People seem to get touchy about this but above all else, it seems that audience tastes are moving away from superheroes for the first time in a long time. The presumed era of superhero dominance is officially over. Are superhero movies still going to be successful sometimes? Absolutely. Just look at “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” or, to a lesser degree, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” But four DC movies flopped this year, and Disney suffered a very painful flop with “The Marvels” just last month. Again, that was a big sequel to a movie that made more than $1 billion. Sure, the Screen Actors Guild strike got in the way of promotional cycles for some of these movies, but that hardly explains the steep drop-off we’re seeing.
Looking even more broadly, many audience members who used to go to the movies before the pandemic have still yet to return. And those who used to go to theaters more regularly are now being more selective. Blame the advent of streaming and the rise of premium VOD. Blame home theaters that have become so damn good the need for the theatrical experience is dampened. A variety of factors are at play here but audience habits are changing. That’s something Hollywood needs to make its peace with and combat in the coming years. This movie’s performance is evidence of that.
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is in theaters now.