‘Batman V Superman’ has already crossed $700 million in box office gross worldwide, so it’s hardly a flop. But just like last year’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ which made over $1,405,035,767 it is being seen a… disappointment. Warner Brothers apparently had loftier hopes for this movie, which kicks off an entire series scheduled two-films-per-year through 2020, based on the characters from DC Comics, a WB subsidiary. In fact, word is that WB execs actually expected this movie to break $1 billion and follow in the footsteps of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. But with its dramatic drop in attendance– 69% from week one to week two– and abysmal reception from viewers and critics, the studio appears to be reassessing things.
By the time the film wraps up its theatrical run, factoring in production costs, talent, fees and promotions, WB will only make about $200M in profit from this movie.
As a rival studio head communicated:
“The biggest problem is that it is not turning [DC] into Marvel. The audience has communicated, as have the critics.”
Execs at Warner Brothers are said to be in genuine shock at the negative reception this film has received and is reportedly revising its entire approach to films, reducing the number of “homegrown” projects, with more emphasis on tentpoles, including the DC movies as well as the LEGO brand, which became a surprise hit in 2014, and this winter’s ‘Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them’, spinning off from WB’s previous meal ticket the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise.
So yes, the DC movies are still on. Earlier rumors swirled that director Snyder might be replaced, but with ‘Justice League – Part One’ due to begin filming on Monday, that’s an utter impossibility. But there might be some other changes.
Reportedly, WB is investing tens of millions of dollars to reshoot scenes for ‘Suicide Squad’ to make it more humorous and to further flesh out the characters (since one gripe about ‘BvS’ is that no one had a clear motivation). There are also rumors that ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ helmer George Miller may be joining the ‘Justice League’ movies as a producer, which may reign in the more-is-more aesthetic of Snyder.
But one WB insider insists, “We’re not going to take a movie that’s supposed to be one thing and turn it into a copycat of something else.”
This doesn’t all fall on the shoulders of ‘Batman V Superman’, as evidenced by the fact that the studio still plans to focus on their DC movies. Rather, its under-performance follows a string of expensive out-and-out bombs the studio financed last year, including ‘Jupiter Ascending’, ‘Pan’, ‘In The Heart of the Sea’ and ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ starring Superman, Henry Cavill. The studio still plans to release 18 movies this year and 19 next, including ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘JL-P1’.
WB also has ‘The Legends of Tarzan’ coming which… well, what’s done is done. Moving on…
As one person who does extensive business with WB states:
“It’s not dramatic, but it is uncharted territory for them. They were always filmmaker-driven — that might now not be the case as much. They had a bad 18 months. How could there not be some kind of reaction to that?”
Steve Birenberg of Northlake Capital Management added:
“Time Warner has some work ahead, and it would be helpful if the next movie in the DC relaunch were more widely praised.”
There is hope there. ‘Suicide Squad’, even minus the reshoots, had people buzzing. (At the con I went to in February, there were more Harley Quinn cosplayers than any other female character by at least ten to one.) Following that is ‘Wonder Woman’ featuring the character that nearly everyone considers the best part of ‘BvS’. And even if the Snyder-directed ‘Justice League’ is terrible, fans will likely turn out in droves at least for opening weekend, the way they did for ‘BvS’.
Are there too many expectations being placed on these tentpole movies? Can they save a studio? At what expense?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter