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Will Batman v Superman Be the Billion-Dollar Blockbuster Warner Bros. Needs?

To shake off its malaise, Warner tries a forced marriage of DC superheroes.

Three days before its March 25 opening, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was met with some harsh early reviews. The critics weren’t kind to the Caped Crusader (Ben Affleck), the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill), or director Zack Snyder. One saved his venom for an unseen villain, the studio that made the film, Warner Bros. The movie is “a sleek, stylish commercial by a studio desperate to birth a new cash cow post-Harry Potter,” wrote the Miami Herald’s film critic.

For Warner, more is riding on the movie than on any other single release this year. It’s important not only for the money it could pull in, but also because it could be a steppingstone to cultivate a dedicated audience for future films from its DC Comics franchise. “Success is giving the fans an experience that’s so enjoyable and entertaining for them that we deepen their commitment to DC as a whole, and so the movies keep growing,’’ says Greg Silverman, a co-head of Warner’s film studio.