Justice League Falls Short At The Box Office
The Justice League finally assembled in cinemas over the weekend, and it wasn't the heroic launch that Warner Bros had been forecasting. Opening to an estimated $94million in the US, Justice League fell short of earlier predictions and could have a lasting impact on the future of the DCEU.
To put the numbers into perspective, a quick glance at the US opening weekends of the other four movies in this shared universe shows us just how poorly Justice League performed. Back in 2013, Man of Steel debuted to $116 million, three years later Batman v Superman inexplicably made $166 million over its first three days, and even the critically mauled Suicide Squad managed more than $133 million. Earlier this year, Wonder Woman's $103 million weekend proved that audiences would turn up for a female superhero and showed us that Warner Bros could produce a good DCEU movie.
However, Justice League hasn't been able to build on the good favour earned by Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, even Joss Whedon's reworking of the script and directing the reshoots couldn't salvage a ghastly end product. I'll try not to go off on one here, but Justice League's attempts to correct the mistakes of the past has resulted in a generic story that makes Marvel's problems with villains seem nonexistent. Much like Batman v Superman, Justice League has some nice touches, but the overall film is a complete mess. I say that as a lifelong reader of DC and I was rooting for this movie to be good, or at the very least bearable.
$94million is by anybody's account a whole lot of money; it's not that far off of what Wonder Woman took earlier this year. That being the case, Wonder Woman didn't cost $300 million (some say it's much higher) to make, and with that kind of price tag a $1 billion final tally isn't just desirable, it's a necessity. At this stage, it's too soon to call Justice League a flop, a solid $185 million internationally has saved some face, but the poor performance in the US could force Warner Bros to rethink the future of the DCEU, again.
We're five films into the DCEU now, and aside from Wonder Woman, it's been a sorry collection of half-baked ideas trying to cram in as much as possible. What worked so well for Wonder Woman was it was a standalone story, unbothered by connecting to a wider world of heroes, the film was allowed to have its own identity. Independent stories could be a viable way forward for Warner Bros; they're already putting together a Joker origin story set in the 80s, so instead of a connected cinematic universe they should go the other way and keep the characters separate. For now at least.
Justice League is out now in cinemas.