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‘Justice League’ aims for $1 billion after a rocky year for DC movies

The release caps a choppy year, during which Warner retooled its DC comics strategy, modeled after the path Disney plotted for its multi-billion dollar Marvel superheroes series.

Fan websites breathlessly chronicled a steady drip of rumored cancellations, revised release dates and mixed messages from stars and filmmakers about which films would link up. Just this week, leading man Ben Affleck seemed to cast doubt about how long he’ll play Batman.

While there’s been much hand-wringing in the fan community over these reports, the typical movie-goer is more likely to take “Justice League” on its own merits, said Dergarabedian.

“The clarity of vision hasn’t been consistent, and I think that can be confusing to true fans,” he told CNBC. “But an average viewer says you’ve got Aquaman and Wonder Woman and all these great characters in one movie, and that seems fairly irresistible.”

The film is currently expected to earn $110-$120 million during its North American opening.

Those estimates should be closer to $135 million, argued Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co. “Justice League” dovetails with Thanksgiving weekend, and faces little competition until “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” premiers in mid-December, he noteed.

Bock also anticipated little blowback from Affleck’s links to Hollywood’s sexual harassment scandal. “Justice League” is somewhat inoculated because it will draw fans of the individual characters, as well as movie-goers eager to see Wonder Woman in action again, he said.

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