Although the DC Cinematic Universe officially kicked off in 2013 with Man of Steel, next year will see this world expand exponentially in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, followed by Suicide Squad and two films per year in the following years until 2020. Though they kicked off their shared superhero universe much later than Marvel, Warner Bros. has demonstrated in the past year that they are dedicated to pooling a large portion of their resources into adapting DC Comics heroes for the big screen - and for Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, this is a risk well worth taking. Why? It’s all about the international audience.
According to Variety, part of the reason superhero movies have been so successful in recent years is due to the film industry gaining a more global presence, with 70% of box office returns coming the foreign box office on many blockbusters. At the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference earlier today, Tsujihara stated the "built-in awareness" of characters like Superman in these countries makes it easier to market these films and find an audience. Said Tsujihara:
The big franchises are becoming more and more valuable. You don’t have to explain to the consumer what a Batman v Superman is.
He has a point. As popular as heroes like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor have become in recent years, Batman and Superman (as well as Wonder Woman) have been pop culture icons for decades. The average individual, even if they aren’t from America and/or don’t speak English, will be familiar with them even if they aren’t knowledgeable about their backstory or haven’t seen their most recent media projects. In terms of getting general moviegoers into the theater to see the film, as well as prep them for the rest of the DCCU, that will be of enormous help. Much like how Iron Man got interests piqued for the big screen debut of other Marvel heroes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will use the titular superheroes’ mass recognition to draw in an international audience and get them invested for what the DCCU has coming in the future.
Tsujihara also mentioned that compared to the Marvel movies, DC’s films are a bit "edgier" and more steeped in "reality." Although it’s hard to get a read on the overall tone of the DCCU since Man of Steel is their only offering right now, Zack Snyder’s Superman film, along with pictures of heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, have certainly given some fans the impression that the upcoming DC films will be much darker and grittier than what’s they’ve gotten from Marvel. While certain films like Shazam will have their own unique tone, it sounds like moviegoers can expect more edge with the DCCU, though hopefully this doesn’t lend any credence to that "no jokes" rumor.
In regards to the "reality" aspect of the statement, obviously this is a loose description since these are films revolving around a flying alien, a billionaire who dresses like a bat, a warrior demigoddess, a king of an underwater nation and many other colorful characters. So while realistic may not work to describe the individuals, the Earth society that they deal with might be more real world based, such as how the general public reacts to these heroes and villains.