Keanu Reeves’ ‘Constantine’ Should Have Been DC’s Answer to Marvel’s ‘Blade,’ But It Might Not Be Too Late

Certainly, the Dark Knight trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe created the modern template for superhero movies. But in the early 2000s, Hollywood was still figuring out how to adapt these characters for the big screen. The perfect example is the 2005 Keanu Reeves hit Constantine.

The film could have flourished into a franchise for Warner Bros. back in the day. But director Francis Lawrence’s movie has remained a one-off. Still, the DC Extended Universe is undergoing its own growing pains. So the studio might still have the chance to fulfill the promise of DC Comics’ Constantine.

Keanu Reeves at a photocall for 'Constantine'
Keanu Reeves at a photocall for ‘Constantine’ | Franco Origlia/Getty Images

‘Constantine’ was a box office hit upon its 2005 release

When it hit theaters in 2005, Constantine must have felt like a very risky project. Lawrence has since gone on to direct I Am Legend and three-quarters of the Hunger Games franchise. But before the DC Comics adaptation, he was mostly known for directing music videos.

Reeves’ star power was still intact, despite the mixed response to the Matrix sequels two years earlier. Yet, the high-concept premise of Constantine as well as the relative obscurity of the character — at least to mainstream audiences — limited its box office potential.

In the end, Constantine earned $230 million at the worldwide box office. With its production budget of $100 million and untold marketing costs, the movie’s initial release barely eked out a profit. However, in the years since, fans have stood by the project, still hoping Reeves would return for more.

RELATED: Why the ‘Hunger Games’ Director Is Not Getting Enough Credit

The horror-themed superhero should have been DC’s ‘Blade’

In today’s world, Warner Bros. would absolutely give Constantine 2 a green light. But even in the mid-2000s, the first film should have spawned a sequel. If Lawrence could get the budget under control, a sequel should have been an easy win for everyone. After all, Reeves’ John Constantine wasn’t the first horror-themed superhero to make a killing at the box office.

By then, Marvel Comics’ Blade already had two hit movies under his belt. Like Constantine, it managed to educate moviegoers about its hero and create a compelling, supernatural world around him. Way back then, Wesley Snipes’ day-walking vampire hunter proved R-rated comic book movies could find an audience. Constantine should have built on that.

RELATED: Comic Book Movies That Never Got the Credit They Deserved

Just like that Marvel hero, Keanu Reeves could return in the DCEU

Fifteen years later, Constantine 2 might have a second chance to come to life. The DCEU is currently laying out its plan for the future. And by the sounds of it, its approach could involve a big-screen multiverse. With Michael Keaton’s potential Batman return, the stage might be set for Reeves to reprise his Constantine role.

According to Slashfilm, the actor and Lawrence discussed a potential sequel recently. Rumors continue to swirl about how John Constantine fits into the greater DCEU. Some reports have Matt Ryan — who played the character on TV and in animation — returning for the upcoming Justice League Dark show. Will Reeves return as the movie version? Let’s hope we find out soon.