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‘Superman’s’ Huge Budget Shows Hollywood Hasn’t Learned Its Lesson

James Gunn's superhero reboot breaks the bank at worst possible time

The 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot cost Sony a reported $70 million, stalling the franchise in the process.

The film brought it $128 million stateside and $100 million more overseas. So why all that red ink? The film cost too much, and the box office receipts couldn’t split the difference.

The 2021 redo, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” earned roughly the same domestically yet spawned the upcoming “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.”


Why? The latter film’s budget proved far more economical ($75 million vs. the 2016 film’s $144 million price tag)

You don’t need an abacas to figure out Hollywood’s problem. Spend less on blockbuster films and, chances are, you’ll make a bigger profit. Or lose less of your shirt.

Horror films squared this circle some time ago, and genre films routinely make bank. Even “Lisa Frankenstein,” an early 2024 dud ($9 million), won’t crush its studio thanks to its $13 million budget.

Tell that to the team behind “Superman.”

Director James Gunn’s ambitious Man of Steel reboot will set back the studio a reported $363 million.

The film, starring David Corenswet as the guy from Krypton, hopes to reboot the DCEU after “Black Adam,” “Blue Beetle,” “The Flash” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” all under-performed. 

No pressure, Mr. Gunn.


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A post shared by James Gunn (@jamesgunn)

Except Gunn’s creative team has made a terrible mistake in starting production with a sky-high budget. Gunn himself quasi-denied it, but the numbers appear legit.

Films featuring the Superman character aren’t guaranteed to earn the kind of money Warner Bros. needs to overcome that gargantuan budget.

The 2016 film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” earned $867 million globally, but the Chinese box office no longer generates the kind of money that boosts studio coffers. (China added nearly $100 million to that tally)

The 2017 film “Justice League,” an ensemble adventure featuring Superman, earned $661 million in toto.

Can Superman Defeat Sky-High Budgets?

Superhero fatigue is real, and we no longer see the massive box office results for films featuring colorfully clad heroes.

In short, “Superman” is starting at a distinct disadvantage. Couldn’t Warner Bros. remind us a man can fly for a smaller price point?

Recent films like “The Creator” ($80 million) and “Godzilla Minus One” (less than $15 million) proved blockbuster movies don’t have to break the bank to look spectacular.

All of this comes as other high-budgeted films have struggled to make a profit despite extensive franchise ties. Think “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “Fast X,” “The Flash” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Vol. 1.”

Indiana Jones - Destined To Flop

All underwhelmed at the box office, making it hard for their respective studios to see a profit.

The problem is real, and it’s not going away. That’s especially true given the fickle nature of today’s theatrical audience.

Gunn, a shrewd storyteller and industry veteran, should know better than to proceed with such a staggering price tag. Will it take a few more box office fails before industry executives start paring down those super-sized budgets?

If “Superman” falls, it could be the industry’s belated wake-up call.

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash


  1. It will be a disaster without Henry Cavill. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy 3 was barely profitable. $363 million means Superman must make $1.1 Billion to break even at the box office. This just doesn’t happen much anymore.

  2. Remember when Hollywood was Spencer Tracy, Paul Newman, John Wayne? Class, elegance, culture, good movies. Hollywood went Woke. They want feminist, went over the line with gay movies, wanted to be inclusive and let the black people in, now shocked to get Niggaz Wit Attitudes violence and cultural decline.

  3. Give us a good super hero movie and we’ll pony up the bucks.

    Sprinkle in any amount of woke-lecturing and “lackluster results” are what you can expect.

    It’s not super-hero-fatigue. It’s agenda-exhaustion.

    But Hollyweird won’t change. The entire town is a cult.

  4. It’s unsurprising as they never admitted how much $ was spent on “Returns.” Lots of $ was spent in pre production.

  5. I’ll be going to the movie to see the transgendered Lois Lane, Clark Kent’s black girlfriend and a proud, plus-sized non-binary Jimmy Olson.

  6. Gunn has debunked the story that the budget is that large. Please do your research before writing up a story that fits your agenda

    1. Reread the article again stupid. You’ll discover that the writer clearly addresses your garbage. But nice try…

    2. He provided the link that proves the budget is correct. So unless WB is lying to the government about their tax returns then the 360 million price tag is correct. This is all public information and James Gunn is a proven lier. Maybe do your research before posting an idiotic comment.

    3. A dude denying something is not debunking it. Christian doesn’t have an agenda on this topic. He has an opinion that states studios could spend less on films and will likely get a better return because of it. Sounds very feasible.

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