- Following Aquaman 2, all direct DCEU sequels have made less money than their predecessors, continuing and completing a disappointing trend.
- External factors, such as the pandemic and the upcoming DCU reboot, have affected overall box office performance.
- The DCEU’s sequel numbers are not as bad as they appear, considering the circumstances surrounding their releases.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s low box office performance completes a shocking trend for the DCEU as a whole. As the final film in the interconnected universe before the DCU reboot coming from James Gunn and Peter Safran, Aquaman 2 sees Jason Momoa returning as Arthur Curry’s Aquaman who reunites with his half-brother to prevent a global meltdown, a followup to the first Aquaman which made over a billion dollars back in 2018. However, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has ended up following an unfortunate trend when it comes to all of the DCEU’s sequels.
From 2013’s Man of Steel to 2023’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the entire DCEU consists of 15 films within its established continuity. Of those 15, four were produced as direct sequels. While the hope with sequels is always to get a similar level of return and financial success, this was not the case, Likewise, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom continues the unfortunate trend where every direct DCEU sequel made less than the movie that came before it. However, there are some notable external factors explaining why that is.
How To Watch DCEU Movies In Order (By Release Date & Chronologically)
The DCEU’s timeline may be about to be rebooted in the DC Universe, but here’s how to watch the DCEU in release order or chronological order.
Every DCEU Sequel Made Less Money Than Its Predecessor
Not A Pretty Picture On The Surface
First Movie Worldwide Box Office
Second Movie Worldwide Box Office
Suicide Squad (2016): $745,744,980
The Suicide Squad (2021): $167,097,737
Wonder Woman (2017): $817,691,766
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020): $166,360,232
Aquaman (2018): $1,143,758,700
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023): $338,134,167
Shazam! (2019): $363,563,907
Shazam! Fury of The Gods (2023): $132,276,175
Although Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice resembles a Man of Steel sequel, it doesn’t quite count. Firstly, it’s not a sequel in title, and it’s more akin to a team-up movie than anything else. There was also a significant fan campaign for Man of Steel 2 long after Batman v Superman, supporting the idea that it was never considered a true sequel.
Excluding the prelude feature to Justice League in the DCEU, it’s quite surprising that every single DCEU sequel performed much lower than its predecessor, particularly when it comes to the Aquaman franchise with the original making over a billion while the new sequel only made just over 300 million at the worldwide box office. The same is true for every DCEU sequel domestically as well. The closest a sequel got to even meeting its predecessor’s numbers was Shazam! Fury of the Gods, though that’s not saying much as both films are on the lower end when it comes to the DCEU’s overall box office returns.
Why DCEU Sequel Numbers Aren’t Quite As Bad As They Look
There Are Some Notable Caveats
Although the numbers look pretty bleak for the DCEU’s sequels, it’s also important to remember how many external factors affected almost every single one. After all, both Wonder Woman 1984 and The Suicide Squad were released during the pandemic with hybrid theater and home releases, something that absolutely affected their box office performance. Additionally, both Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom were released well after the new DCU reboot was announced by Gunn and Safran, leading many DC fans to question how worthwhile seeing either project really was, let alone seeing them in the theaters.