DCU continues to disappoint at the box office. Can James Gunn save her?

Let’s say this up front: the latest DC outputs blue beetle He deserves a serious round of applause. The entry of the Latin-helmeted superheroes was highly praised by critics and the public alike, and it has proven to be an important part of the universal DC expanding universe law. But its win with reviewers and fans is just a brief bright spot in a DCU that has had, to say the least, a difficult year.

The Flash, which debuted amid huge controversy surrounding its star Ezra Miller, just finished its theatrical run this past weekend with $268 million in worldwide revenue – very bad result by looking at her reported budget About 300 million dollars. Shazam: Wrath of the Gods has never been better With only $133 million worldwide, Black Adam was still disappointing with $393 million worldwide (Despite what Dwayne Johnson will tell you). and Blue Beetle’s opening weekend, with that in mind $25 million isn’t superis the latest worrying sign.

It would be shortsighted to say that Blue Beetle is a flop, of course — just ask Pixar Elemental what the box office rebound looks like. But due to the positive reception (said IGN in our review It “distinguishes itself within this bloated genre through the deeply intertwined ties between Jaime and the Reyes family”), the lackluster opening sure must have been a disappointment to Warner Bros. Pictures. However, the problem with Blue Beetle may be more complex than it appears at first glance.

“It is far more a victim of circumstance and timing than of an innate quality.” Box Office ProSenior analyst Sean Robbins told IGN about the film’s theatrical ordeal.

Among the problems for Blue Beetle is the fact that Xolo Maridueña is limited in how to promote the film amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, as well as competition from strong theatrical offerings like Barbie, Openheimer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. . But it, along with the other films we’ve mentioned here, also puts more pressure on the upcoming reimagining of the DCEU at the hands of co-executives James Gunn and Peter Safran, with Gunn being the main creative face behind it. fix.

new beginning

Gunn’s new regime faces massive expectations to bring to the DCEU – which will be the first batch of films under Gunn’s helm as part of the so-called Chapter One: Gods and Monsters —to the kind of almost unwavering reputation the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been bestowed with over the years, which has translated into reliable returns at the box office. It’s a genre that DC’s muddled film series hasn’t quite touched yet, and with what DC has in store on the horizon, they are truly You need to narrow down your play in order to keep it any to their former glory, let alone build on it.

according to comScore Chief Media Analyst Paul Der Garabedian DC fanatics, at this point, are “patiently waiting for DC to make a consistent move with films that will deliver on the brand promise.”

(Click here to see a full PDF of the chart below.)

And they may be handsomely rewarded for this loyalty and patience. The only movie on DC’s 2024 slate is the October sequel The Joker: Folie à DeuxWhich sees the return of Joaquin Phoenix in the main role with Lady Gaga joining him as Harley Quinn. It’s as highly anticipated as any of the next few movies the DCEU has in store, and if it’s as divisive as the original (which passed the coveted billion-dollar mark at the box office), it’ll be enough to get smashing people talking all the way to the theater. Plus, Lady Gaga is sure to have seat butts on anything.

But then, in July 2025, James Gunn Superman: Legacy, starring David Korensweet and Rachel Brosnahan as Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is flying into theaters – and it’s likely that Gunn will fail if the Superman reimagining fails, especially given his previous Marvel successes with Guardians of the Galaxy. Obviously, we all remember who came before Korensweet: the smoldering Henry Cavill, who was somewhat divisive as the Kryptonian hero but generally garnered a huge fan following throughout his time in the character’s universe across several films. That could be a huge stitch for fans to overcome, and that kind of sentiment will likely seep into Gunn’s DCEU overhaul as he continues on other projects.

However, Gunn himself has garnered a lot of goodwill through his past films, including The Suicide Squad and the TV series Peacemaker, as well as his transparency with fans on various social media platforms. when serenade He started as co-chair From DC Studios renovated by Warner Bros. Discovery is out in November 2022, and it’s called out specifically to reframe the company’s strategy toward DC properties, given that nothing has stuck around like Marvel’s competitors over the years.

And we all know how the inconsistencies in the DCEU annoyed the head of Warner Bros. Discovery, As seen by many in HollywoodGeneral Artistic Killer David Zaslav; After all, the company has completely eliminated any trace The Batgirl movie is almost complete of existence during the early days of the CEO’s term.

“A decline in box office revenue is almost inevitable.

So Gunn has, figuratively speaking, a huge anvil hanging over his head, ready to fall at any time Looney Tunes-style. Tasked with the creative direction of the DCEU’s retooling, whether he directs the project or not, he’s responsible for how it benefits – or detracts from – the overall foundation of the new reputation DC Studios is trying to build. mean when Batman: Part Two Coming out in October 2025, it will also be on the hook, despite the fact that Matt Reeves’s takeover of the bat predates Gunn’s co-CEO position. However, Robert Pattinson is set to return for a sequel, and The Batman has been a fairly unanimous success with fans and critics alike, so the buzz is already there.

“Both (The Batman) sequel and the upcoming Joker: Folie à Deux sequel should be minimally affected by the changing atmosphere because they are true creative independents with very unique identities and audience goodwill,” Robbins noted about the safer upcoming DC releases, which he will bring. At least some sort of stability to DC’s new roster, if only for a few moments.

Then, of course, there’s everything in Aquaman 2. The sequel dubbed Aquaman and the Lost KingdomIt is slated to hit theaters in December. Despite the return of the strong leading man for the second installment in Jason Momoa, analysts predict that it won’t see the same success as its predecessor, with its $1.1 billion in revenue.

“A drop in box office returns is almost inevitable,” Robbins said of Aquaman 2. “And the outlook is more volatile until or unless the industry’s ongoing strikes end so Momoa can promote the movie. He’s by far her biggest asset, just as Dwayne Johnson was.” Black Adam last year.”

stage setting

Ultimately, Fate of the Lost Kingdom, as well as the sequel Captain Marvel wonderland Despite being from a rival studio, it will help “determine the state of superheroes in 2023 moving forward,” according to The Verge. David A. GrossFounder of film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. In short, the performances of these films are sure to pave the way for these bigger, flashier, and more highly anticipated titles of 2024 and 2025. Whether or not the Batman and Joker sequel succeeds or fails will not depend on Aquaman’s returns and revisions, but those elements will lay the foundation for the climate Batman and Joker will create – like, for example, how Shazam 2 and The Flash laid the foundation for Blue Beetle.

Still, there’s still time for Blue Beetle to make some serious box office returns at home and abroad – and we hope it does so as a refreshing entry into the canon. But regardless, his toned-down editorial says a lot about whether fans are willing to continue giving DC projects the benefit of the doubt as the studio moves into a new era with new management.

“It will be critical for the new era of DC films to separate itself very clearly from what has come before and take special care to ensure an organic shift when Gunn and other filmmakers decide to revisit certain elements, characters or actors that precede their new appearances,” Robbins said. IGN: “The System.” “The potential for a major turnaround is there, but time will tell if the final products prove to be a success and whether the public is eager to give them another chance so quickly.”

Time will tell, indeed.

Lex Priscoso is a freelance film and television critic and entertainment writer for IGN. You can follow her on Twitter at @nikonamerica.

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