Months after its November release, Justice League finished its domestic intake last week with a gross totaling over $229 million. Despite bringing DC’s biggest heroes together, Justice League was the lowest-grossing films in the DCEU. Audience fatigue is catching up with DC’s movies as Justice League couldn’t even beat Suicide Squad’s box office.
Poised to be Warner Bros.’ answer to Marvel’s The Avengers, Justice League failed to energize moviegoers in the same way that made The Avengers a runaway hit. On Monday afternoon, Exhibitor Relations posted on Twitter the final domestic take of Justice League, a meager $229 million. That’s below 2013’s Man of Steel ($291 million) and 2016’s Suicide Squad ($325 million), the latter of which garnered a limp 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. What’s even more damning is that Justice League had all the support behind it, including even reshoots from the man who directed Marvel’s big hit, Joss Whedon.
Between odd creative choices, audience fatigue, and such an obvious pursuit of the same success enjoyed by Marvel, Justice League was doomed in spite of all the studio support behind it. Arguably the most important crime the DC Cinematic Universe committed was forgetting to make audiences care for even its most important characters, like Superman, let alone a robot Frankenstein named “Cyborg.”
Suicide Squad, by comparison, has at least characters who resonated with mainstream culture. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was undeniably the film’s breakout lead, proven by the face she was the Halloween costume of 2016. That year, Google Trends platform Freightgeist reported that “Harley Quinn,” along with her puddin’ “The Joker” were the top search items of the season. A year later, “Wonder Woman” was number one, but Harley Quinn remained in the number two spot.
Despite the abject failure of Justice League, things appear to be moving along as Suicide Squad 2 is confirmed and the stand-alone Aquaman hits theaters in December. A solo Shazam is shooting now.
But, Justice League 2 remains seriously in doubt. With the first blockbuster union doing even less than anyone hoped for, it might be a long time before these heroes are needed together again.