DC are having a relatively quiet couple of years between now and 2018. Marvel have six superhero movies coming out this year and the next; DC have three, and they need those movies — Wonder Woman, Justice League and Aquaman — to be great. In fact, they have to make so many Sickles and Galleons that multiple vaults at Gringotts are required to store all the riches, guarded by a dragon (or Geoff Johns).
There's been a lot of talk of how #JusticeLeague could (and has to) be the DCEU's biggest movie, but bearing in mind that Batman v Superman made an eye-watering $873 million and was still considered kind of a disappointment, the reality is that Zack Snyder's super-pricey team-up epic essentially needs to make at least $1 billion. That's Dark Knight/Civil War territory. No pressure, right?
Let's dig out our crystal balls and answer the question of whether Justice League will be the movie to put Zack Snyder's handsome face on a billion-dollar bill.
How Big Will It Open?
Batman v Superman opened to $166 million last March. Justice League opens the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, which proved a good slot for Fantastic Beasts last year. The return of the main trio from BvS, plus the mystery of how Superman will be resurrected, and the introduction of Aquaman (highly likely to be JL's big breakout character) should guarantee that it opens with a minimum of $150 million in the US.
Do Critics' Reviews Matter?
If you listen to DC fanboys, no, not at all. But it's easy to see from the steep decline of BvS after opening weekend that negative critical reviews can have a major impact. That said, Suicide Squad actually held up pretty well despite being savaged, so maybe it's equally important for Justice League's trailers and TV spots to keep their fun tone across the summer — banter in, gloom and doom out.
#WonderWoman comes out in June, and that'll be an interesting litmus test both in terms of whether DC's trailers actually start resembling the movies they're selling, and whether the DCEU is seriously trying to fix its problems. If worst comes to worst and Wonder Woman is a straight-up disaster zone, the public might start to lose patience with the DCEU.
It's worth remembering that critics don't actually hate DC (even if they do give Marvel movies like Doctor Strange a free pass for being brainless) — but the bar has been set so high with Nolan's Batman saga that greatness is demanded.
More Justice League:
- Here's Your New Timeline Of DC Movies From Now To 2020
- 'Justice League' Needs To Break Zack Snyder's Biggest Bad Habit
- News, Spoilers & Everything You Need To Know About DC's 'Aquaman'
Justice League opens just two weeks after Thor: Ragnarok, which itself will be pretty big, so to steal audiences away it needs to be the very best of what Snyder can do. (No "Martha!" moments, in other words.)
At the start of 2017 I predicted that Justice League would bring home $925 million, which would be an improvement on Batman v Superman (but arguably still not enough for DC). Right now I stand by that, but if critics are kinder to Snyder's movie this time round, it could easily open with $180 million and cross the big 1 billion mark.
I want Justice League to be great, and I want Zack Snyder to pay off his mortgage. Fingers crossed.
Will Justice League break a billi and really bring the fight to Marvel?