The DC Extended Universe may still be looking for its first critical hit, but the franchise has done very well commercially. This year, both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad grossed high numbers, with the latter being a rare bright spot at the summer box office. Opening to record figures in August, David Ayer’s villain/anti-hero team-up scored an impressive $745.2 million globally. In terms of the domestic charts, the film currently ranks as the eighth-highest earning movie of 2016 with $324.7 million. It ended its run as one of the most profitable films of the season, potentially launching a new series starring the colorful collection of characters.
Many were pleased by the film’s performance, including (obviously) distributor Warner Bros., who were very confident in the project’s ability to strike a chord. They had a lot riding on Suicide Squad, and its success brought in a lot of money for WB’s parent company Time Warner. In fact, the corporation’s projected earnings for the fiscal quarter were actually surpassed, with the DCEU deserving part of the credit.
In a report from Variety, it’s stated that for the three-month period that ended in September, revenues rose to $7.2 billion, operating costs increased to $2 billion, and earnings-per-share went to $1.87. Estimates originally indicated that revenue would be a shade under $7 billion, with earnings of $1.37 per share. The film slate had a large role to play in this development, as the period saw $3.4 billion in ticket sales. Suicide Squad was the top gun, but the biopic Sully also grossed more than expected. Though this will likely change soon, director Clint Eastwood’s latest is the only movie this fall to make more than $100 million in America.
There were other factors that contributed to Time Warner’s increased revenues (such as coverage of the presidential election and HBO), however, WB’s output will be key for the company moving forward. As Variety states, the studio had troubles lately due to lucrative cash cows like The Hobbit trilogy and the Harry Potter series coming to an end. They seem to have found a stable franchise that can fill the void; comic book movies are in vogue right now, and there’s much excitement surrounding the Wonder Woman solo movie, Justice League, and Ben Affleck’s The Batman. The DCEU may have some kinks to work out still, but it’s clear there’s a sizable audience for the property. Combine that with the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, WB is in great shape for the future.
Shortly after Batman V Superman premiered, it was said that WB was going to retool their business strategy to focus more on their established properties, limiting the number of original movies they green light. Being more selective about what gets approved could be beneficial for the studio, since fewer films means a greater chance of turning an overall profit. If that’s the case then there’s no reason why this little hot streak can’t continue into the next decade and put Time Warner back on top.