Now let’s start off by saying the numbers we are about to go over would be great for a standard motion picture. With a budget of $50 million, Justice league would being going down as a major success. But we are not talking about any normal movie. Justice League’s budget was reportedly $300 million after reshoots, and then roughly $300 million more for marketing. This means the movie has to hit big, I mean really big, in order to justify its release.
Let’s go in order of DC movies. Man of Steel raked in $116.6 million domestic opening weekend, Batman v Superman brought in $166 million, Suicide Squad another $133 million opening weekend, and finally Wonder Woman brought in the lowest at $103 million domestic opening. Let’s compare that to what should be the biggest blockbuster of them all: Justice League.
Justice league brought in just $96 million domestic this opening weekend, making it the worst opening of any of the DCEU films thus far. Suicide Squad, which had characters that most people didn’t know such as Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, and Killer Croc with a terrible plot and blue light in the sky, actually drew in more money on opening weekend than a film with Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, and Aquaman. All of these characters that even my grandmother knows about. So what happened? If this movie came out in 2007 it would have easily drawn $200 million opening weekend.
Well for starters this movie’s failures are due to the disappointment left by previous DCEU films. Wonder Woman may have received some praise, but we all know that this was a part of the Zach Snyderverse that has let us down so badly before. I have gone over how much I didn’t like Batman V Superman, and I sincerely wasn’t expecting much more upon the release of this film.
Next is how pieced together this movie is. Originally directed by Zach Snyder and is credited as a Zach Snyder film, Joss Whedon was brought in after a family tragedy took Snyder away from the directorial role. Though this is a very valid reason for him to leave, I actually assume that DC had enough with what he was making, and realized a hard left turn was required.
Justice league actually began filming right after Batman V Superman. This means that the overall plot and themes were already underway when critics released their scathing reviews of Dawn of Justice. While Snyder seems amazing at visually setting up a shot… dialogue, plot, and comic accuracy are thrown to the bin. And we can see that was exactly where Justice League was headed before Joss Whedon came in for an immense amount of reshoots. These reshoots caused CGI problems (Henry Cavill’s digitally removed mustache), storyline conflictions, and drastic tone shifts. After watching the movie I assume that this film was only watchable due to these corrections made by Whedon, but it definitely does make for a Frankenstein film. So much so that I would actually be willing to pay another $15 to watch a documentary on what happened when making this movie.
And then there is the state of superhero movies today and the sheer amount of them coming out every year. This had to have taken a toll on Justice League. Superhero movies being cool and unique is long gone as Justice League is actually the 6th superhero movie of 2017 (7th if you count Power Rangers). And that has been the standard for the last 5 years or so with roughly five or more superhero films released every year. With this immense amount of comic movies coming out, the ones that succeed have to do something unique. A blue light in the sky with a generic villain won’t cut it anymore. Logan took a unique look at this, and even Thor: Ragnarok brought humor and something fun to a 10-year-old, 17 film franchise.
Finally, its just the fact that the movie itself isn’t that good. Sure there are redeeming qualities, but overall the plot just doesn’t hit home. A lackluster villain with a storyline that could be figured out by watching the trailers just won’t bring in the big bucks anymore. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, you might as well call me Ben Affleck.
I wouldn’t be suprised if this ends up breaking even or actually making some profit when all is said and done, but this will definitely hamper the future of the DCEU. Why have the biggest budget ever when more people come out to see a talking raccoon and sentient tree? With Aquaman, Flashpoint, and Wonder Woman 2 all having been rumoured, who knows where the DCEU will actually go.