Follying around

The 5 biggest DCEU financial FAILURES

Which DC Extended Universe movies grossed the least?

Natalia Hluzow

3 May 2023

When Justice League hit $656 million worldwide in 2018, the internet thundered that it was the worst-grossing film in franchise history. Unfortunately, it only got worse after that… Here are the 5 biggest financial flops of the DCEU.

5. Shazam! (2019)


Shazam! hit the screens after the weak Justice League and the average Aquaman, so at a time when only the most hardened fans of the DC film universe launched in 2013 believed that anything could still work within this franchise. Since the united Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman failed, hardly anyone expected that the fate of the DCEU would be changed by a superhero unknown to the general public. A pity, because David F. Sandberg’s film turned out to be a surprisingly successful product. However, this did not translate into attendance success. The production, starring Zachary Levi in the title role, grossed only $364 million.

4. Birds of Prey (2020)

birds of prey

The fantabolous emancipation of a certain Harley Quinn is one of the first film victims of the coronavirus pandemic. Suicide Squad’s (2016) spin-off debuted in theaters in early 2020, just a month before cinemas around the world began to close en masse. The studio very quickly announced an accelerated production path for streaming, which – in the circumstances – discouraged viewers from going to the cinemas even more. As a result, the crazy girl power picture ended its cinematic career with a profit of 205 million dollars.

3. The Suicide Squad (2021)

the suicide squad

James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is an absolute pearl among DCEU plastic products – a film that deserved a huge financial success and rave reviews. Fortunately, he won the latter, but he failed to attract viewers to cinemas. There were many reasons. The first and most important was due to Warner Bros.’s pandemic decision to release films on the same day for big and small screens. On the day of the cinema premiere, TSS could be watched not only on streaming, but also using pirated sources. The disgust left by the first cinematic approach to Suicide Squad did not help either. David Ayer’s “work” probably did not appeal to anyone, so the audience approached his sequel-reboot with a lot of mistrust. Gunn’s film ultimately was a huge financial flop, earning a paltry $169 million when it should have been 10 times more.

2. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)


WW84 certainly cannot be called an outstanding film. The sequel to the well-received Wonder Woman cannot even be called a good movie. This is without a doubt one of the dumbest superhero movies ever made, with one of Pedro Pascal’s worst performances of his entire career. However, there is no denying that the failure of this production – as in the case of the titles described above – is closely related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The premiere of Patty Jenkins’s film was first postponed twice, and then decided to make a bold move in the form of a day-and-date release, i.e. simultaneous release in cinemas and on VOD. Wonder Woman 1984, for a very bad moment of its premiere, did well anyway. With $169 million in theater profits, it reigned supreme in the December 2020 and January 2021 box office charts.

1. Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

The pandemic cannot cover up Shazam’s sequel, unfortunately. The film hit the cinemas in March 2023 and went almost completely unnoticed. Once again, this can be blamed on the poor condition of the entire franchise, the low popularity of the title character and the relatively quick release on the Internet, but it is also worth noting that the production was not met with the audience’s delight. Fury of the Gods can still be seen in cinemas, but there is no indication that it will bounce back spectacularly and earn much more than the profit of $ 133 million at the global box office so far.

Quo vadis, DCEU?

The franchise, which in its model was supposed to resemble the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was undoubtedly hurt by the pandemic and the resulting decision of Warner’s authorities to speed up the sharing of movies on the streaming platform as much as possible. However, that wasn’t the only problem the DCEU faced. The great hopes that were placed on bringing the world’s most famous superheroes together on the big screen have been disappointed many times. The highly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017) received terrible reviews. Even worse was Suicide Squad (2016). Of the twelve films of the franchise that have hit the screens so far, only five escaped the title of “rotten tomato” on Rotten Tomatoes. So it’s no surprise that it made it to the box office. Paradoxically, the most successful films lost the most, because the financial failures of The Suicide Squad (2021) or Birds of Prey (2020) are not only the fault of the studio’s poor business decisions, but to a large extent the result of disappointment with David Ayer’s 2016 film.

Fortunately, the decision-makers from Warner Bros., regardless of the financial failure of the new Suicide Squad, appreciated the artistic success of the production and gave the extended DC universe to James Gunn, hoping that the creator of the Marvel trilogy about Guardians of the Galaxy will help their franchise get up from its knees. Will that happen? With the great The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, the director has already proven that he can give the DC universe a completely new, unobvious direction. His plans for the future sound equally intriguing. However, we will see the first effects of the great DCEU reboot only in 2025.

Natalia Hluzow

Natalia Hluzow

A lover of the works of Tarantino, Nolan, Waititi, superhero cinema and the TV series "The Office" (US!) Raised on "The Lord of the Rings" and "Lethal Weapon". She considers "Fight Club", "Inglourious Basterds" and "Inception" to be synonyms of a film masterpiece. Her newest love is Matt Reeves' "The Batman". Contrary to the stereotypes about film school graduates, she loves mainstream cinema and all the intertextual games that take place within it. She hates contrived dialogues, paper characters and when the creators doubt the viewer's intelligence.

See other posts from this author >>>