The GOP tax plan, which in general benefits the wealthy and corporations, could actually end up having a negative effect on the box office for future DCEU movies. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, talking about a provision in the bill to eliminate the estate tax, told the Des Moines Register today: “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
Ignoring the Senator’s strange perception of what people who aren’t extremely wealthy do with their money — wethinks the Senator doth protest too much — it’s important to discuss how de-incentivizing spending at the box office could negatively impact upcoming DCEU films like Aquaman, Flashpoint, or Man of Steel 2.
Justice League already had a really tough time at the box office. It was the lowest opening DCEU movie of all time, and will likely fail to make a profit for Warner Bros. And that’s with a population, as Senator Grassley believes, that is constantly throwing money away on superhero flicks (amongst other things). If potential moviegoers were instead encouraged to invest their money so that they can pass it on tax-free to descendants, Justice League’s $94 million opening weekend could have been disastrously lower.
All of that doesn’t even take into consideration all of the regularly frugal people who chose to pay money to watch Justice League, despite the negative word of mouth and poor critical reviews, because they were a little bit tipsy. If spending on alcohol decreases, would sober people be as willing to pay money to watch DCEU movies in theaters?
Of course, Republicans holding a strong anti-DCEU bias shouldn’t come as a surprise. President Donald Trump is, after all, close personal friends with Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, who donated millions to Trump’s campaign. We’re not saying that Perlmutter has anything to do with this terrible legislation — in fact, there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that he is — but it’s fair to point out that Marvel stands to benefit from the failure of the DCEU perhaps more than anyone else (other than moviegoers who enjoy good films).
Hopefully, Republicans in Congress think twice before passing this tax plan in its current form. Setting aside the fact that it will steal even more wealth from ordinary people and hand it over to the super rich, cause millions to lose their health care, and add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt — slightly more money even than Warner Bros. is losing off Justice League — it could also cause serious damage to the DCEU’s chances at producing viable box office franchises.
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