JUSTICE LEAGUE Debuts At Top Of Home Sales Chart, Ousting THOR: RAGNAROK
I’ve been saying for ages that the final verdict on how Warner Bros. views, digests, and moves on from what happened with Justice League will come in the form of the film’s home sales. Internal sources have relayed this idea to me, and it makes perfect sense. The film is right on the cusp of turning a profit, and a healthy showing in the blu-ray and DVD market would put it over the top. Now, according to a new report, it looks like the new regime at DC Entertainment can breathe a sigh of relief as they pivot and prepare the next slate of the cinematic DC Universe.
According to Variety, Justice League has debuted to robust figures and has claimed the top spot in both the Blu Ray and DVD categories. Citing NPD Videoscan, they state that Justice League knocked out Thor: Ragnarok, which had been the reigning champ.
This is nothing new, of course. DC Films have been known to perform quite nicely on the home market. Every DCU film to date- Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman– has debuted at #1. But in the case of Justice League, it’s uniquely important.
The film was the first full-on box office misfire for WB/DC, garnering the lowest opening weekend of the five DCU titles, and then- unsurprisingly- finishing at the bottom in terms of final gross.
So while previous DCU films got to look at their home sales as “bonus money,” for Justice League it’s the difference between turning a profit or posting a loss.
In my conversations with WB sources, they’ve always stated that the home sales were going to be hugely important and vital. Strong sales would give the new regime of Toby Emmerich and Walter Hamada the shot in the arm that they need to move forward with confidence as they look to push the franchise in new and exciting directions; Weak sales would lead to a far more conservative approach and a much more timid outlook on how to pivot the franchise.
As such, they still have aces up their sleeves. With a mountain of unseen footage sitting in their archives, they could wait for this first wave to sell through and then- in a few months- release a special extended cut that would drive home sales into the stratosphere. As I’ve reported in the past, that’s something they’re interested in doing- as well as special packages like a Superman Trilogy set that features MOS, BvS, and JL with additional footage.
With Justice League debuting strongly, this bodes well for folks looking to the future.
There’s one group of fans who this will hurt, though, and that’s the folks waiting anxiously for the release of the Snyder Cut of the film. Simply put, if audiences continue to gobble up the theatrical cut at the rate they currently are on blu-ray/DVD, then that would be the final nail in the coffin for releasing a totally altered cut of the film. It’s something the studio could’ve considered if the theatrical cut was being shunned on the home market, but that’s simply not the case. And unlike the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman, which was just an extended version of the same movie (and is pretty darn good, might I add!), the Snyder Cut is a radically different film entirely, so all it would do is confuse matters.
I still think they’d be wise to release it one day, years from now, as a Special Collector’s Edition– similar to what would eventually happen with Blade Runner, where hardcore fans could enjoy some radically different versions of a film that wasn’t fully appreciated in its time.