James Gunn Calls Out “Really Lazy” Superhero Movies as Ticket Sales for The Flash Drop 73 Percent in Second Week

Image: Warner Bros.

DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn has expressed his concerns about the current state of superhero movies, calling some of them “really lazy” and “too generic” in a recent appearance on the Inside of You podcast with Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum. The statements come as ticket sales for The Flash, DC’s new superhero film that couples the speedster with Michael Keaton’s Batman and a new Supergirl played by Sasha Calle, dropped 73 percent in its second week in theaters.

“People have gotten really lazy with their superhero stories,” Gunn said. “And they have gotten to the place where, ‘Oh, it’s a superhero, let’s make a movie about it.’ And then, ‘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?’”

“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,” added Gunn. “And they’ve gotten too generic.”

The solution to the problem? Gunn suggests creating superhero movies of different genres, such as serious, comedic, or even murder mystery films featuring superheroes. This approach would help break away from the “middle-of-the-road” genre and tone that many superhero movies currently have.

“I like very serious superhero movies, and I like very comedic superhero movies,” Gunn explained. “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.”

Gunn, who shot to fame after directing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, also acknowledges that there are too many superhero films and TV shows being produced. However, he assures that the upcoming slate of DC projects will be carefully crafted to ensure quality.

“We’re going to be very careful with the product that we put out and making sure everything is as good as it can possibly be,” Gunn said.

The relaunch of the DC Universe under Gunn and Peter Safran’s leadership will begin with Superman: Legacy, set to be released in July 2025. Other announced DC projects include a Swamp Thing movie, Supergirl: World of Tomorrow, and a TV series titled Lanterns, while sequels to The Batman and The Joker will exist under the DC Elseworlds banner, separate from the main universe.

Additional reading:

  1. https://variety.com/2023/film/news/james-gunn-calls-out-lazy-superhero-movies-bad-third-acts-1235654419/
  2. https://variety.com/2023/film/news/jennifer-lawrence-no-hard-feelings-box-office-opening-the-flash-crashes-1235653983/
  3. https://www.ign.com/articles/james-gunn-calls-out-really-lazy-superhero-movies-why-is-this-story-special
  4. https://www.nme.com/news/film/james-gunn-says-superhero-movies-have-become-really-lazy-3461771
  5. https://ew.com/movies/james-gunn-says-too-many-superhero-movies-have-gotten-really-lazy/
  6. https://gizmodo.com/flash-movie-box-office-disaster-ticket-sales-dc-wb-1850576141

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