How “Justice League” could beat “VIII”

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens was released to the highest-grossing opening weekend ever. There is no further proof needed than that of a film being the most anticipated in history. And yet, Avatar is still the top-grossing film of all time, which a lot of people expected to be dethroned by Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. And when that didn’t happen, the Star Wars franchise became fallible. Despite the box office results being amongst the best, it wasn’t the best ever. Which means that there is a margin, however small, that Star Wars can under-perform at the box office, even if only slightly. And that makes 2017’s cinematic landscape very interesting for the way VIII could be beaten on the year-end chart. If any film is to beat Star Wars at the box office, it would need to be critic proof, and highly-anticipated as part of a franchise. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the go-to for that criteria, there is another franchise that is even more iconic, and possesses all the potential needed to be even bigger than this year’s Star Wars Episode: the DC Extended Universe. So far, Man of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have been perhaps the most divisive films ever, and have all performed below expectations, which has been attributed to consistently negative reviews for all three. In 2017, the DC Extended Universe is to release Wonder Woman, which will tell the origin story of the character to be featured later this year in Justice League – and that is all that is needed. DC’s films’ weaknesses are also their strengths: they’re experimental. It could be the case that Warner Bros. haven’t yet found a strategy that works, but after three films, it’s not unreasonable to consider that maybe their fourth will be the one that finds a happy medium between critics and audiences. That would combine positive reviews with enthusiastic word-of-mouth, giving DC its first modern film that is received well for the most part. If this is the case, Wonder Woman isn’t the film that will beat VIII – Wonder Woman is one character, and Star Wars is an ensemble of many iconic characters. But DC’s biannual release schedule could be their best decision, because if Wonder Woman nails it, the effect should not be underestimated. All of a sudden, faith is restored in the DC Extended Universe, on both sides, and Warner Bros. could establish the kind of fan-base for those films that isn’t present so far. This means that Justice League would become more hyped than currently, because DC will have proven their ability to make a film that pleases audiences and critics equally. Plus, if this version of Wonder Woman is popular with audiences as a character, those approving audiences would be brought over to Justice League on account of Gal Gadot’s inclusion. That, combined with DC’s preexisting fan-base, and the similarity in premise between Justice League and Marvel’s The Avengers [UK title: Marvel Avengers Assemble] would attract different kind of viewers, and combine them. Not to mention that Batman is arguably more iconic as a character than all the best Star Wars characters combined. The first film to feature the Avengers together was 2012’s highest-grossing film. Those kind of numbers could be repeated for Justice League. But all of it depends on Wonder Woman; if Wonder Woman crushes, Justice League is suddenly given the boost that could propel DC into the small space that stands between Star Wars and stardom. That space is there, but nobody has yet filled it (Rogue One doesn’t count, because that’s an Anthology). Beating Star Wars at the box office is like firing a proton torpedo into the Death Star’s exhaust chute: it’s only been done successfully once, but it can be done. Justice League stands the best chance – but it needs Wonder Woman to vouch for it.

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Author: alexsigsworth

Basically... run.

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