‘Batman v Superman’ strong-arms Thursday box office sales

Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman are shown in a scene from "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." (Photo credit: Warner Bros.)

Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman are shown in a scene from “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” (Photo credit: Warner Bros.)

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Studio estimates say “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has earned an impressive $27.7 million from its preview screenings.

Warner Bros. released estimates Friday saying the haul from the Thursday night showings includes $3.6 million from IMAX screens.

The film stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill as the dueling superheroes and cost a reported $250 million to produce. Analysts predict it could earn around $150 million this weekend despite largely negative reviews.

The $27.7 million debut is a record-breaker for the Easter weekend slot. “Furious 7” previously held that title with its $15.8 million launch last year.

But it’s still a far cry from the biggest Thursday night opening ever. That distinction goes to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which brought in $57 million on a Thursday night in December.

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