Ben Affleck's big budget franchise "Justice League" has officially been declared a bomb; now Warner Bros. is scrambling to pick up the pieces.
After just three weeks in release, the big superhero epic that was supposed to compete with Marvel's "Avengers" has grossed just $201 million domestically. Contrast this with other DC titles around this time: "Man of Steel," $256 million; "Batman vs. Superman," $301 million; "Suicide Squad," $270 million; "Wonder Woman," $289 million.
Not even the global box office can save this epic disaster, having grossed a meager $573 million worldwide on a budget of $300 million. While that sounds like a profit, after factoring in marketing costs, theater revenues, and production budgets, the film has yet to break even. On a budget of $300 million, add another $100 million in marketing costs and you have an overhead of $400 million.
Since theater chains split the profits on ticket sales, the movie would have to gross upward of $700 million to get out of the red. Compare that to "Batman v. Superman," which grossed $872.7 million worldwide despite being widely panned by critics.
Given the film's failure, Warner Bros. is cleaning house and has already dismissed two of the executives that were tapped to co-run DC Films. According to Vanity Fair, Warner Bros. Picture Group President Toby Emmerich said the "shift in personnel isn’t entirely a reaction to the disappointing numbers from 'Justice League'" and was in development.
The only clear success for the franchise is "Wonder Woman," which pleased critics and audiences alike while scoring big points at the box office. Actress Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins will be returning to make a "Wonder Woman" sequel.
Most importantly, Ben Affleck in the role of the caped crusader remains questionable amid continued PR fallout from questions surrounding his knowledge about Harvey Weinstein's sexual predation and a few sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Affleck.
"Ben Affleck’s Batman, however, seems not long for the franchise," reports VF. "Though the actor has been going back and forth on his plans for the future of the caped crusader, the loss of his collaborator, Jon Berg, from DC Films seems a clear indicator that Affleck is indeed on his way out—and soon."
When the allegations against Affleck's longtime producer friend Harvey Weinstein first broke, the spotlight quickly found Ben Affleck due to his decades-long friendship with the movie mogul. Despite knowing Weinstein for 20 years, Affleck initially suggested he had not known about Weinstein's alleged behavior. However, one of Weinstein's accusers, Rose McGowan, quickly took to social media to castigate Affleck as a liar.
"'GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT' you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie," McGowan tweeted.
The vultures circling, allegations against Affleck then quickly morphed from lying enabler to fellow harasser as evidence surfaced that he groped actress Hilarie Burton during an episode of TRL in 2003. Though Affleck apologized, more allegations against Affleck sprang forth alleging that he groped women at parties.