The latest box office flop for DC is solidified by its return, and its failure could signal early problems for James Gunn’s new DC Universe franchise.
- The DCEU has been struggling at the box office, with several recent flops, making it crucial for James Gunn to successfully rebuild the universe with the DCU.
- Blue Beetle’s poor box office performance could be indicative of the challenges Gunn will face in establishing his new universe, given dwindling interest in DC heroes and the character’s lack of popularity.
- While there are references to Superman and other DC heroes in Blue Beetle, the film’s events may not necessarily be tied to the DCEU, leaving room for creative flexibility and potential connections to the DCU.
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Audiences’ interest in the DCEU has diminished over the last few years, and the latest DC box office flop of Blue Beetle will haunt James Gunn while he tries to rebuild the universe. The DCEU has been in turmoil as it travels toward its conclusion. Since Aquaman, no DCEU film has made over $400 million worldwide, and Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and The Flash were just the latest of several DCEU movies that bombed at the box office. Gunn and Peter Safran are rebooting the universe as the DCU, but there are signs it could have a rocky start.
Blue Beetle is the latest DC bomb at the box office, only garnering $125 million worldwide on a $104 million budget. While it’s unclear if the movie is in the DCU, Gunn confirmed that Xolo Mariduena’s Blue Beetle will be the first character in the new franchise. There are several reasons the film didn’t perform well at the box office, such as dwindling interest in DC heroes and the character’s lack of popularity. However, a few reasons for Blue Beetle’s poor performance could be foreshadowing other issues that Gunn will have a hard time escaping while building his universe.
Related: Every Upcoming DC Movie In 2023 And Beyond
Blue Beetle’s Man Of Steel Reference Shows Just How Hard Escaping The DCEU Is
Superman does get a few shout-outs in Blue Beetle. When Jaime first gets his powers, he compares himself to Superman, considering his ability to fly and newfound strength. There is also a billboard that mentions Lexcorp, the company owned by Lex Luthor. Other superheroes in the DCEU also get mentioned, including Batman and The Flash. Additionally, there are references to Gotham and Central City, where Batman and The Flash protect their citizens.
The references to Superman and DC heroes do create some confusion. If Jaime is the first DC character in Gunn’s new canon universe, it’s unclear why are there still references to other heroes. Fortunately, there is some leeway around this. In Blue Beetle, none of the references are specifically to the DCEU versions of these characters. It doesn’t show Henry Cavill or mention any of the events in which he was involved. Gunn confirmed Superman: Legacy will not be an origin story, so Blue Beetle could take place in the DCU if superheroes already exist within this world.
The DCU/DCEU Confusion Won’t Get Easier Anytime Soon
While the DCEU is coming to a close, anyone who isn’t following the situation closely might still be confused in future projects. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is the final DCEU movie, but audiences may be unsure about how important it is or if Jason Momoa will continue playing the character after this sequel. While not everyone knows the upcoming DCU, The Flash and Shazam! Fury of the Gods suffered at the box office partly due to the confusion over what is canon moving forward.
Another reason for confusion is that a few actors will carry over to Gunn’s DCU. Gunn recently announced that three actors would not be recast: Xolo Maridueña as Blue Beetle, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and John Cena as Peacemaker. The Guardians of the Galaxy director also confirmed that a Peacemaker season 2 will arrive someday, and Waller will lead her own series on Max. While it’s great to keep top-tier talent like Cena and Waller, this might raise more questions as both of these characters were directly tied to the DCEU. If these actors are staying, Gunn will have to figure out some way to connect them to his new universe.
Putting The DCEU To Rest Will Be Crucial For The DC Universe
In terms of interest from audiences, the DCEU is dead. Its recent movies have all been flops, including Black Adam, which couldn’t be saved by a not-so-secret return from Cavill’s Superman. The only DC characters that are delivering at the box office are Batman and Joker as Joker made over $1 billion at the box office and The Batman made over $770 million. However, those films are in their own separate universes.
Gunn is planning to bring a different Batman into the DCU with The Brave and the Bold, but it will have to find success before that with other characters. It might take some time for audiences to make the transition from the DCEU to the DCU, and the success of Superman: Legacy will be pivotal in differentiating the two cinematic worlds.
Key Release Dates
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Release Date: 2023-12-20
- Joker: Folie a Deux Release Date: 2024-10-04
- Superman: Legacy Release Date: 2025-07-11
- The Batman – Part II Release Date: 2025-10-03