Big budget movies turning a profit is nowhere near as simple as box office returns being sent straight into the studio coffers. There are marketing, promotion, theatrical and distribution costs to consider that see a lot of money being delivered to many different parties with a stake in the project in question, and at the end of the day, a commercial smash hit isn’t always guaranteed to generate a lot of profit.
Zack Snyder’s DCEU blockbusters are a great example of this, given the vast outlays required to bring them to life. If you include both versions of Justice League as the same production from start to finish, then the budget ran up to at least $370 million before marketing, and after the theatrical version disappointed and the Snyder Cut released exclusively on streaming, Warner Bros. never made a single cent on their investment.
Meanwhile, analysts crunched the numbers following the respective releases of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and calculated that the Superman reboot’s net profit was just $42 million, while the follow-up found its way into the black to the tune of $105 million. In short, that’s at least $880 million in budgetary expenses with less than $150 million of profit to show for it, which is why it shouldn’t be a surprise that a new report claims that the SnyderVerse is simply too expensive to continue.
“This is the main reason why the SnyderVerse has to die for WB (in their heads),” says Small Screen. “They see it as being way too expensive a venture for them to carry on. Snyder’s films weren’t cheap to make, and they were only getting more and more expensive for WB. They saw a way out, and they are taking it. As far as WB’s execs are concerned, they had to end it.”
The DCEU’s most profitable movie ever in terms of percentages is actually Shazam!, which is estimated to have earned $74 million net against a $100 million budget. Even Avengers: Endgame‘s net profit was less than $900 million, even though it made a total of almost $2.8 billion in theaters, so funnelling upwards of $200 million into comic book adaptations like Justice League could very well be something that Warner Bros. are looking to move away from.