Let's give a little context to the already much-talked-about $55 million number for Watchmen.
  • It's the twelfth highest opening weekend gross for a comic book film.
  • It's the sixth highest opening weekend gross for an R-rated film.
  • Zack Snyder's 300 grossed $15 million more when it opened around the same time two years ago.
On the basis of that, it's been decreed that Watchmen has underperformed. I'm not so sure. I think comic book geeks and other well-read folks who revere the graphic novel -- and rightfully so -- forget that Watchmen is not a brand name in the world at large. And it's 163 minutes long. And it's rated R (and I've heard some anecdotal evidence that some theaters were going out of their way to exclude the underage and unaccompanied). So we're not exactly talking about Spider-Man 3, here.

That said, Watchmen did take a fairly massive Friday-to-Saturday-to-Sunday tumble, which is admittedly worrisome. And having seen the film I'm pretty confident that word of mouth will not carry it along. Not because it's bad, necessarily, but because it's not particularly "crowd-pleasing," and rather inaccessible to the uninitiated. So there's good news and bad news. People are worried that since a good chunk of the audience for Watchmen consists of fans of the novel, who presumably all went this weekend, the film will sink quickly at the box office. But that cuts both ways, since those people are also likely to buy the animated DVD tie-in, and the eventual director's cut. I don't think Warners will take a big hit on Watchmen.