Justice League has officially left the box office, and its grand haul amounts to a little over $229 million. That makes it the lowest-grossing movie in DC’s current super-universe. It has to be quite a blow for Warner Bros, and for executive theory in general: “if you put this many heroes together, it’ll print money whether it’s good or not, right?” Wrong.
It’s a distant fifth behind DC’s current golden goose Wonder Woman ($412 million), the maligned Batman V Superman ($329 million), $100 million behind the spinoff Suicide Squad and $60 million behind Man of Steel.
We all know the moviegoing public doesn’t always reward quality. But good word of mouth and glowing reviews seem to be the deciding factor in whether a superhero movie succeeds or not. Justice League got middling reviews and it had to follow a mostly-tepid DC lineup; the enthusiasm just wasn’t there. Black Panther, on the other hand, continues to dominate the box office after over a month of competition has tried and failed to take it down. Why? It’s just simply a better movie.
This news is discouraging for WB, no doubt, but it’s very encouraging for the future of superhero movies. I’m not naive enough to say movies in general.