When it comes to their respective comic book movie universes, Marvel Studios will always have one advantage over Warner Bros., and that advantage is time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with 2008's Iron Man, which included a post-credits bonus clip that introduced Samuel L. Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury and hinted at events to come. The DC Extended Universe, in comparison, started five years later with Man of Steel, and it is now only three movies into its run vs. the MCU's 13.
The MCU started off on the right foot with Iron Man, as it was both a critical and commercial success for Marvel Studios. The road has been slightly bumpier for Warner Bros., though, as critics were not as kind to Man of Steel or its follow-up, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. This summer's Suicide Squad was supposed to be the movie that turned things around for the DCEU, though, with director David Ayer at the helm and the promise of a lighter tone than its predecessors. In the end, the movie fell short of critical expectations, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of just 26 percent. However, it has still made Warner Bros. a ton of money.
CBR reports that Suicide Squad has now passed $718.8 million in global revenue, a figure which not only makes it a financial success but beats the earnings of a number of Marvel's movies, including 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The latter film had a final box office tally of $714.4 million, meaning that Suicide Squad has now beaten it by almost $5 million. Most of that $5 million came from this past weekend, during which Suicide Squad pulled in $4.55 million despite it being its seventh weekend in theaters.
Of course, Captain America: Winter Soldier came out two years before Suicide Squad, and Marvel has also surpassed its earnings since then with its sequel, Captain America: Civil War. That movie earned over $1 billion at the box office. It was the fourth MCU movie to pass $1 billion, following The Avengers at $1.518 billion, Avengers: Age of Ultron at $1.405 billion and Iron Man 3 at $1.215 billion, and helped Marvel Studios cross the $10 billion mark in total earnings.
So will the DCEU ever catch up to the MCU in total earnings? Not unless Marvel dramatically slows down the rate at which it puts out movies, which seems unlikely to happen. But as to whether or not an individual DCEU film can outperform an MCU film, the clear answer to that is "yes." With Justice League set to be released at the end of next year, though, the pressure is on Warner Bros. to find the same kind of success with it that Marvel has found with the Avengers movies and their spinoffs.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash, The Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.