By Ethan Wolff-Mann
March 28, 2016

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” holds a rating of 29% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, which equates to 1.5 stars. This is a movie that the majority of viewers did not like. Yet the bad feedback hasn’t hurt box office performance.

So far, the movie has pulled in over $170 million in North America, more than the rest of the current box office chart combined.

Clearly, no one was much deterred from seeing Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill duke it out in the DC Comics universe. But why? Schadenfreude? Because it has Ben Affleck?

The Hollywood Reporter has a few theories, starting the perfect timing for the release of “Batman v Superman,” placed in a March doldrum. “Deadpool” had cooled off and nobody felt like visiting “10 Cloverfield Lane” or “Zootopia” after their initial surges. So without much else on the marquee, it makes sense that a botched Bruce Springsteen song-of-a-movie would slaughter every other option at the box office.

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Additionally, the movie opened in North America and China simultaneously, allowing it to enjoy broader exposure. And while the negative chatter may have made people curious enough to go out and hate-watch, or put context to the “Sad Ben Affleck” meme that has racked up over 16 million views on YouTube, it probably didn’t take over social media in the same way in China to dissuade the masses.

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All of this adds up to the fact that the spectacle of “Batman v Superman” would just be something worth watching, no matter how bad—or potentially because it is so bad. Something this ridiculous is a spectacle, and as a box office expert told the Hollywood Reporter, having two incredibly iconic characters would make almost any film “critic-proof.”

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