Every time we get a new DCEU movie that doesn’t do so well, I see a lot of comments about how James Gunn ruined the movie’s chances of making any money because he made an announcement about his and Peter Safran’s plan for the DCU back in January.
I’ll admit, the plan for a new DCU may have hurt the box office for movies like Shazam: Fury of the Gods, The Flash, and now Blue Beetle, but it’s not by much. It appears that many people don’t even know what’s going on with James Gunn, and Peter Safran’s DCU plans, and general audiences tuned out of the DCEU a while ago.
Man of Steel, Batman Vs Superman, and Suicide Squad were received with mixed feelings, and Wonder Woman was seemingly appreciated by most, but things started to get really sketchy when Justice League came out in 2017. According to thenumbers.com, Justice League made 655,945,209 with a production budget of 300,000,000 which is 2.2 times production budget. I’m no movie finance expert (or finance expert at all), but from what I’ve heard, a movie needs to make at least 2 times production budget to break even. Justice League made just above that, so it was possibly profitable, but not by much.
A Christmas Miracle
Aquaman came along in December of 2018, and managed to make over 1 billion dollars worldwide. It was 1,143,758,700 which was 7.1 times the production budget of 160,000,000. This was really surprising to me. I thought the movie was good, but in my opinion, not that good. All movies are subjective though, and I think that the Christmas time release helped Aquaman a lot. I must admit though, I don’t think that would have been enough alone to make the movie a success. With how well Aquaman did, it would seem that the DCEU could float along with a few financially mediocre films, but their next movie was actually a success as well.
Shazam came out in 2019, and it was a fun addition to the DCEU. It was a little generic, but it was a fun comedy superhero movie. The foster family aspect provided a nice, and unique twist to the regular type of superhero story. Not only was Shazam a good movie, it was also financially successful. The movie made 363,563,907 with a production budget of 85,000,000, so another great success. At this point, things were looking really good for the DCEU, but the overall direction was still up in the air after the disaster of Justice League. Among their own problems, comparisons to the MCU weren’t helping the DCEU as well.
The Emancipation Situation
Along came the Birds of Prey in 2020, and it was not well received overall. Some people like it, and that is good. There were some things I liked about it, but overall, it wasn’t not a very entertaining movie for me. Whether I liked it or not though, the Birds of Prey didn’t manage to draw in general audiences, however it wasn’t a horrible outcome. It came out in 2020, but it was out for just over a month before the theaters shut down due to the pandemic. The movie made 201,005,552 which was 2.5 times the 82,000,000 production budget. It wasn’t horrible, but it probably wasn’t where the studio wanted it to be.
Then James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad came out in the early days of theaters recovering from the pandemic, and while it was a great movie, it only made 167,097,737 with a budget of 185,000,000. The guy who was put in charge made a non profitable money, I know, but the movie was good, and James Gunn has an excellent track record at Marvel with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Also, it seems that the decision for James Gunn, and Peter Safran to be put in charge was based largely on the success of Peacemaker.
Peacemaker vs Black Adam
Peacemaker was a show, so it’s hard to say how much money it brought in, but I’ve heard the viewership was high. I still need to look into finding quality sources for analyzing the success of a show, but I’ve heard so much about the success of the Peacemaker show that I feel confident to say it is so.
After Peacemaker, the major movie star, Dwayne Johnson finally had his shot at the DCEU with Black Adam. Personally, I think the movie was good, but I didn’t particularly like his decision to veer away from the Black Adam character’s association with Shazam. Regardless of my thoughts, Black Adam made 391,261, 706 with a production budget of 200,000,000. I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t profitable, and it wasn’t very well received.
Black Adam did give us the promise of more Henry Cavill, but that was soon taken away. Perhaps if more people had gone out to support the Black Adam movie, we would have an announcement for a new Henry Cavill Superman or Justice League movie. That would have been nice, and honestly, they should have green lit another Henry Cavill Superman movie a few years ago, but the time for that is over. Now we have a new plan with a new leader, and a new Superman.
Hanging up the Cape for the DCEU
It wasn’t long after the disappointment of Black Adam that we found out that there would be a new DCU. I can’t say that I know the majority of people, but I know some people that are obsessed with movies, and some who are not. Some people who like superhero movies, and some who do not. Even some of the people that I know who like superhero movies didn’t even know that James Gunn was one of the new heads of DC Studios for a month, or so after it was announced. The general public will fill theaters to see an entertaining movie, but they don’t listen to, and read about every tidbit of information and commentary that super fans like I (and I assume you) will listen to and read about.
The point of all of this is to say that the general audience hasn’t cared about DC movies for a while. I believe the Youtuber John Campea has said something along those lines a few times, and since I disagreed with him about the multiverse in my last post, I wanted to say that I agree with him on this matter. Of course, I don’t speak for him, and I recommend you check out the John Campea show yourself on Youtube if you don’t already. Anyway, hopefully, I’ve typed the word John Campea enough on here that it will be a good keyword for this post.
When Shazam: Fury of the Gods ended up making 132,192,362 with a production budget of 125,000,000 it was devastating, and it’s easy to see why some super fans might think it was because of James Gunn’s new DCU announcement, but I think it was mostly because people have lost faith in superhero movies lately. Don’t get me wrong, if a good movie comes along, it can still do well. That’s why Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 was such a success. It was a great movie in a great franchise. The first Shazam was fun, but not nearly as good as the first Guardians of the Galaxy. It just wasn’t a strong enough franchise to carry the DC brand.
Marvel vs DC
In some ways, Marvel could probably learn from DC right now. The MCU doesn’t have its two heavy hitters (Iron Man, and Captain America), and it is struggling. The DCEU hasn’t properly utilized its two heavy hitters (Batman, and Superman) for a while (or ever as some may think), and it has been struggling. There are other issues with both cinematic universes, but those are big factors in my opinion.
I’m looking forward to seeing the X-men in the MCU, but I know that I don’t want to see a new X-men team that won’t be interacting with Iron Man, and Captain America. The DCU has plans to include Superman, and Batman, and that is nice, and refreshing to know. I think the DCU shows a lot of promise, and the DCEU is struggling because it has been losing more and more of its audience for a while now. I do hope that Blue Beetle can make some money though, and I’m excited to see Xolo Mariduena portray the character in the DCU.