The DC Extended Universe just can’t catch a break. Warner Bros.’ tentpole franchise was hoping to continue the critical and commercial success of “Wonder Women” with “Justice League,” but critical reviews and box office returns have been anything but generous. The superhero epic sports a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes and didn’t even cross the $100 million mark in its first weekend in theaters.
The lackluster opening for “Justice League” doesn’t just make it the weakest debut for a superhero film in 2017 (which is shocking considering it brings three popular superheroes together and introduces three popular new ones), but it also sets up Warner Bros. for a major financial loss. According to Forbes, the studio could lose up to $100 million on “Justice League.” The company reports that Warner Bros. will lose $50 million at the very least, but that’s being generous.
Forbes breaks down numerous reasons why “Justice League’s” return on investment will be in the negative for Warner Bros., citing the tentpole’s humungous budget as a major issue. “Justice League” reportedly cost $300 million just to produce, with an additional $150 million spent on marketing. The film would have to make at least $750 million just to break even, but box office tracking suggests it will struggle to even hit $700 million. The film is currently pacing for a domestic haul in the $230 million range, though that could change if the film drops off quicker than anticipated.
While the DCEU has struggled to connect with critics outside of “Wonder Woman,” even the most maligned films have still managed to strike a chord at the box office. “Suicide Squad” was despised by critics yet still earned $745 million worldwide opposite a smaller production budget than “Justice League’s”, for instance.
Visit Forbes for more on “Justice League’s” financial disappointment.