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Does 'Man Of Steel' Need To Make $1 Billion To Be A Success?

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 7, 2013 at 1:30PM

In case you've been living in a cave, you probably already know that one week from today, "Man Of Steel" will be flying into theaters. Warner Bros. has been going into overdrive promoting the movie, with 13 TV spots and 4 clips to date, and while the final trailer dropped yesterday, there is likely much more to come over the next seven days. It's easy to understand why WB are pulling out all the stops -- with Batman's cowl retired for now, and nothing else on the DC docket, they need "Man Of Steel" to not only revitalize this lucrative franchise, but also to open the gateway to "Justice League." But what will be the metric of success? How much money will this have to make for Warner Bros. to feel comfortable?
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Man Of Steel

In case you've been living in a cave, you probably already know that one week from today, "Man Of Steel" will be flying into theaters. Warner Bros. has been going into overdrive promoting the movie, with 13 TV spots and 4 clips to date, and while the final trailer dropped yesterday, there is likely much more to come over the next seven days. It's easy to understand why WB are pulling out all the stops -- with Batman's cowl retired for now, and nothing else on the DC docket, they need "Man Of Steel" to not only revitalize this lucrative franchise, but also to open the gateway to "Justice League." But what will be the metric of success? How much money will this have to make for Warner Bros. to feel comfortable?

Well, about $1 billion dollars. That's according to Variety, who have pegged the budget at $225 million with another $150 million added on for marketing, putting the price tag at a whopping $375 million. Some perspective: at the time, "Superman Returns" cost roughly in the same ballpark (depending who you ask, costs ranged from $230 million to $270 million, likely not including promotion) and with a worldwide haul of "only" $391 million, it's easy to see why WB canned plans for a sequel and went back to the drawing board.

So, for "Man Of Steel," Warner Bros. essentially wants "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3" sized numbers, and are looking at their own successes such as the $1 billion hauls of "The Dark Knight" films and the  $1.3 billion tally for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ as a measuring stick. But is that expectation realistic?

On the one hand, WB might want to remember that "Batman Begins" only made $374 million worldwide when it first landed. And moreover, Marvel only got to their billion dollar heights after years of building up the brand. But then again, Warner Bros. has been savvy in pushing the Christopher Nolan/"The Dark Knight" connection in all the advertising, helping to tell audiences that this is essentially following the same grittier/realistic template of those movies. And since audiences lined up in droves for those...

And also, WB is not making the same mistakes they did on Bryan Singer's film. “It had a lot of emotion, but not enough action sequences,” honcho Jeff Robinov told the trade. And there will be none of Nolan's standalone shenanigans either.

"The plan is for a universe that will allow for other DC characters,” he added. “Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy was set very much in an isolated universe and done as a stand-alone without other superheroes.” Apparently, WB wants a "Justice League" movie within the next four years, and that will only depend on whether the inevitable "Man Of Steel" sequel goes before or after.

As we said, there is a lot riding on this movie -- including the future of other movies. Can "Man Of Steel" be the next billion dollar flick of 2013? Are WB aiming too high? Let us know your thoughts below.

This article is related to: Man Of Steel, Justice League


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