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On April 4, 2016 Warner brothers, Albert, Sam, Harry and Jack founded Warner Bros. Entertainment. Almost a century later, they have released over 7500 films, including multiple billion-dollar productions in the same year. They are currently a division of the media conglomerate, Time Warner. In the last 15 years, Warner Bros. has surpassed the billion-dollar marker for both domestic and international box office. This includes the past 9 years of reaching over $3 billion globally.
Warner Bros. is a division of Time Warner Cable. Time Warner is represented by TWX, and as of April 25, they are up over 15 points from their numbers taken in February 2016. Time Warner’s first quarterly report of 2016 will be released on May 4.
As of April 25, 2016, Warner Bros. Pictures has garnered 12.5% of the available market share. This percentage equates to over $400 million of gross profit, tracking sixteen total movies, including four released this year. Three of the four movies Warner Bros. have released this year (Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, How to Be Single and Barbershop: The Next Cut) collected the majority of the year’s total gross up to this point. However, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice has clearly been the company’s best investment as it compiled over $300 million in just one month of operation. This has lead the company to become the third highest earning distributor of market share and total gross.
Batman V. Superman is the follow up film to Zack Snyder’s 2013 superhero flick, Man of Steel. After seeing the success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, DC Comics knew that it wanted to expand and compete with its dynamic array of superhero figures. DC’s model to create their own cinematic universe compares to the already executed universe that Marvel has created. Just as Marvel had started with Iron Man, DC began their approach with Man of Steel. Batman V. Superman was the long awaited follow up that would launch DC into their next phase, a phase that looks all to familiar when you consider that Marvel’s third Avengers film will already be released as of next year. That’s why the reception that it received was so incredibly important because it potentially make or break DC’s long term plans for years to come. Batman V. Superman opened to an Easter weekend record of over $170 million across North America. That is the sixth best opening for a film in cinematic history.
In just its first week of release (Mar. 25 – 31), Batman V. Superman obtained over $200 million domestically and over $500 million internationally. Even with the movie receiving negative reviews and consistent criticism (28% on Rotten Tomatoes), it still only took Warner Bros. a week to surpass their budget of over $200 million. Much of this financial success can be attributed to the strategic and substantial marketing campaign that Warner Brothers executed. Warner Bros. has always made it a point to efficiently market its biggest movies as exhibited in the past with the Harry Potter series as well as the Dark Knight and Hangover trilogies. For this movie, Warner Bros. outlined a campaign that would consist of interactive and viral content, along with mass-produced advertising. In totally, roughly $150-160 million was spent on marketing Batman V. Superman, including about $30 million on TV spending alone.
The campaign started around the central villain of the movie, Lex Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenberg). Marketers wanted to make the campaign as interactive as possible, which is why they took the fictional character and put him in the real world. Luthor’s fictional company, LexCorp Industries, was given a fictional website and a twitter account was created for Luthor in order to allow the fans to legitimately interact with the character. Furthermore, Fortune did an interview with Eisenberg (as exhibited below) as Luthor to discuss his inheritance of the company along with his future plans.
The campaign continued its interactive nature through Snapchat filters, specially made behind the scenes exclusives broadcasted internationally and even provided live streaming content for this year’s NCAA March Madness.
Warner Bros. went on to partner with a total of 130 companies in order to market the movie, including Turkish Airlines, Facebook and Amazon. Turkish Airlines even paid for an elusive Super Bowl spot, as well as advertisements in over 40 international markets.
Along with making the campaign as interactive as possible, Warner Bros. certainly didn’t shy away from using its A-list actors as huge selling points in advertising the movie. Ben Affleck’s character Bruce Wayne was seen driving a Jeep Wrangler through Metropolis. Eisenberg and Affleck can be seen jetting around the world with Turkish Airlines. And of course, the stars all took to Late Night to promote the film, including The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and even Graham Norton (UK). Much of this was through a huge publicity tour that Affleck and Henry Cavill that started all the way in China.
Upcoming Releases/In Development
Warner Brothers certainly has no need to fret regarding a lack of upcoming content. Suicide Squad will be released this summer as a part of the DC universe, but instead, focusing on its villains. Other summer releases for Warner Bros. includes the comedies
Keanu and War Dogs, along with blockbuster The Legend of Tarzan and action flick, Central Intelligence. And that’s just in the next few months. Warner Brothers will close out their year with the release of the Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 2017 will see the release of the prequel Kong: Skull Island, Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk and of course, the all important Justice League Part One.
Warner Brothers Pictures has continued its tradition of producing some of the year’s biggest blockbusters in the year. Batman v. Superman is this year’s example of how far Warner Brothers is willing to go in order to see its coveted investments succeed, and succeed historically. Through an extensive marketing campaign, Batman V. Superman was able to obtain over $800 million after just one month of its release. The rest of 2016 will see the release of many more big budgeted films and with over $400 million in the books, the future looks promising for Warner Brothers Pictures.
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