It’s no secret that Warner Bros.’ DC films have been the subject of many a negative headline of late, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. The latest in a string of mostly hit and miss films, Justice League presented the long-awaited union of DC Comics’ most iconic characters, from Superman to Cyborg, and had all the makings of becoming the studio’s largest movie to date. The problems began with an underwhelming opening weekend in which Justice League brought in $93.8 million, around $10 Million less than its predecessor Wonder Woman, a solo superhero film, managed to muster. Following this, the $250 million movie couldn’t ultimately make much of the following weeks at the box office either.
As the franchise’s first Avengers-style superhero team-up film, JL had one big job to do and that was to bring together the main staples of the DCEU, including the previously established Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman characters, along with bringing in three new heroes Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg. For many, the film actually succeeded in this area and was, for the most part, the character-driven piece that the filmmakers had been promising. However, JL was plagued with some major issues upon release; things such as unfinished CGI work (The Cavill Stache), a pretty weak villain and a messy story. Ultimately, this meant the film didn’t have much repeat watchablility, in cinemas at least, which would have been exactly the boost the movie needed to climb to the $7/800 million mark.
As per Box Office Mojo, Justice League‘s final Domestic (U.S.) take officially places it as the lowest grossing DCEU title at $229 million, with Man of Steel, the film series’ first title, sat above it at $291 million.
An argument can be made that the DCEU‘s overall track record impacted the turn out for Justice League, Wonder Woman aside, with not all moviegoers being sold on Zack Snyder’s vision for a DC film world, made evident by the mixed (at best) reception his previous entries in the series Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It is perhaps also somewhat due to the fact that JL was released at the end of another year full of comic book movies and the wider public may have felt a little fatigued by bombardment of comic book films.
WB had stated that Justice League had a breakeven target of $600 million (worldwide), and with the movie ending its theatrical run with $657.9 million, the studio is now left with a relatively small $58 million, pocket change compared with what a big superhero team-up film like JL would be expected to bring.
At this point, the studio’s next scheduled DC film is Aquaman, slated for December this year, and hopefully the James Wan directed underwater tale can follow more in the footsteps of Wonder Woman in bringing the general audience back in to believing in the DCEU again.
Justice League is available for rental or purchase now