Comics Creators

DC Cinematic Universe - Wonder Woman, Justice League and More


Seriously, the last film I saw in the theater, Justice League, had trailers for Jumanji and Rampage.


This doesn’t exactly cover the studio’s main concern, ROI, but is an interesting comparison none the less.


What’s that old saying about lies, damned lies, and…?

You can make pretty much any point you want to if you pick your data set carefully enough and manipulate it in the right way.


Sorry, but that’s a real BS article.


Sort of. :wink:

It really highlights the main issue as not being box office take or audience interest but budget and expectation.


I didn’t really get that from it. But I didn’t really get any strong conclusion from it - it seemed a bit all over the place.

I might be wrong but I understood that the article was talking solely about US box office. Ignoring all overseas markets seems to immediately cut out a very important part of the model for all these movies.

Honestly, it feels like it’s just been written to make a provocative point that goes against the grain of current fan thinking (and gets clicks and shares).

How CBR has fallen. :frowning:


That’s fair. I didn’t pay attention to what box office they were including.

I agree about your point on CBR. I just thought it was interesting.


It is interesting, but I think it demonstrates how misleading these figures can be sometimes - and how you can use them to support all kinds of arguments even if they don’t necessarily hold.

(Sorry, my initial response probably came across as stronger than I meant it to.)


But its first central hypothesis - that is also in the title - is already nonsensical. Not just because they’re only counting domestic gross, but also because if you’re talking about financial success, you also have to factor what the studios paid for the movies.

The DC Extended Universe has been subject to ruthless criticism and plenty of doubt, but the numbers don’t lie — the first five installments of Warner Bros.’ DCEU have earned more than the first five movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Going by the box office results alone, it’s impossible to argue that the DC Extended Universe hasn’t been more successful.

As of the time of this writing, the DCEU has grossed $1,601,915,700 at the domestic box office. Adjusted for inflation, the MCU made $1,313,957,900 from its first five films. That’s right, the DCEU’s first chapter outperformed Marvel’s by almost $300,000,000. With that established, let’s take a look and see if the DC Extended Universe has been more successful as a whole.

Claiming that they outperformed the Marvel movies financially would only make sense relative to the movies’ budget. And the first Marvel movies had a budget of:
Iron Man - 140m
Incredible Hulk - 150m
Iron Man 2 - 200m
Thor - 180m
Cap - 140m
]- - - - -[
all in all: 810m USD.

Whereas DC’s movies:
Man of Steel - 225m
Bat v Supe - 300m
Suicide Squad 175m
Wonder Woman - 149m
Justice League 300m
all in all: 1,149 billion

So even if we followed every other part of the argument as they are making it, Marvel would still be (imperceptibly slightly) ahead.

Apart from that: Yeah, sure, the first Marvel movies weren’t all that impressive financially. Incredible Hulk didn’t make any money at all*, nor did the first Cap movie and Thor didn’t exactly do great either. The two Iron Men movies were the only real money-makers at that point. But this was a newly-founded studio that had to take their time finding their feet. And they were clever enough to go really big when they had done that.

Warner, on the other hand, started with higher budgets from the get-go and has now pumped a lot of money into Justice League in spite of the lacklustre reception of the other movies, and while JL is taking in enough money to be (barely) profitable.

*By the MW wisdom that you’re only in profit territory once a movie has made double its budget back.


Feige made an interesting point in a recent interview - the first Avengers movie was already in production before Cap 1 and even Thor 1 came out. If they had flopped or failed to get audiences interested in seeing more, Marvel could have had a real problem on their hands. So it was all slightly less of a sure-thing than it now seems in retrospect.


I think all that article does is show how far you have to stretch things to make the [still unconvincing] argument that DCEU movies have been more successful than Marvel’s. No doubt Wonder Woman was a huge success, critically and commercially, which is great. And Suicide Squad was at least a commercial success. But they also have two movies in there that feature Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman together. We’re talking 3 of the most iconic superheroes ever. And the solo Wonder Woman movie outperformed both of them. But really, all you have to do is look at what they were building to, i.e. The Avengers and Justice League. At this rate Justice League will end up grossing far less than half of The Avengers domestic gross and likely less than half it’s global total too.

So while you might be able to argue that each cinematic universe had missteps in their first half dozen features, it’s clear which studio had the bigger, more costly missteps. If The Avengers had performed the way Justice League has so far, the Marvel cinematic universe might have died right there. At the very least the ambition would have been scaled back a lot and we may never have seen things like GotG, or much of anything outside of Iron Man movies.


Yeah, keeping to their plan like that must’ve taken a lot of nerve, especially when their Hulk movie was pretty much a dud.


I watched both Incredible Hulk and Darefleck recently, and they’re not so bad. Kinda quaint. Most of Hulk was a cool recap during opening credits. Darefleck at least seems to go by a lot faster/


I’m not sure there’s ever a sure thing in movie production considering the budgets and the fickle nature of the fans, but it doesn’t feel like that much of a risk for Marvel. I think as soon as the first Iron Man came out Marvel figured that audiences would want more of RDJ. It’s interesting to think that a movie character like Jack Sparrow can feel over exposed with 5 movies in 14 years, yet we had 4 Iron Man movies in a 5 year span and we only want more.

There’s one point of merit to the article that’s pretty fundamental - they sold more tickets than Marvel did. The framework of budget and profit to construct the true measure of success is secondary really, pertinent to Warners and their desire to make money. I’m not sure Warners care that much about making money on the DC movies, they care much more about market share (it’s typical for many companies to lose money in order to maintain their position). The current crisis at Warners is more the diminishing market share DC seems to have, falling apart ever since the Nolan Batman movies really.

Of course you can frame the ‘sold more tickets’ argument from an available market perspective - superhero movies have gotten bigger, the global audience has increased, therefore selling more tickets is to be expected as there’s more buyers. Still, DC have certainly been a success from a sales standpoint - maybe not as big as they should have been and certainly falling off a cliff with Justice League, but they weren’t as awful as you’d think reading internet articles. I think there’s a Marvel Zombie movement happening at the cinematic level that’s reflective of the typical Marvel vs DC wars we used to see in the comics (back when people gave a shit about comics).


Jim, we want to be Tony Stark (or Ted Kord); and we just want to watch Jack Sparrow. We want to be Batman (without the exercise stuff, that looks exhausting). We do not want to be an Inhuman. We want to be Superman - but we also want to pick out which Superman. (I’ll take Kirk Alyn.) We definitely do not want to be on the Suicide Squad.

Look at any of the movies from the perspective of how you would want to project yourself into the film. If we do not identify with a character, we don’t “like” the film. Even if the character is evil, do their actions fulfill a wish of ours, particularly a nasty wish? I mean, given my druthers, I would have happily dropped a whole baseball stadium right on top of the Nixon administration.


It really isn’t an accurate comparison though.

The first wave of Marvel movies with shared continuity was a very new concept. They were the learning curve for the studio. Marvel’s success primed the pump for its own line and DC’s. DC learned (some) lessons from Marvel in how they proceeded.


I think a fundamental difference with the movies is that the ‘brand loyalty’ element is built on the general reaction to the movies themselves - ie. Marvel have built themselves a reputation of giving audiences a good time in a way that DC haven’t - rather than it being down to fairly arbitrary factors, like the comic fandom tribalism often is.

Ten years ago, your average punter wouldn’t have much of an opinion either way when it comes to Marvel and DC movies. Today, Marvel have earned credit that the DC films haven’t.

I do think that among comics fandom we’ve seen that tribal mentality spill out into the movies, though. There are plenty of occasions where, if you know someone’s comics ‘allegiances’, you can predict pretty easily what side their opinion is going to fall on when it comes to the movies.


I don’t buy Marvel any more. I do buy DC. Superman is among my favourite characters of all time. Currently reading Batman omnibuses. Want to predict which movies I prefer? :slight_smile:

(Edited to make it obvious I was talking about me and not ordering you all to stop buying Marvel and start buying DC :smiley: )


No, we must save Avatar Press.


Knowing your comics tastes as I do, I can easily predict which movies you prefer. :slight_smile: