In Light of Batman V Superman’s Underwhelming Success, WB Is Giving Us More DCEU Films… Thanks?


Batman V Superman was almost unanimously panned by critics. Big deal, right? It did great in the box office. Well, sorta. Not nearly as well as it should have. In fact the film lost 69% of its sales in only its second weekend, despite having no major competition. Initially expected to soar over the billion dollar mark worldwide, it now only has a slim chance of reaching $1B. Warner Bros. have stated they aren’t worried, but a report from The Hollywood Reporter is claiming otherwise. The word on the block is that WB plan to sidle back from more homegrown films to spend more time on their tentpole franchises, like Lego, Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts, and the DC Extended Universe.

What does this mean? Well, let’s put it this way: if Alien or Terminator hadn’t arrived when they did, and had instead shown up around 2017/2018, they might not have been greenlit by the company. But with recent endeavors like Pan and Jupiter Ascending flopping so heavily this past year, it’s no wonder WB is heading down this route.

But to throw all (or most) of your eggs in one basket, that being tentpole franchises, isn’t exactly a great idea. Especially not after the underwhelming success of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. As far as the studios approach to what’s going on with the DCEU in general, in response to its backlash and underperformance, the studio has no plans to drastically shake things up when it comes to the 2-Part Zack Snyder directed Justice League films. They will apparently evaluate what went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again, but when it comes to the Justice League films, they’re taking the stance of “we’re not going to take a movie that’s supposed to be one thing and turn it into a copycat of something else.”

So there you have it. Oh yeah. Suicide Squad is beginning reshoots this week, reportedly because the film wasn’t funny enough. So expect some semblance of levity in that film at least.

And after THR reported that, they subsequently released word that WB has slated two more DC films on top of its already packed slate, clearly showing the world that they refuse to admit to having learned a thing. Wonder Woman‘s release has changed from June 23rd, 2017 to June 2nd. The two untitled DCEU films are set to arrive on October 5th, 2018 and November 1st, 2019.

There is also word of a WB event film arriving on Oct 6, 2017 (a month prior to Justice League Part 1), perhaps to, I dunno, help us get to understand what’s happening better. As far as what the two untitled DCEU films are? The most obvious guesses are that one will likely be a Man of Steel sequel, and the other a solo Batman flick. There have been talks about Affleck working on a script for a solo film, which could be quite interesting. Also, Superman turns 80 in 2018, and Batman in 2019. Coincidence‽

But why? Was any of this necessary? Was any of this handled correctly? I’m honestly at a loss for words. This seems like a terrible business plan to me, but what do I know? I just live here.

30 thoughts on “In Light of Batman V Superman’s Underwhelming Success, WB Is Giving Us More DCEU Films… Thanks?

  1. I’d agree with your view that great films like Alien might not have been made had they been pitched to WB in 2016. And that’s a tragedy. But there’s also the fact that last year, WB had an industry-high 21 homegrown features including the bug duds you mentioned. I’d feel they will take a year or so to make big bucks through the tentpoles and big directors like Nolan, Eastwood et al and then relax their norms again. Why? Simply because they have to. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket.
    Nice post though. Kudos. Have a great day.🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s been said so many times, but rushing to equal Marvel (even though they claim they want to be their own thing) is what hurt them in the end.

    As humans we compare things and choose the one that is better. That’s just human nature. So naturally, the MCU comparison comes up a lot. WB is of the mindset that they want a different tone for their movies, which is fine. Dark and broody DC versus the lighter/family-adventure Marvel is fine.

    But rushing in sloppily without building up your characters just so you can start making bank is the wrong way to do it, and they’re seeing the effects of that now. I wonder how much this will hurt them in the long run. Had they put out solo movies for their characters first, they may not be rolling in the Marvel money as fast, but they’d get there eventually. Because of BvS, I wonder how many people will even go see the solo movies now knowing what kind of quality to expect from WB. Anything could happen but I feel they’ve shot themselves in the foot with a shotgun.

    If Civil War, a similar in theme movie to BvS, knocks it out of the park, then the MCU comparison will make things even worse for WB.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Economies of scale i suppose. The more you produce the less the total cost will become.

    In Man of Steel they spend around a quarter of billion and got only 660+ billion. Add BvS, the total budget becomes nearly half a billion and they got over 1 billion in revenue.

    I guess Warner Bros is hoping to use that to their advantage.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Panic is what got them into this situation in the first place. They looked across the street at what the competition had done with ‘The Avengers’ which was, quite frankly, the unsellable dross characters they had left over after flogging the rights to their other heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men. DC looked at that and thought: “we own the most recognisable superhero team up there is and need to introduce it quick. ”

    Nolan and Bale were gone so the successful Batman world wasn’t an option. So at the eleventh hour they turned, what was originally just a follow up to the, not particularly well liked Man of Steel and use it to leapfrog up to a JLA movie.

    They failed to realise that The Avengers had become successful, not just because of ‘brand recognition’ but because Marvel had spent the best part of a decade investing in characters and making the cinema going audience care about them.

    Was anyone genuinely invested in Snyder’s vision of Superman? I doubt it. Will they be in the rest of the muddled characters in his world. Probably not so much.

    WB, stop panicking. Stop throwing money at the problem, throw writers and time at the problem. Put coherent stories that people care about together, not just spectacle. If you build it (properly) they will come.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The solution to problems is always give the writers more time (and I’m not just saying this as a writer). Without a script there is no movie; people forget that especially in Hollywood. It isn’t just about the visual, unless your making a more artistic and wacky film like High Rise. Give the writers more time to draw up a better plan and the potential that the DCEU has to compete with the MCU can be realised.
      Warner only need to look as far as the writer and director of the Avenger films to see why our point is valid. Joss Whedon might be a director, but the first time he did direct was for Serenity, which was a pet project. All of his fame from before then comes from his career as a writer and it really shows in the quality of his Marvel films and TV shows.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes but arguably that doesn’t help when your head writer or whatever is Zack “I’m making a sequel to Watchman” Snyder. Arguably the script was what they wanted, there only concession was adding in the lines about evacuating parts of the city and “foreshadowing” the rest of the Justice League. Now yes that hurt the movie but they fell at the first hurdle i.m.o and need to admit they’ve backed the wrong horse.
        Writers like Moore have done dark and gritty super hero stories like Watchmen but he’s also expertly captured the light, optimistic nature of comics in others, just read any of his superman stuff. DC assumed i.m.o that Snyder was the same way. That he loved Watchmen so much because he got that it was a deconstruction of the genre not because he thought that’s how super hero stories should all be.
        Best case scenario is that everyone gets micro managed now, meaning that people who can tell a story are tripping over red tape and studio inteferance like you worry, but also that the “smaller” movies like Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad will end up out shinning Justice League in the long run at which point surely they will have to pull there head out of the sand.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. [I’ve been wanting to rant about this for a long time, so here goes. I may be about to get a bit manic, as I’ve been known to do.]

    Box Office Mojo currently lists Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at $701M; the 69% second weekend drop shows only 31% wanted to see it again. So if Warner must push the DCEU, I’d advise investing less budget, since there’s less guarantee of success now.

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice told me that Warner don’t even want to bother trying to understand DC characters – they killed-off Kal-El because Warner realised they’re not committed to actually making the character work. So pushing recognised brands tells me that Warner no longer feel confident in themselves and are hiding behind what Warner expect will be pre-determined success, even though that’s clearly not the case anymore. So hopefully they’ll throw less money and concentrate more on making a film that’s worth-watching; reviews are undeniably a contributing factor to DCEU films’ success from here-on-out, something Warner need to realise if the DCEU is going to be what’s being pushed as the studio flagship.

    The problem is, Warner are director-friendly to a fault, since it seems nobody wanted to criticise Snyder, who can bring in gross, but can’t deliver quality. Warner have wrecked a franchise at its launch by hiring the wrong guy, and then not restricting that person because Warner still want to be “director’s studio”, especially because Disney are infamously a corporate opposite.

    And Warner denying changes to Justice League: Part One without telling us anything substantial is the same as saying, “it’s coming-along fine, just don’t ask to see it”. Warner are panicking, and that’s become transparent. Especially because Warner have scheduled two more DCEU films – refusing to admit a bad decision was made and instead trying to now come-across as overly-confident by deliberating making everything potentially worse as a result.

    What’s more, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was what was supposed to launch Wonder Woman, and that now leaves Wonder Woman’s own success doubtful (which is a shame, because if Wonder Woman isn’t a success, that’ll be used to justify opposition to films about comic book heroes that are female).

    It’d be nice if Warner would tell us what those two scheduled DCEU films are, because just announcing that they’ve been scheduled makes me suspicious that Warner are pretending to have a plan when they really don’t. Warner shouldn’t have even announced those dates in the first place, because announcing it during this controversy makes the DCEU sound exactly what it is: reactive to critics, rather than proactive to the franchise.

    Though I doubt this “event” will be a DCEU film; Warner wouldn’t want it compete with Justice League: Part One. Warner would have be tremendously stupid to do that…

    And another thing: if a Batman and Superman standtogether can’t be successful, surely planning standalones for them is the opposite of what should be done? Clearly not enough people care about these characters in their current incarnations. Warner should move away from them for now. Except Batman and Superman are the centrepiece of DC, which Warner have basically screwed-up. So I don’t really have any faith in the rest of that universe now, to be honest: Batman and Superman are the litmus test, and results are negative.

    However, if The Batman’s been written by Ben Affleck, that sounds like a good sign, given Affleck’s screenwriting track record. So long as Terrio isn’t brought in; most of Terrio’s contributions (from what Terrio described in a Collider interview) was supposed to make the dialogue sound epic and mythical but just made it sound long-winded and pretentious.

    To say a Superman standalone could be released on the 80th anniversary would be following Man of Steel on the 75th. And I say Superman needs redemption from that – the kind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice tried to provide but only made worse.

    And if there is going to be a Batman standalone, it should be with Leto’s Joker. Warner would have be idiotic to miss that opportunity…

    Liked by 2 people

    • morabitom

      To be fair, even Henry Cavil said on interviews that the movie doesn’t potray comic book Superman yet, that there was going to be an arc with his character and the goal to bring that comic version of the character to the screen in a different and natural way. BvS did show Superman learning from past mistakes. Syder has also commented that when Superman returns he will be different in some ways, so there’s definitely some planning going on here. They didn’t just kill him because they didn’t have a plan for handling him. It’s part of it. Nice comment by the way, I like how you laid your thought process out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My worry with that is that they are then bailing on the character arc to just bring him back to life and say look he’s proper superman now. If you want to show that progression, as much as I didn’t like Man of Steel, then go for it. But BvS already bailed on that plan in my opinion by having the movie start with Superman flying a terrorist through a wall to his death and having Clark talk about how Kevin Costner always told him to help people and do good; when in the last movie Kevin was telling his son to leave a bunch of school kids to drown.
        It sounds suspiciously like marketing b.s to me as they realise their gritty superman isn’t gelling well with ‘the kids’ and they threw that out to placate us but realised it wasn’t enough and are thus going to almost reboot the character and claim any change is through dying and coming back to life three days later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Their plan is to get the audience to hate him first? And then bring in Superman? As I see it right now, they’re saying that only because they don’t understand the character. Cavill has little depth and Snyder doesn’t care so long as it looks crazy awesome. They’ve made Kal-el more alien than human, which is entirely opposite of the character, to his core. His love of humanity, his yearning to be one of them, to not be special, to not have the weight of this world on his shoulders – that’s Superman, and then at the end of the day he can’t stand by without doing something, because the world does weigh on him. We haven’t seen this Superman yet. And if they didn’t portray that in his first two films? I don’t see what they’re beating around the bush for.

        Liked by 2 people

    • So much here to dig into. Because you nail so much of it on the head. The “event” film is likely going to be a two hour block of talking heads spliced together with footage from a bunch of movies, likely to be on their CW channel. I think Batman was better represented here than Superman, by far. So if either of my assumptions were true, I’d expect it to be Batman.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would agree with you there, Batman was definitely the better of the two characters (though not the dream sequences). Cavil is a very good actor and he was severely under-utilised. He brooded well through his entire storyline, but all he did was brood; there was no other emotion and practically none of the character established in Man of Steel.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I can tell you what those movies will be, whatever sells. I know its probably not feasible considering the time scale but I can’t help but worry that they’re waiting to see how Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman land. If they land well we’ll get a sequel to remind people of how “great” DC movies are right before their big mega-budget JLA movie. If they don’t land well pound to a penny one will be the talked about batman movie after they have driven a literal dump truck of cash to Ben Afflecks door and promised him first marrying rights to all their Sons and Daughters.
      If that’s out of reach expect them to fast track a nice light hearted Captain Marvel film that they keep talking about with the Rock and or fast track an 18 rated explicit Lobo movie as they realise they can’t do Avengers so why not try doing Deadpool.


  6. Hollywood also seems bound and determined not to make movies with diverse casts, despite all evidence that such movies do very well at the box office. And I don’t mean a couple of token black men, I mean all races of people, like in Furious 7.
    Sometimes Hollywood is just stuck on stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. They don’t understand that sometimes, it’s tho sel title movies ,that nobody planned on being tent poles, that shake it up at the box office. Movies like Deadpool, for example.

    The public seems determined to just turn all their little film predictions on their heads sometimes, don’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It sounds to me like they are being politically guarded. They don’t want to admit they made a big mistake, so instead they are publicly saying “we are just going to go ahead as planned.” But they are actually making adjustments behind the scenes to make sure this doesn’t happen again. It is sad that one of those adjustments is not putting Zack Snyder as far away from Warner Bros studios as possible, but I think there is some positive subtext here. Though, I totally agree with you that the fact that their reaction to critical failure is to double-down on the failing franchise is worrisome at best. And the idea of a Suicide Squad re-shoots is actually somewhat concerning to me as well. I mean, I suppose we haven’t seen the cut they have now. Maybe it’s super dark and gritty and wouldn’t show well. But I don’t want them to swing so far in the other direction that they make a light and funny comedy out of the one film in their current lineup that seems like it would work with their obsession with the grimdark. Anyway! This is all very enlightening.

    Liked by 2 people

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