Warner Brothers… we need to talk.
Look, I love you, WB. (Can I call you WB? I feel like we’re close enough that I can.) We’ve had a long relationship, but it’s time someone told you the cold hard facts. And I’m telling you this only out of love: You need to pump the brakes on the DC Extended Universe. Go back to the drawing board and figure this out.
We all know after the first four weeks theaters have the rights to drop screens on major releases. And boy did they when Justice League hit its fifth week. You lost over 1500 screens. The Film is hovering around $222M domestic meaning it came in $190M less than Wonder Woman. It actually means it is the lowest grossing film of the first five DCEU films. Heck, it’s $70M less than Man of Steel in fourth place.
Worldwide? Same picture. It sits at $646M global putting it in fifth place for the series.
We know you’re sitting on the budget on this one, trying to not let people learn it, but rumors are it topped $300M due to the Joss Whedon reshoots. Most analysts were saying you needed to clear $700M global for this film to even have a shot at profit. In theory, a film bringing together DC’s biggest characters should have scoffed at hitting $700M global, and yet, here we are. You’re in the red on Justice League… let that sink in.
You’ve got Aquaman in the can, nothing can be done there now. It’s coming out. Shazam is close to production, you could, in theory, stop it. We also know there is no way you’re pulling the plug on Wonder Woman 2, fine, we get that. Beyond what is complete or an almost sure-fire hit? Stop. Just… stop.
At this point you are damaging not only the brand, but also these incredibly precious characters. It’s time to take a breath, analyze where you’re at and really give some thought to what has worked and what hasn’t. Look at your five films. Look at how they’ve performed. What is the winning factor.
Take a hard look here, it’s staring you in the face WB. I want you to put Wonder Woman up on one monitor, and then I want you to run the other four films in the series so far on monitors next to it. Which one does your eye go to? Which one does your ear listen for?
Getting it yet?
Wonder Woman was bright visually. The characters had motivations. They had reasons for their actions. Your other four films are plodding, dark, mumble fests with no clear reason to why characters take certain actions.
If you insist on going without a break, at least look at the winning formula here.
I knew Justice League was going to tank. I didn’t want it to, but I knew it was going to. I want you to think about a final thought here: you were beaten by Thor: Ragnarok. Kudos to Marvel, but the third solo film for one of its characters should not have brought in $844M global off of a $180M budget compared to your $646M/$300M situation.
All of this comes from a place of love for these characters, WB. Just stop, analyze, and adjust. That’s all I’m asking. I want to enjoy your films. I want to revel in the fact I live in a time where the Justice League has a movie and not go, “oh no, this looks horrible” every time I see footage from it.
Come on, WB. Do it for the kids… and your bottom line.