When Warner Bros. had decided to pursue a shared universe of their own with their DC characters, the narrative amongst general audiences was that they were copying Marvel Studios - but, as it turns out, there's something that Marvel can learn from DC, specifically from Aquaman's release. James Wan's Aquaman comes more than a year after Justice League hit theaters, and it sees Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry become the true king of Atlantis.
While the unofficially titled DC Extended Universe got off to a somewhat rocky start with regards to its critic reviews, despite each installment still being financially successful, it certainly looks like DC Films has found their footing with their standalone movies in Aquaman and Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. And while the studio decided to release two movies in 2016 - Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and David Ayer's Suicide Squad - and in 2017 - Justice League and Wonder Woman - they took a step back in 2018.
Aside from the Teen Titans GO! To The Movies animated film, Aquaman was the only live-action DC release last year, which allowed it to be the sole focus for DC fans as well as a palette cleanser for general audiences. While Marvel Studios continues to see outstanding success - both critically and commercially - with their Marvel Cinematic Universe, there's something they could learn from Aquaman's success as the only DC movie in 2018.
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Marvel Releases Three MCU Movies A Year
Over the course of 10 years, Marvel Studios managed to release 20 movies in theaters around the world; while the latter half of the past decade contained the most releases, with 2009 being the only year an MCU movie hadn't released, that still equates to two movies a year. And it wasn't until 2016 that other studios started following suit with more than one comic book movie a year either. That was when 20th Century Fox released Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse while Warner Bros. got the DCEU off the ground with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
It was also the same year that Marvel Studios got Phase 3 of the MCU underway. And since they had to up the ante with the number of characters joining the fold while also closing out the trilogies for individual characters - namely Thor and Captain America - the studio decided to increase the number of movies they released per year to three in 2017, and it's been that way ever since. In 2017, Marvel released Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok. Then, in 2018, they put out Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp. And now, in 2019, they've got Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
To put that into perspective, Marvel Studios will have released nine movies in three years, whereas it took them about seven years to do the same in Phase 1 and Phase 2. While many fans openly welcome more MCU movies, releasing three installments in a single year (and so close together, for that matter) can have a negative impact on theater attendance and overall progression of the overarching narrative. Compare this to DC Films, which only released one movie in 2018.