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Did Marvel Or DC Have 2023’s Biggest Superhero Movie Flop?

In 2023, Disney and Warner Bros. had some of their biggest bombs during the so-called era of “superhero fatigue,” where audiences were vocal about their apparent weariness of the genre. That year, both studios scored a series of spectacular duds at the box office, with Marvel Studios’ only major winner being “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which grossed $845 million. While that’s a commendable number, the film failed to outgross its predecessor.  The studio also released “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” to mediocre reception, with the threequel grossing just under $465 million. Compared to previous hauls and box office highs, Marvel Studios was doing poorly, with their setbacks even more pronounced once “The Marvels” hit the screen. 

Audiences showed considerable indifference to DC flicks as well, with Warner Bros. releasing four films last year: “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash,” “Blue Beetle,” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” — all of them except for “Aquaman” either bombed or underperformed. At least the abysmal run of “The Flash” was partially saved, thanks to decent VOD receipts. While the DC brand hasn’t been as prolific when compared to Marvel’s offerings, these back-to-back disappointments are no doubt telling that audience tastes have changed. 

Ultimately, both studios are doing their darndest to get butts back into seats and revive the old days of billion-dollar hauls. And with “Deadpool & Wolverine” and “Superman” on the horizon, Marvel and DC could receive bona fide hits to reignite excitement. 

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