The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is an unofficial term used to refer to an American media franchise and shared universe that is centered on a series of superhero films, distributed by Universal Pictures under the Warner Bros. banner and based on characters that appear in American comic booksby DC Comics. The shared universe, much like the original DC Universein comic books and the television programs, was established bycrossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters. The films have been in production since 2011 and in that time Warner Bros. has distributed seven films.
The films are written and directed by a variety of individuals and feature large, often ensemble, casts. Several actors, including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Jared Leto, and Ray Fisher, have appeared in numerous films of the franchise, with continued appearances in sequels planned. In May 2016, DC's chief creative officer Geoff Johns and Warner Bros. executive vice president Jon Berg were appointed to co-run the DC Films division and oversee creative decisions, production and story-arcs in order to create a cohesive overarching plot within the films. In January 2018, Walter Hamada was appointed the president of DC Films, replacing Berg.
The first film in the DCEU was Man of Steel in 2013, followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in 2016, Wonder Woman and Justice League in 2017, Aquaman in 2018, and Shazam! in 2019. The franchise will continue with scheduled release dates forBirds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 in 2020, The Batman, The Suicide Squad and The Flash in 2021, and Aquaman 2 in 2022. A multitude of other projects are in various stages of development.
The series has grossed over $5.17 billion at the global box office, making it the eighth highest-grossing film franchise of all time. However, the DCEU has experienced uneven critical reception. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League were poorly received, while Man of Steel and Aquaman received mixed to positive reviews. Conversely, Wonder Woman and Shazam! were met with critical praise.