DC’s promised reboot this past year has merely become a theoretical exercise, burning through audiences’ desires and solidifying it as a branch of superheroes with no direction. It’s been a rough year for the genre itself, with even diehards becoming skeptical of the Marvel brand and its idiosyncratic future by dismantling one of its subgenre’s cores and then attempting to pervade its TV series with the same bombastic budgetary measures that are wrangling blockbusters. However, DC has been lying in shambles in 2023.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods could’ve been another fun ride with the kid-turned-adult superhero trying to balance a family and external demons, but it was blatantly generic and damaged too many of the factors that made the original fun. The Flash was objectively “fine,” but lying to your audiences about it being “one of the greatest superhero movies ever” seems to curtail further interest in Ezra Miller and whatever multiverse schemes are planned. Lest we forget, the egregious CGI and a narrative that doesn’t even seem to resolve also hinder its allure, and it lost so much money that Warner Brothers should’ve learned. Blue Beetle is a definite step in the right direction, but after its siblings’ performances earlier in the year, no one was having it.
So, Warner Brothers is now 0-3 with DC this year (box-office-wise), and might look for salvation with Jason Momoa’s upcoming sequel. Unfortunately, the damning concern is, will people muster the energy for another superhero outing? The first Aquaman ballooned expectations, earning $1.148 billion globally and putting DC in the right direction after Justice League broke Warner Brothers, Joss Whedon’s career, and put an end to some actors remaining onboard. If the sequel drops this year in line with others, it’ll end with around $700 million worldwide, which is not bad.
The elephant in the room is now there are reports folks walked out of test screenings. Something feels off, whether over a controversial scene or due to a poor reception. The marketing also initiated abruptly late for a superhero movie, a sign that WB may be willing to get this over with and await James Gunn’s official restart with the new Superman movie in 2025.
Whatever the case may be, we’ll have to hope DC can finally get a win after a year without much of any.