than 300, partly due to the fan base and partly due to 23 years (versus nine years for 300) of existence.
Watchmen will make more money than 300 on its opening weekend. However, it will make less worldwide and less overall. The reason? The darkness of the film. You'll notice that The Dark Knight (considered less a "superhero" movie than a "heavy" film) made less money in the foreign markets than it did domestically. Another reason will be the accessibility factor. 300 was a glossy visual treat. Watchmen might end up being a little more of a head-scratcher (note: I haven't screened it yet) and, thus, would fade faster.
Watchmen Opening Weekend: $88.5 million
Watchmen Total Domestic Box Office: $190 million
Watchmen Total Foreign Box Office: $160 million
Total = $350 million
The math tells me there is more wiggle room for Watchmen to hit under my $88.5m on its opening weekend than over it. I'd say the film bottoms out around $60m and tops out around $95m. So, I'm clearly being bullish.
Even if it hits these numbers it still won't beat the R-rated opening weekend record (The Matrix: Reloaded, $91.7m). It also won't be on the level of the Spider-Man franchise or last year's Iron Man. It actually would end up looking much like Batman Begins overall, though it will open much higher and it's rated R.
I wasn't able to find great numbers for how many copies the graphic novel has sold, but I recently saw 1,000,000 copies were printed in 2008, which means five million total sold in 23 years isn't completely crazy. Since they only need to sell 11 million tickets to hit my number I'm comfortable with the equation.
What do you think?