“I know you’ve taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always.” – Quote from the film Moneyball
I love this quote. I think it perfectly encompasses what DC is trying to do with their movie universe and the reaction to it. While Marvel has kickstarted movie universes crossing over, DC has taken a very different approach to that concept and they’re paying a mighty big price for it. It’s a high risk/high reward move that could pay off big.
Call it what you will but DC hasn’t been given a fair shake when it comes to creating their own cinematic universe. It all begins with the critically and universally mixed reboot of Superman, Man of Steel. Zack Snyder approached this larger than life character differently than Richard Donner and Bryan Singer. Instead of showcasing his “god like powers” and showing that he’s invulnerable, he chose to introduce us to an alien from another planet who was battling his identity. A Superman who could be vulnerable and was simply trying to find his place in life. In a human world not very accepting of aliens he was just trying to be human.
The story Snyder was trying to tell fell on many deaf ears, but that’s not to say it affected everyone that way. I absolutely loved the movie and I know many others who loved it as well. It was different. It was made for our time and for this generation. It separated itself from the Donner-verse. It was a reboot in every sense of the word.
While we all waited for confirmation on a MOS sequel, there was a couple thoughts that crossed my mind. Would the bad taste it left to those who didn’t like the reboot have an affect on the next slate of films DC would unveil? Would this “new horse” in the “comic book movie race” be given a fair shake?
At Comic Con 2013, Zack Snyder shook up the comic book movie world by announcing that we would finally be getting a movie with both Batman and Superman. The reaction to this news was met with excitement and an equal amount of skepticism. While many were excited about this prospect, others were worried that Zack Snyder being in charge of a Superman/Batman movie would not be a recipe for success.
As production for this movie went forward, reports started to funnel in about the cast and who would be joining “The World’s Finest.” Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash started being thrown around. People started to wonder if this was more of a Justice League movie rather than a MOS sequel, but as reports were being confirmed DC announced that this movie would be the springboard for a future Justice League movie; and what they envision as the DCEU with the “E” standing for extended.
While this was great news to all DC and comic book movie fans, questions began to trickle in about how this would be handled. “Will they go the Marvel route?”, “Marvel has been so successful, copy them!”, “If they don’t do what Marvel is doing they will fail!” Marvel’s cinematic success has made it very difficult to establish any kind of universe without mentioning them… and for good reason. According to Box Office Mojo (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=avengers.htm) all the MCU movies combined have grossed over 3 trillion dollars at the Box Office. Insane numbers.
While they say “imitation is the best form of flattery,” DC had decided to take a much different approach. Instead of launching solo movies, they are using the Justice League to introduce these characters to the mainstream. They’re separating themselves from the competition. You have to if you want to survive. Playing the copycat game can only last for so long before things “go the way of the western” as Steven Spielberg said put it.
We’re just a little over a month away from seeing the trinity on screen for the first time ever, and while it’s cause for excitement, it’s also left room for concern by way of reports from the usual “anonymous sources.” It all started with this quote taken from a video of Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny on the worried state of WB/DC:
“Warners is a little bit worried. This movie is starting to scare them. It’s scaring them because they’re showing it to people now, people are actually laying eyes on the film now, and the response has not been what I think they wanted. If I were going to lay a bet on how it may happen, SUICIDE SQUAD, they’ll go all-in on. They’ll push all their chips in on that and I think SUICIDE SQUAD’s going to be a hit for them. I think WONDER WOMAN will be finished the way they’re working on it right now and they’ll release it. I would be surprised if JUSTICE LEAGUE starts shooting when they say it’s going to, and I would be equally surprised if Zack Snyder directed it. My guess is what’s going to happen is based on what I’m hearing…is JUSTICE LEAGUE is going to get moved back and that Ben Affleck Batman movie, that’s what’s going to end up in that spot. My guess is they’re going to throw whatever money it takes at Ben Affleck to make that Batman film happen sooner rather than later. They’re going to need to rebuild again, they’re going to need to win people over, they’re going to need to lay some different groundwork. I don’t think this is going to be the springboard into the Justice League that they wanted it to be.”
These words from Mr. McWeeny set the internet on fire and opened up even more questions about DC and its entire upcoming slate. Even worse, it damaged a movie that hasn’t even been released yet. When little leaks of information, such as the quote above, make it out into the public it tends to have a big affect on those who are already on the fence about a movie like this. Simply put, it’s not fair. The key words here are “my guess.” It’s pure speculation and nothing more.
Another website, Batman-On-Film.com, run by Bill “Jett” Ramey, responded to this information in a very civil way. But, also showed there are two sides to this story:
“Honestly, I can’t call BS on this report as I know – based on the folks I’ve talked to who have knowledge of the situation – that Warner Bros. is indeed concerned about how BvS will be received by audiences; and thus, how it will perform at the box office. Personally, I think the right term to use is “nervous” as opposed to “worried”. With so much riding on BvS, it’s only natural for the studio to be, well, nervous.”
Well, this makes more sense to me. Instead of sticking a dagger into this entire franchise before it gets started, I think “nervous” makes much more sense. Put anyone in this situation and they will tell you that they are nervous.
Oh, Jett did drop one other tidbit of info:
“I can also say that I know some people who have seen the film and they raved about it – which apparently is the opposite of what Mr. McWeeny has heard based on his comments in the video.”
Hey, look at that, other opinions say the movie is good. Now, I’m not trying to one up Drew McWeeny’s comments from people who have already seen the movie, but I felt it was necessary to let both sides be heard.
As we get closer to the release date, more negative reports will be coming out about this movie. For example a report was released earlier today about Batman v Superman having a 32% chance of being profitable. That just seems silly, but it’s a business tactic by those who don’t want to see their competitor succeed. Smoke screens are put up and stories are falsely reported so that movies can fail.
The bottom line is this, Mr. McWeeny and his sources do not have a crystal ball. They can’t see into the future any more than you and I can. They can speculate all they want, but in the end it’s up to the fans to decide what they like.
Oh, one last thing:
I love this tweet because of how true it is. If you don’t like a movie, that’s fine, but it by no means makes it a bad movie. Don’t allow the writings and thoughts of others influence your perception of a character or film. Go into the movie open minded. Give it the fair shake it deserves and maybe… just maybe… it will allow DC to bust through this wall bloody, battered and successful.