December 7, 2022

This isn’t the first time Warner Bros. and DC have reconsidered their cinematic strategy. DC movies have been on a zigzag path over the past decade, ever since Christopher Nolan concluded his Dark Knight trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises

“The Dark Knight Rises.”

Warner Bros.

2013: Man of Steel was released starring Henry Cavill as Superman and directed by Zack Snyder. She rebooted the character with a sharper take on the success of the Nolan Batman films.

man of steel poster

Warner Bros.

The film was largely a flop with critics and earned a score of 58% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. It earned $668 million worldwide on a $225 million production budget.

March 2016: “Man of Steel” was the starting point for a potential DC movie universe, similar to the MCU. Snyder directed a follow-up, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which brought Cavill back together, introducing between Affleck Batman and Gal Gadot on Wonder Woman.

Batman vs Superman

Warner Bros.

Batman v Superman grossed $873 million worldwide, but it was another project with a massive $250 million budget. It was also a critical failure with a 29% score from Rotten Tomatoes critic, and a B-score from CinemaScore, which polls audiences on the film’s opening night (that’s low for a superhero movie).

Overall, the movie wasn’t the global phenomenon Warner Bros. hoped it would be, given that it starred both of them leading. In other words, it didn’t exceed $1 billion, unlike “Captain America: Civil War” later that year, which also pitted two Marvel heavyweights from Iron Man and Captain America against each other.

August 2016: “Suicide Squad” was released. It was a modest success at the box office with over $700 million worldwide, but another serious failure.

suicide squad

Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad.”

Warner Bros.

The “DC Extended Universe” movie, as it was dubbed by online fans and was suspended, has spawned three hits with critics in a row. “Suicide Squad” has a 26% critic’s score on Rotten Tomatoes.

And while the films did well at the global box office, they weren’t huge, especially considering their ballooning budgets. To make matters worse, they haven’t quite reached the same levels as the Marvel movies.

June 2017: Some hope arose with Wonder Woman.

Chris Pine and Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

“A wonderful woman.”

Warner Bros. Pictures

The movie was directed by Patty Jenkins, and it was all Warner Bros. She is looking for him in her new films in the capital.

Its production cost is lower than other films and grossed $822 million worldwide, on par with the movie “Batman v Superman”. Unlike other DCEU films, it was a huge hit with critics, receiving 93% of critics’ ratings.

November 2017: Disaster strikes the theatrical release of “Justice League”. What was supposed to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s Avengers was a monetary and financial absurdity.

Justice Squad

“Justice Squad”

Warner Bros.

It only made $657 million worldwide, a disappointing number considering it was a major DC superhero team movie and cost $300 million after massive re-releases swelled the budget.

2017: “Justice League” underwent extensive relaunch leading up to its release, with Snyder stepping down as director after a family tragedy and being replaced by “Avengers” director Joss Whedon. The show’s poor response launched the controversial “Release the Snyder Cut” movement.

Justice League Batman

Warner Bros.

After “Batman v Superman” was criticized for being too dark, and following the success of Wonder Woman, Warner Bros. Re-equip “Justice League”.

Zack Snyder fans have taken to social media to try to impress Warner Bros. By releasing a Snyder version of the movie as he intended, which they called “Snyder Cut”. Snyder fans have claimed that the theatrical cut is radically different from Snyder’s original vision.

2017: The failure of the “DCEU” prompts Warner Bros. and DC to rethink its strategy. Rather than trying to replicate the common Marvel universe, it will instead focus on independent stories, Vulture reported in an extensive feature in July 2017.

amazing woman

Warner Bros.

eagle The feature landed after the release of “Wonder Woman” and before the “Justice League,” indicating that the company had already accepted defeat over the latter.

The first was, however, a largely stand-alone story, though Gadot has reprized her role from “Batman v Superman” and will appear again in “Justice League.”

“Our intention, sure, going forward is to use continuity to help make sure nothing diverges meaninglessly, but there is no insistence on an overarching story line or interconnectedness in this universe,” Diane Nelson, former president of DC Entertainment, told Vulture.

2018: DC’s first test of the new strategy was “Aquaman”. While Jason Momoa reprized his role as the main character after “Justice League,” he has largely not been associated with any previous films. It also differed sharply from the tone of Snyder’s films. It has made over $1 billion worldwide.



Warner Bros.

2019: “Joker,” the independent original story of Batman’s famous enemy, grossed over $1 billion and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In the same year, the song “Shazam!” It grossed a lot more than $366 million, but was a huge hit with critics.



Warner Bros.

2020: “Birds of Prey” and “Wonder Woman 1984” struggled to maintain DC’s momentum after “Justice League” on the big screen.

wild birds

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in “Birds of Prey”

Warner Bros.

The Birds of Prey movie made only $205 million worldwide, but it cost $85 million, far less than most superhero movies. She found another life on HBO Max after her theatrical run.

“Wonder Woman 1984,” the sequel to the 2017 movie “Wonder Woman,” was released simultaneously on Max and in theaters amid the coronavirus pandemic. It only made $170 million globally, but was hampered by the ongoing pandemic and online piracy.

The movie wasn’t the critical hit that was its predecessor, and it has 58% on Rotten Tomatoes.

May 2020: Just as DC movies seemed to be on the right track, HBO Max announced that “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” would be coming to service the following year.

Justice League Zack Snyder

“Justice League Zack Snyder”


wrap It was reported later that year that the director’s cut would cost $70 million to finish, as it included additional footage and was eventually recorded for four hours.

While the “Release the Snyder Cut” movement won, the film still clouded Warner Bros. ‘ head.

rolling rock I recently reported that the movement was driven by fake Twitter accounts, and that Snyder himself hired a digital marketing company to boost fan engagement in 2016 after the release of “Batman v Superman,” contributing to a cult-like following of his fans (Snyder denied this).

August 2021: The Suicide Squad was a minor reboot of the 2016 movie. It was a huge hit with critics, earning 90% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but has been a disappointment at the box office amid the pandemic.

suicide squad

Warner Bros.

The film, released simultaneously on HBO Max, grossed $168 million at the global box office.

DC and Warner Bros. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn was stolen from Marvel after he was briefly fired. Gunn followed up the movie with a TV show on Max called “Peacemaker”, starring John Cena, which was a huge hit. A second season is in the works.

The Future: There are a few DC movies on the horizon that Zaslav sounded optimistic about during Thursday’s investor call. Furthermore, the company intends to build a team dedicated specifically to the DC movie universe that will develop a 10-year plan similar to Marvel’s.

Dwayne Johnson standing

Dwayne Johnson in “Black Adam”.

Warner Bros.

Upcoming DC releases include:

  • “Black Adam” – October 21, 2022
  • “Shazam! The Wrath of the Gods” – December 21, 2022
  • “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” – March 17, 2023
  • “The Flash” – June 23, 2023

Flash advances despite controversy surrounding his co-star Ezra Miller.

“We have seen (Flash), (Black Adam) and (Shazam 2),” Zaslav said on Thursday. “We are very excited about them. We have seen them. We think they’re great, and we think we can make them even better.”

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