The DC Extended Universe is fizzling out as The Flash just dropped 75% from its previous week’s box office take. The movie that James Gunn once drummed up "one of the greatest superhero movies ever" is looking more and more like a box office bomb at this point - and the DC co-CEO had some choice words for recent films in the genre generally speaking too.
DC has had a string of three underperforming superhero movies with Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and The Flash. Warner Bros Discovery will likely lose money this year unless Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom can turn things around.
Gunn is clearly not happy with how things are going and has called out the people making superhero films during a recent interview on the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast. The director said that creators "have gotten really lazy" in making superhero movies. He also said that companies have been focused on making sequels just because the previous movie performed well.
"But I think that what’s happened is, people have gotten really lazy with their superhero stories," the Guardians of the Galaxy series director said. "And they have gotten to the place where, 'Oh, it’s a superhero, let’s make a movie about it.'"
"And they make, ‘Oh, let’s make a sequel, because the first one did pretty well,’ and they aren’t thinking about, 'Why is this story special? What makes this story stand apart from other stories? What is the story at the heart of it all? Why is this character important? What makes this story different that it fills a need for people in theaters to go see? Or on television?'"
Gunn specifically narrowed it down to the third act of superhero movies. He noticed that many movies have a lot of things going on - too many things, based on broader recent criticisms - but there is no "rhyme or reason to what’s happening."
"And I think that it’s just that… people have gotten a little lazy and there’s a lot of biff, pow, bam stuff happening in movies and I’m watching third acts of superhero films where I really just don’t feel like there’s a rhyme or reason to what’s happening… I don’t care about the characters. And they’ve gotten too generic."
Gunn explains that recent films have been "middle-of-the-road" kind of movies that does not explore different genres. He adds that creators just want to tell the same story over and over. Much of this reads like the telltale signs of genre fatigue.
"There’s this sort of middle-of-the-road, type of genre/tone that so many superhero movies have as opposed to having very different genres. I mean, I like very serious superhero movies, I like very comedic superhero movies, I like ones that are a murder mystery but it’s with superheroes. I like to see these different types of stories, as opposed to seeing the same story told over and over again."
James Gunn and Peter Safran have a huge responsibility in turning things around for DC Studios. The director recently shared that Blue Beetle will be the first character for the new DC Universe and Superman: Legacy will be the first film for the new cinematic universe.
Gunn will be taking the lead in Superman: Legacy, serving as writer and director for the movie. Superman: Legacy hits theaters is coming to theaters on July 11, 2025.