'Justice League' Is Officially The Lowest-Grossing DCEU Movie

No one could've predicted this, but Justice League has ended its theatrical run as the lowest-grossing DCEU film to date. Even Suicide Squad somehow made more money than DC's huge superhero team-up film. So what happened with the Justice League box office?

While I wasn't a fan of Justice League, I was all-but-sure that the film would do well at the box office. I was wrong. Justice League has ended its domestic run with $229 million at the domestic box office, bringing it to a grand total of $657 million worldwide. As ScreenCrush points out, this makes Justice League the lowest-grossing film in the DCEU. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice remains the top-grosser, with $873,634,919. Wonder Woman comes in second at $821,847,012. Even Suicide Squad, a film that is god-awful and ten-times worse than Justice League, made more money, with $746,846,894.

If that wasn't embarrassing enough, here's another Justice League box office tidbit for you.

What Went Wrong With Justice League? 

So what happened? While some DCEU fans might want to point fingers at critics and say the bad reviews on Rotten Tomatoes killed Justice League, that can't be true. Justice League currently sits at 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. In contrast, the abysmal DCEU film Suicide Squad has a 26% on RT, and yet it somehow made more money.

This is truly leaving me puzzled. How did a film featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman fare so poorly at the box office? The best answer I can think of: marketing. Suicide Squad, while disappointing, had killer marketing. I hated the film, but I'll freely admit the trailers were very entertaining. So entertaining, in fact, that they made me hope that the end result would be a pleasant surprise.

The marketing for Justice League, however, left a lot to be desired. For one thing, the tone of the trailers was all over the place. After the success of the hopeful, uplifting Wonder Woman, DC and Warner Bros. realized that they needed to steer the dark and dreary tone of the DCEU towards the light. As a result, the various trailers for Justice League tried to balance the dark and gritty look of the film with light-hearted jokes – jokes that ultimately fell flat. It gave Justice League an unbalanced, confusing atmosphere.

Henry Cavill's Superman died at the end of Batman v Superman, and while everyone and their mother knew the character would return for Justice League, the bulk of the marketing kept the character out of sight. On one level, I get why this was done. Someone, somewhere, thought that keeping Supes out of the trailers would make his reemergence in Justice League seem more powerful. But it didn't work. Instead, it just left a big, Superman-sized hole in all the marketing. People want Superman on the big screen – now more than ever. They need the hope that that character brings. Alas, the marketing department for Justice League never got that.