Justice League debuted to poor critical reactions, despite us and a few others giving it a positive review it was still a complete box office flop.
Justice League earned $96 million on its opening weekend which is the lowest opening for any of the DCEU films, including Suicide Squad and we all know how terrible that film was.
$96 million may seem like a lot, and it is an absolute disaster for Warner Bros. Justice League cost a reported $300 million to film including reshoots and that’s not counting marketing and distributing costs. CGI-ing Cavill’s mo off cost $25 million! The total cost of the film including marketing may very well be up to $400-500 million dollars. Couple this with Ben Affleck’s desire to leave the franchise desperately, and things aren’t looking too good for DC.
What does this mean for other DCEU films?
Aquaman has already finished filming and is slated to release in late 2018. The Wonder Woman sequel is in development and will release sometime in 2019. However, the future of projects such as Suicide Squad 2, Shazam, Cyborg and The Flash films are up in the air. This is bad news for DC fans including myself. We’ve waited years to see these characters on screen and now we may not get to see them again for long while, or with the same kind of budgets made available.
Why has this happened?
The failure of Justice League has less to do with the film itself but the films that have come before it. Particularly, Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman, both of which were universally panned and hold horrendously low scores on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. It’s not that just the critics didn’t like them, it is because they weren’t good movies. Suicide Squad is up there with the worst comic book movies ever made and Batman V Superman did so many things wrong.
I really loved Man of Steel, yet the general audience and many critics didn’t. This leaves us with Wonder Woman as the sole successful movie in the new DCEU. 1 out of 5 that is not a good track record at all.
What Next for Warner Bros?
Recast and Reboot?
Hopefully the studio won’t panic and pull the plug on the franchise, but from a business standpoint they might be wise to cut their losses. Warner can either recast and reboot, which would appease Affleck but they would also lose the likes of Cavill, Gadot, Momoa and Miller all of whom are perfect for their respective roles. A total reboot would do more harm than good but luckily Warner may have an ace up their sleeves…
The Flashpoint Paradox
The upcoming Flash film is titled Flashpoint, which in the comics is an event where The Flash upsets the timeline and creates a parallel universe where Aquaman and Wonder Woman are enemies, Thomas Wayne is Batman and his mother is the Joker. Now WB doesn’t have to adhere exactly to the comics and can take liberties in order to “soft reboot” the franchise including “recasting” Batman. Warner have a real ace up their sleeves here, and it might be a perfect way to get the DCEU back on track.
What does this mean for the superhero genre In general?
Does the failure of Justice League mean that Superhero fatigue has finally set in? No, Thor Ragnarok, Logan and Guardians 2 were all box office hits. However this means that the audience will not settle for mediocre, or even above average films. DCEU need to up their game and not rely on the love of superheroes to bring in the dollars.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman 2 may save the DCEU
It’s a bad time to be a DC fan, and the future of the DCEU is up in the air. The franchise is in need of a resuscitation, however there is hope. If Aquaman and Wonder Woman 2 are universal successes, it will go some way in regaining the trust of the audience. Both James Wan and Patty Jenkins are very talented directors and I trust them to deliver.
And worst comes to worst a hard reboot wont be the end of the world, I mean just look at what Nolan did with the Batman franchise.