Death of the DCEU

The Future of the DCEU and where they go from here.

SCOOP – 10/6/19: As I type this, the Cars’ “Bye Bye Love” is playing on 1st Wave on Sirius XM satellite radio, which seems appropriate considering the topic.

Joker broke the October opening record of Venom this weekend. With its estimated $93 million+ U.S. take, Joker is another nail in the coffin to the shared universe of the DCEU. Joker is a dream come true for WB executives, It had a low budget of approximately $60 million and already an initial global take of around $234 million. There’s no continuity with anything else from DC, which is what WB heads love. No headaches as they never understood the significance of a “shared universe.”

They have no true knowledge of comic books, not shocking as they sat on their own IP’s for ages until Marvel Studios showed them united superheroes can reel in billions. When Batman Vs. Superman and Justice League proved to be back-to-back disappointments, Warner Brothers essentially kissed goodbye to the DCEU. BvS and Justice League weren’t made to “break even”; these were supposed to be MEGA BLOCKBUSTERS such as Infinity War and Endgame. Their budgets were so high that they had a impossible hill to climb and bad reviews plus a turgid audience reaction torpedoed those fantasies.

With nowhere near the budget of Justice League, Joker had a nearly identical opening at the box office — and with an R rating even! Joker was greenlit as an experiment. Free from any shared universe, it allowed WB to release a DC movie without worrying if it acknowledged anything else in their IP’s.

After all, shared cinematic universes requires hiring and trusting professionals with a keen understanding of the comic-book characters they own; patience; hard work; and a serious focus. But let’s not talk about Greg Berlanti right now, shall we?

Aquaman, Birds of Prey, The Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman exist as living fossils of the Snyder Age, but their worlds, from what I’ve been told, will not be crossing into each other anytime soon. Don’t hold your breath. The huge success of Joker is the cement over the coffin of the DCEU. According to multiple insiders at WB (and a few at Disney, who are laughing caustically about what is happening over at the Distinguished Competition), the “Powers That Be” are seeking even more standalone pictures such as Joker that are true to the filmmakers’ vision and not the comics.

Matt Reeves’ Batman trilogy will be self-contained. A new Justice League is not being formed from that. It will be Batman Family if anything. Rumors abound about J.J. Abrams taking over the DCEU. However, that’s mere speculation. Abrams wants to focus more on his own IP’s instead of doing others like Star Trek and Star Wars. Will he change his mind? Maybe, but WB has no interest in trying this again. They will listen to what Abrams has to say if he wants to do it.

The New Gods movie is in a different universe. Supergirl will be in a different universe. But more low-budget movies with no ties such as Joker is what WB is dreaming of. I’m now hearing that WB is interested in dark Lex Luthor movie, R-rated, in which Superman doesn’t exist. A wealthy businessman who becomes…president. Oh boy! WB wants Oscars. If Joker doesn’t get them, they hope Luthor will.

Your fly in the ointment,

Mikey Sutton