A lot of people like Avengers: Infinity War. I'm one of them. In fact, I like it enough that I saw it twice and consider it the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
At no point though, in the middle of the record-breaking success and acclaim that the movie generated, was I once worried about the effect it would have on my favorite shared universe comic book movie franchise, the DC Extended Universe. Why should I be? Infinity War is a Marvel Studios film, heavily hyped and highly anticipated with at least six years of character and story buildup to it. It is literally the culmination of ten years of the MCU's existence and has nothing directly to do with the DCEU at all.
Apparently, the Internet largely disagrees:
That's not counting all of the posts that featured the DC logo falling prey to Thanos and the result of his "consequences" in the movie. Pretty clear where people stand on this. Again.
Now, it would be really easy to just make this a post about trolls and the attention that they are desperately seeking by tweeting this stuff, or about how the fact that they are using Infinity War as an opportunity to take potshots at DC just proves how much they actually care about DC in spite of many of them denying it. But we're not going to talk about that here.
We're going to talk about how wrong all of these people are, whether they were joking in hyperbolic fashion or not. Infinity War does not damage the DCEU in the slightest, nor will it ever. The DCEU never died, isn't dying now and won't be dying in the future, especially not because of Marvel's grand and glorious crossover film.
I'm usually not one that calls opinions wrong because I believe that subjective opinions are never right or wrong, but in this case the idea that the DCEU should cease out of embarrassment or that Infinity War laid waste to it is beyond illogical. Here's why:
For one thing, there's only one way that Infinity War affects DC directly, and that's in displaying that superhero fatigue hasn't happened yet. Not by a long shot. At the time of this posting, Infinity War was racing toward a billion dollars worldwide within a week. Now, you can focus on the fact that it outgrossed Justice League's entire run in one weekend, or you could be an adult about the situation and realize that Infinity War's box office, coupled with Black Panther's $1.3 billion and still counting box office haul proves that audiences are still turning out front and center for superhero movies. In no way shape or form does that hurt DC, especially since they didn't release a single movie at the same time as either of those Marvel movies and didn't potentially lose money in the process. No, this is one of those times where DC steered clear of Marvel Studios' assembly line and it won't impact them at the box office, like Thor: Ragnarok likely did with Justice League. You might look at that as a sign of weakness than they haven't released any movies yet this year, but the reality is that it's smart business not to go head to head with your competition. Marvel understands this as well, which is why they don't do it either.
So since superhero fatigue is clearly not in play here, this bodes well for DC releasing Aquaman later this year and Shazam in April 2019. One would also think that buzz about Infinity War would translate to its sequel, currently known as Avengers 4 and if that ends up being another mega-hit for the MCU then it bodes well for the release of Wonder Woman 2 in November 2019, a sequel to a movie that earned $821.8 million at the box office last year for DC, which brings us to another reason the franchise isn't budging: money.
On average, a DCEU film makes $753.7 million. That's an average over five films released between 2013 and 2017, four of which were critically panned and only one of which is truly considered a "bomb." That would be Justice League, which had an undisclosed budget between $200 and $300 million and only made $657.9 million. It's the lowest grossing movie in the franchise. Man of Steel, the first film in the franchise, made $668 million worldwide, while the much maligned and polarizing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made $873.3 million worldwide. A lot of people have claimed that it only made that much because of the hype behind it, which not only ignores all of the negative press and buzz before it but also ignores Suicide Squad's $746.8 million earned worldwide just months later. That movie was also critically panned, yet still made nearly three-quarters of a billion without a release in China, the second largest movie market in the world. We can only imagine how much money it would have made had it been released there.
Then came Wonder Woman's success months before Justice League's troubled and tortured production hit theaters. The point is, it's not all hype that anyone watches DCEU movies. They do in fact make money to the tune of $3.7 billion worldwide in just its first five films and when you consider the critical panning, the ridicule and unprofessional behavior exhibited toward the franchise and its creators from critics, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters and others in the industry, it's frankly remarkable that the franchise has made as much as it has in the short time it has existed. Why is that, though?
It's because of the ultimate reason that the DCEU will "survive" Infinity War, which is that most people do in fact care about DC and will turn out to see the movies. One of the things that has "cursed" the DCEU is the decades of history from previous DC movies that people have latched onto for dear life and consider the "true" interpretations of their favorite characters, most notably Christopher Reeve's Superman from 1978. On the other hand, it is also one of DC's most beneficial assets because they've been making movies for a generation or two now and have built a history that the public identifies with beyond the comics, which have also existed for an even longer time than the movies. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are some of the most recognizable characters in pop culture history and while many would claim that such popularity makes it "easy" for one of their movies to gross a billion dollars, it's really a case where the ease is making a movie that will make money no matter what. Whether it makes a billion or not depends on how much the audience likes and trusts that interpretation. Clearly that hasn't happened yet, but also clearly the audience is waiting for an opportunity to do it.
People love the DC characters and heroes, bar none. There's really no disputing this when you look at how long they have all been around. Superman just turned 80 years old this year. Batman is 79 this year. Wonder Woman will be 77 this year. The Flash is even 78 years old and Aquaman will be 77 this year as well. These are how long these characters have existed since their very first appearance in comics. You don't get to be around this long without being popular and relevant with a loyal and interested fanbase. Those people are waiting for the movies to come out and want every opportunity to love them to death, which is really why the DCEU won't ever go under, especially not at the hands of a movie from a "rival" franchise.
What Marvel Studios has done has been nothing short of impressive over a decade, that is undeniable. Infinity War is already a massive success for them and will continue to be and the MCU will continue to be a pillar of strength for a while. None of that means that the DCEU, which is still relatively an infant franchise at only five movies released, cannot earn similar success and stability in the long run. If the franchise has made billions to this point in the middle of being laughed at by so many, and if the characters have been around long enough that loyal fanbases are ready and waiting to enjoy the next films that they put out, then you don't toss out the opportunity to do so just because the other franchise is breaking records right now. So whether it's meant as hyperbole or not, Infinity War does nothing to "kill" the DCEU and it never will. So don't let the fanboys tell you any different. Just keep your head down and aim for December 21 when the next DCEU movie comes out, proving just how alive that still young franchise really is.