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“Aquaman” leads “Batman v Superman” as highest grossing DCEU film

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“Aquaman” is the highest-grossing DCEU (DC Extended Universe) film, leading the pecking order with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” coming close. How do your favourite films from this comic universe rank? Here is a complete list of all the highest-grossing DCEU films from bottom to top:

9. Wonder Woman 1984

Gal Gadot Wonder Woman 1984 Salary Is $10 Million, Over 30x First Film |  IndieWire

Earning $166.3 million in the Box office, the 2020 “Wonder Woman 1984” film was released in December before cinemas opened fully, and it was available for streaming on HBO Max. The circumstances explain why the film failed to break even despite being the most-watched straight-to-streaming title of 2020.

Of course, the film faced its share of criticism for being overly dependent on cliches, but its commercial failure was squarely due to cinemas being closed. American firm, Nielsen Media Research, claimed that there were about 14.9 million complete plays of the 151-minute film.

8. Birds of Prey

"Aquaman" leads "Batman v Superman" as highest grossing DCEU film

“Birds of Prey” was released at the end of January 2020 worldwide and 7 February 2020 in the US. It grossed $201 million and had the lowest opening for a DC film since the commercial failure of “Jonah Hex” in 2010.

Surprisingly, its poor Box office outing did not reflect on its reviews. It holds an approval rating of 78% based on 427 reviews, with an average rating of 6.80/10. On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, based on 59 critic reviews. Only a few critics had something negative to say about the film.

Its low grossing was blamed on the low demand for a stand-alone Harley Quinn film.

7. Shazam!

REVIEW — Shazam! (2019): A New, Joyful Era For D.C. Films

Released in cinemas on 5 April 2019, “Shazam!” earned $366 million, $140.4 million of this coming from the United States and Canada. It is one of DCEU’s most highly rated films for delivering on what it set out to be.

On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an approval rating of 90% with an average rating of 7.30/10, based on 409 reviews. Metacritic reviewers give it a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 53 critics and CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A” on an A+ to F scale.

“Shazam!” brought a lightness and cheerfulness that fans needed to break away from the grimness that the franchise is well known for.

6. Justice League

"Aquaman" leads "Batman v Superman" as highest grossing DCEU film

Although Director Zack Snyder will release his version later in 2021, the 2017 “Justice League” film grossed $657.9 million in the Box office and was still seen as a flop because its break-even point was $750 million.

It marked one of the controversial moments for the DC Extended Universe franchise because the overwhelming number of critics praised the cast for their performances but criticised every other aspect of the film.

On Rotten Tomatoes, “Justice League” got an average rating of 5.3/10 out of 400 reviews, and it did not fare any better on other review websites as well.

5. Man of Steel

WarnerBros.com | Warner Bros. | Man of Steel (2013) | Movies

In 2013, the DCEU debuted its first film, “Man of Steel”, which laid the groundwork for future films from the franchise. It is considered a commercial success, grossing more than $668 million worldwide.

While it met with a fair share of negative criticism, most of the reviews were positive. The film impressed on its opening day, earning $166.6 million and making it the third-highest of 2013, behind “Iron Man 3” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”.

4. Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad movie review & film summary (2016) | Roger Ebert

“Suicide Squad” is the fourth highest-grossing DCEU film ever, earning $746.8 million in the box office. It finished 2016 as the overall tenth-highest-grossing film and became the first film in the DCEU to win an Academy Award — Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 89th Academy Awards.

It would have ranked higher and earned more if it got a day-and-date release with China, like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” did, at least that is what Forbes claimed at the time. Nevertheless, it earns a fourth-place ranking.

3. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2017) Movie Review

This film is the original version of the 2020 sequel, released in May 2017 and later in China and North America. It was notably banned in Lebanon because the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel asked the Lebanese government’s Ministry of Economy and Trade to do so as its star, Gal Gadot, is a former Israel Defense Forces soldier.

It grossed $821.8 million worldwide, which is massive compared to its estimated production budget of $120–150 million. “Wonder Woman” was ranked as the 6th most profitable release of 2017 with a net worth of $252.9 million.

The film has an approval rating of 93% based on 463 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, while on Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 50 critics.

Gadot and co-star Chris Pine were praised for their performances and the chemistry they displayed in the film.

2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

"Aquaman" leads "Batman v Superman" as highest grossing DCEU film

This film is a follow-up of the 2013 “Man of Steel”, and it grossed a whopping $873.6 million in the Box office after its release. It became Warner Bros. second-highest-grossing film on its opening week with an earning of $422.5 million.

However, critics were not impressed with it, and it got an average rating of 5/10 and an approval rating of 29% based on 430 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Likely, its early massive earning was from the excitement of seeing the two major DCEU characters go head-to-head. After the first viewing, people were not very interested in re-watching it. The film posted an outrageous 81.2% Friday-to-Friday drop, setting a new record for a comic book adaptation film. It further fell by 69.1% in its second weekend.

1. Aquaman

"Aquaman" leads "Batman v Superman" as highest grossing DCEU film

The James Wan-directed-DCEU-film “Aquaman” came out in 2018 to set a record of earning $1.148 billion in the Box office. It became the second-highest-grossing Warner Bros.’ film worldwide behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”. 

It got positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 65% of 406 critics giving it the thumbs up, and 50 critics on the Metacritic website gave it a weighted average score of 55 out of 100.

Despite posting huge numbers like these, the highest-grossing DCEU film is still a long shot away from touching the monstrous numbers which Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) best films have posted.

5 Comments
  1. Bloms says

    I don’t get how aquaman is number one

  2. Nicky says

    Aquaman, ruling!

  3. Deji says

    That’s crazy!

  4. Tolani says

    Nice.

  5. Bosun says

    Aquaman??? Why???

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