The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centering on a series of superhero films, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and based on characters that appear in American comic books by DC Comics. The shared universe, much like the original DC Universe in comic books and the television programs, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters. The films have been in production since 2011, and in that time, Warner Bros. has distributed eight films, with several others in various stages of development. It is the eleventh-highest-grossing film franchise of all time, having grossed over $5.48 billion at the global box office. Its highest-grossing film is Aquaman, which earned over $1.15 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing DC film to date.