So you’ve been looking into DC’s highest grossing movies of all time? Well, we’re here to help. But before we get into the list, it’s common knowledge that many DC movies don’t always receive the attention they deserve, or average fans or casual observers overlook them.
Anyway, we’re not here to ponder why this is the case. We’ll be listing DC’s highest grossing movies according to their box office returns.
1. Aquaman (2018)
- Worldwide Gross: $1.148B
- Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lindgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Kidman.
Aquaman is an American superhero movie released in 2018 based on the character of the same name from the DC comics. It is also the 6th movie in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).
Arthur Curry is born to Atlanna, the underwater queen, and Thomas Curry, a lighthouse keeper, making him a half-breed.
He denies Atlantis after discovering that the King of Atlantis killed his mother after capturing her. Arthur joins forces with Mera, his brother’s betrothed, to Usurp Orm’s (Arthur’s half-brother) plan to become ocean master by destroying the surface world and uniting the four underwater kingdoms. He assumes his rightful position as king of Atlantis after retrieving the trident.
Aquaman is number one on our list of DC’s highest grossing movies after it had a worldwide gross of $1.148 billion against a budget of $160 million – $200 million.
Its success is attributed to Momoa’s performance and Wan’s direction, even though critics believe the dialogue and rhythm are ridiculous.
2. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Worldwide Gross:$873.6M
- Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot.
Batman V Superman is a superhero movie released in 2016 based on Superman and Batman characters. It is the sequel to Man of Steel (2013) and is the second movie in the DCEU.
Superman (Henry Cavill) has been compromised after his battle with Zod, and Batman (Ben Affleck) is wary of him after witnessing the fight and the destruction that followed.
Lex Luthor is able to manipulate their distrust for each other to get them to battle. When that fails, he unleashes a monster with fatal results.
The movie performed terribly at the box office for a blockbuster after it saw a very high decline after its first week at the box office.
Critics, however, praised Affleck and Gadot’s performances. It grossed $873.6 million against a $230 – $300 million budget and was able to break even.
3. Wonder Woman (2017)
- Worldwide Gross: $821.8M
- Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Husten, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya.
Wonder Woman is about the female superhero character of the same name from the DC Comics, and it is the fourth installment in the DCEU. Wonder Woman made her first live-action appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Diana and her fellow kinswomen(the Amazons) are living an everyday life away from the outside world until a pilot crashes on her side of the world.
After learning of the conflicts in the outside world, Diana leaves to help them and realizes her destiny to be Wonder Woman.
The movie grossed a total of $821.8 million worldwide against a $120-$150 million budget making it one of the most valuable blockbusters.
Critics praised it, naming it DCEU’s best movie based on the chemistry between Gadot and Pine.
4. Suicide Squad (2016)
- Worldwide Grossing: $746.8M
- Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Abbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne.
The movie is one of DC’s highest grossing movies and is the third installment in the franchise. It is about the supervillain team of the same name from the DC Comics.
It grossed $746.8 million worldwide against a $325 million budget but received many bad reviews from critics. Some claimed it was boring and predictable, oops! But a lot of people loved Margot Robbie’s performance.
5. Man of Steel (2013)
- Worldwide Grossing: $668M
- Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shamon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meleni, Russell Crowe.
Kal-El is sent to earth after Krypton is destroyed. He is discovered and adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent. After Jonathan’s death, he encounters his birth father, Jor-El, and learns of his purpose on earth to be their protector.
Zod, a Kryptonian, who was banished from the planet before its destruction, has a different idea for Earth and Superman; with the help of Lois Lane and the military must stop Zod from carrying out his plans.
It grossed a worldwide total of $668 million against a budget of $225-$258 million. Critics bashed Cavill’s portrayal of Superman and Superman’s decision to kill Zod.
6. Justice League (2017)
- Worldwide Grossing: $657M
- Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nelson, J. K. Simmons, Amber Heard
Justice League is the 6th on our list of DC’s highest grossing movies and the DCEU’s 5th installment. It is about the superhero team of the same name from DC Comics.
Batman is inspired by Superman’s selflessness, which motivates him to ask for Wonder Woman’s help to form a team of superheroes to tackle the new threat.
It has a production budget of $300 million and grossed $657 million worldwide, failing to break even. Perhaps its poor performance was due to its deviation from Snyder’s fan expectations or its thin plot. Gadot and Miller were the stars of the show.
7. Shazam (2019)
- Worldwide Grossing: $366M
- Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou.
Shazam is based on the character of the same name from the DC Comics and is the 7th installment in the DCEU. Billy Batson is a problematic young boy, but he receives a purpose after he is chosen by the wizard Shazam as his new companion, and with great power comes great responsibilities and enemies.
It was generally well received by fans and critics alike. All applauded the light and goofy tone it took. It grossed $366M worldwide against a budget of $80M – $100M making it the seventh on the list of DC’s highest grossing movies.
8. Birds of Prey (2020)
- Worldwide Gross: $201M
- Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Joy Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan MC Gregor.
Birds of prey is the eighth movie on our list of the DC’s highest grossing movies, and it is based on the DC comic book team of the same name. It is also the eighth movie in the DCEU. After Harley Quinn gets dumped by the Joker, she becomes a prime target for Gotham’s gangsters, especially Roman Sionis.
She joins forces with Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya to save a girl, Cassandra, who has become Roman’s target after she steals a diamond containing sensitive information.
Margot’s role as Harley Quinn was well praised by critics and fans alike, but the movie couldn’t break even after grossing $201M worldwide.
9. The Suicide Squad (2021)
- Worldwide Gross: $167.4M
- Starring: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, and Peter Capaldi.
The Suicide Squad, like its 2016 release, is based on the Suicide Squad team from DC comics, and it is DCEU’s tenth installment.
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits a bunch of super-villains from Belle Reve once again in exchange for a shorter sentence.
This time they’re on a mission to the island of Corto Maltese with the sole purpose of destroying a Nazi laboratory housing the starfish project. They end up making fascinating discoveries during their outing.
It grossed $167.4M worldwide, even lower than its production budget of $185M. It was a colossal box office disappointment.
This failure was attributed to the pandemic, the fact that it was available on HBO Max on its release, and because it deviated entirely from 2016’s suicide squad plot.
10. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
- Worldwide Gross: $166.8M
- Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen.
Last and unfortunately, the least on the list of DC’s highest grossing movies we have WW 1984. Based on the DC comic heroine of the same name, it is the ninth movie in DCEU and a sequel to 2017s Wonder Woman.
Diana (Wonder Woman) is working as an archaeologist at the Smithsonian museum with a colleague, Barbara, when they discover an ancient artifact (diamond) that grants the holder one wish.
They are both granted their wishes, though they didn’t deliberately make them. A failing businessman gets hold of the stone and wishes to become the stone, and this turns out to be more than he bargained for.
Ultimately leading to a lot of chaos, it’s now left to Wonder Woman to find a way to fix the mess and restore balance. The movie grossed $166.8M worldwide and wasn’t as well-received as its first outing, with critics saying the storyline was cliche.
Overall, Aquaman and Batman V Superman are top on the list of DC’s highest grossing movies, even though Batman V Superman brought its fair share of controversy.
It’s interesting to see how well and poorly some of DC’s films performed at the box office. In the meantime, we are excited to see what new movies DCEU will be launching in the coming years.