Justice League is the number one movie in America, but it underperformed during its opening weekend in comparison to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s opening haul. Zack Snyder launched Warner Bros.’ unofficially titled DC Extended Universe with Batman V Superman in 2016 – a follow-up to his 2013 film, Man of Steel – and he concluded his trio of DC films with Justice League this month (though he may not have concluded his planned Superman trilogy).
Snyder’s story arc spread across three films that not only introduced audiences to the world’s finest heroes – Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Superman (Henry Cavill) – but set up the future of the DC Comics-based universe as well. Unfortunately, the fifth chapter in the newly-formed shared universe, Justice League, may not have been what fans were hoping for – and the film’s mixed-to-negative critic reviews certainly didn’t help its box office haul. The superhero team-up movie is underperforming so much that it may not even outperform Batman V Superman.
THR reports that Justice League earned $94 million domestically during its opening weekend, which is approximately $9 million less than Wonder Woman, $22.6 million less than Man of Steel, $39.6 million less than Suicide Squad, and a whopping $72 million less than Batman V Superman. The numbers certainly aren’t looking good for Warner Bros.’ first superhero team-up movie, especially since it’s meant to launch the rest of the newly-formed DC shared universe.
A number of things could be responsible for Justice League‘s underwhelming box office haul. The first and most prominent reason for why the film underperformed is because of Batman V Superman. The 2016 film received mixed-to-negative reviews, to put it lightly, and featured scenes and sequences that are still widely discussed to this day. But, more importantly, Batman V Superman left viewers disenchanted with the burgeoning DCEU, which was only further exacerbated by the release of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.
Second, Justice League‘s marketing campaign hinged on the general public believing that Superman was dead, and even though his on-screen return was never really kept secret, his actual resurrection was kept hidden for sake of shock-and-awe. They tried circumventing that predicament by including Cavill’s Clark Kent in the film’s final trailer, but that scene was one of many that were either trimmed down or cut out altogether. Although Warner Bros. did right by comic book and DCEU fans, they may have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot by not showcasing Superman. After all, his fan base is arguably as big as Batman’s, if not bigger.
Justice League‘s critical and commercial success is certainly not what Warner Bros. was hoping for, which means their current lineup of films may be altered to fit their new direction – but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
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