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With Justice League Floundering, Will DC Finally Rethink Their Shared Extended Universe?


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#1
Poe Dameron

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On the surface, $93.8 million doesn't sound so bad for an opening weekend.  But if this movie follows a drop pattern anything like Batman v. Superman in the coming weeks, that will translate to the movie making less than $200 million for its domestic run.  To put things in perspective, The LEGO Batman Movie pulled in $175 million.  It might do slightly better than that thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, but it will almost surely be leaving theaters by the time.

 

That would almost be acceptable if disappointing, but this movie cost $300 million to make before marketing.  That's the 3rd highest budget ever behind only a couple of Pirate of the Caribbean sequels.  The old rule of thumb is that movies need to make back double what they cost before seeing a profit.  Foreign takes can be lucrative, but the studio usually has to take a smaller share.  The movie will probably make back its investment in the end, but not by much.  And certainly not by the amount the studio was hoping for when they invested in it.

 

Worse, Warner Bros. was using this movie as a springboard to all the other heroes that aren't as instantly bankable as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.  This was supposed to be so big that everyone would want to run out to see an Aquaman movie next year.  Good luck with that one.  The only bankable product they've got right now is Wonder Woman, and that just can't be replicated.

 

I mentioned it last year that DC would be wise to simply drop the whole shared universe concept altogether and start tailoring each movie to an original take like the animated movies are doing.  Personally, I don't think Man of Steel was all that bad of a movie.  It was its own take on Superman and, while not my favorite, was worth doing.  Where I do have a problem with it is that it became the template.  And then the only thing DC seems to know how to do is to make that template bigger.

 

The only exception to their problem is Wonder Woman.  And it's easy enough to see how it escaped and did well.  While Wonder Woman showed up in Batman v. Superman, her movie told its own story a hundred years in the past.  It wasn't a confused mess of trying to set everyone else up and was easily the best quality movie of the lot.

 

I'd much rather they get some good directors and writers together and just produce some dream projects with these characters.  For example, I'd love to see a Shazam movie, but I'd like for it to be on its own terms.  Not if its using the same basic design and the Flash and Aquaman are set to make cameos and remind us about Justice League 2 coming out next year.  If Batman shows up, it's another actor in another costume just letting the audience know that there are other superheroes in this world and giving Billy Batson a chance to fanboy it up.  Give me some bright colors!  Take the comic book tales for each of the characters that would best fit the big screen in a unique way and just retell the stories.

 

Or, they could keep making the same super-budget stuff based on Snyder's aesthetics.



#2
Metropolis

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I'll use football as a comparison. If you keep switching up coaches you're more than likely not going to have long term success. If Warner Bros decided to switch things up then you might as well ditch it all together. Justice League I thought was a pretty good movie. It set up Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman for what should be interesting stories their own. They should start there, flesh out these characters, and use the time in between to better plan their team up.

Now here is where the studio needs to pay attention. No one really goes to movies anymore. I'm sure the industry is praying The Last Jedi saves 2017. People aren't going to a movie they think is "okay" anymore. They built up good will with Wonder Woman, but people were nervous about JL. The "it's okay" reviews scared people off.

Just push forward, build these characters. If people don't respond then screw it. IMO people are going to start tuning out the MCU once Iron Man and Captain America are gone.

#3
Tank

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Plenty of people go to movies. Getting butts in seats and out of their homes is an industry problem, sure, but finding an audience for a superhero movie isnt hard.

Specifically, the tent pole genre fans flock to them. Thats why Star Wars and Marvel have yet to lose money on a film.

That is what WB is looking at, pure and simple they want to replicate what Marvel has done, right down to even hiring Whedon to try and replicate his Avengers success.

The audience is there for DC, WW proved that. The problem is just a root-level misunderstanding of the tone and characters of the DCU.

They let Ikes at the money made by Nolans bat-films and decided to double down on that take and style. But it only worked for those movies because of Nolans singular voice and the grounded nature of those films.

You put a super gritty tone up against a fantastical out of the world visual setting, and start the whole show with a morose Superman with no sense of idealism or hope, youre just showing a fundamental misunderstanding of the universe.

And while that will turn off fanboys and excite the fanbros, it ultimately leaves general audiences looking for something to latch on to. Its no coincidence that Wonder Woman, the only DCU filmto show a little soul and golden age heart, is the one that people love.

Older Non comic fans know these heroes from cartoons from their youth, the original movies and TV shows, young non comic fans know them from the more current cartoons totally speaking, the DCU is miles from all of that. Theyve alienated pretty much everyone but the fanbros.

#4
Quetzalcoatl

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Four years later, I'm still in shock that someone thought it was a good idea to have Superman break a guy's neck.


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#5
Poe Dameron

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I'll use football as a comparison. If you keep switching up coaches you're more than likely not going to have long term success

 

Well, continuing to make mega-budget movies that people don't like doesn't seem to be working for a long-term success.  It's only shrinking the audience.

 

Besides, my idea isn't to switch coaches, it's to eliminate coaches altogether.  Stop trying to make it all fit and start actually having fun with these movies so that people look forward to what's coming next.

 

Heck, Marvel is willing to be flexible.  The last Thor movie didn't work?  Well, crap, let's just turn it into Guardians of the Galaxy with even less pretensions of realism, more 80s cheese, and all the key visuals inspired by metal album cover art.  What about Natalie Portman?  We'll dispose of her with two lines.  Does that mean we can have Thor fighting his sister, Hulk fighting a giant wolf, a Valkyrie flying above shooting off a Gatling gun at an army of the dead, and a giant mountain-sized fire god in the background destined to the destroy the planet all taking place on a rainbow road?  Yes?!?  Then do it!!!

 

I rather think that's why Marvel's set to outlast Iron Man and Captain America.  For the most part, they know what they're doing and if it's not working, they'll do something else.  It's not like Captain America was automatic box office gold.  Unlike DC whose coach seems intent on drawing up the same broken play every down.

 

 

 

Just push forward, build these characters. If people don't respond then screw it.

 

But why would you do it if you know it isn't working?  I could be wrong and look silly a year from now, but I rather doubt that Aquaman will be hit if it follows the same pattern as the rest of the series.  These are valuable properties that by all rights should be printing money.  DC's characters are much more iconic and ready for the big screen than Marvel's roster of characters that other studios don't already own the rights to.

 

If it's not working, if nobody likes what you're doing, then give it up and try again with a new angle.  Running your whole brand into the ground out of stubbornness doesn't seem wise.

 

 

 

They let Ikes at the money made by Nolans bat-films

 

Was that an autocorrect bug?

 

 

 

You put a super gritty tone up against a fantastical out of the world visual setting, and start the whole show with a morose Superman with no sense of idealism or hope, youre just showing a fundamental misunderstanding of the universe.

 

Like I said, I really don't have a problem with Man of Steel.  It's a low bar, but it's the 2nd best movie they've made.  I want to see new takes on the character, even if it means Superman snapping Zod's neck.  I was more annoyed that the family didn't just walk out of the way of the death beam.  But as a whole, I'm fine that I got to see that version and was happy enough to have seen it.  I just don't want it to be the only version we have.  There's a place for doesn't smile Superman the same as there's a place for big blue Boy Scout Superman and heroic Superman and godly Superman and evil Superman and retired to Kansas Superman and communist Superman and Amish Superman and all the others.

 

And while Amish Superman might be neat movie (probably wouldn't to be honest), even if it's a moderate hit, it sure as heck shouldn't spawn an entire shared universe of Amish takes on the DC characters.  Which is basically what DC decided to do with Man of Steel and its very frustrating.



#6
The Choc

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They just don't know what they are doing, can't put it any simpler than that. They saw what Avengers did and said "ohhhh money" and wanted to get there as fast as possible without doing the work. 



#7
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that autocorrect twitch— I was saying that they let the success of the Dark Knight films determine their course of action for the new cinematic universe. That tone works for Batman, and it worked for Nolan’s grounded approach— but I don’t know if it jives with the bigger fantastical world they want out of the JL films.

I’m not saying Superman has to be a goody goody boyscout, but there’s of options between the two extremes.

#8
Poe Dameron

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Looks like it's a lot worse than I thought.  This movie's set to lose $50-100 million.  Yeah, there should be a lot of heads rolling over this.

 

that autocorrect twitch— I was saying that they let the success of the Dark Knight films determine their course of action for the new cinematic universe. That tone works for Batman, and it worked for Nolan’s grounded approach— but I don’t know if it jives with the bigger fantastical world they want out of the JL films.

 

Oh, definitely.  Truth be told, it didn't even work all that well for Nolan outside of The Dark Knight.



#9
The Choc

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I'm not a comic fan but obviously Im somewhat into "nerdom" so I am familiar. For me for them to get to this movie, which should in alot of ways be a culmination and the villain to be some guy I've never even heard of is insane. 



#10
Justus

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Outside of Luthor, and certain characters from Batman's rogues' gallery, most of the public never heard of Loki, the Mandarin, Whiplash, Yellowjacket, Red Skull  the Vulture, and most of the villains appearing in comic book movies. That's never the issue.

 

The only thing that matters is if the villain has a purpose worth responding to (by the heroes). To be honest, most comic adaptations fail in this regard, as I cannot be bothered enough to care about the why and how of the Vulture, Green Goblin 2.0, Electro, Mandarin, Loki, et al. It always comes down to "we (or I) have to stop ______ before the greatest _____of all time destroys____!!" Textbook, copy+paste "event" fantasy film stuff, and its tiresome. With JL, that was not a problem, as I sort of disregarded Steppenwolf, instead being very interested seeing the first DC group in a serious film made by competent filmmakers. I was not disappointed with the group end of the story.



#11
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The villains in the Avengers rouge galleries are not nearly as well known as the villains in Batman and Superman. That's kind of the point, you have access to classic famous villains and you don't utilize them. The Avengers simply don't have those kind of villains. 



#12
El Chalupacabra

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What I think WB should do with the DC verse is just focus on individual heroes and their own stories with the same care and detail as WW, and once each major hero has a couple movies under their belt, then do a second and final justice league story (maybe a two movie finale) that concludes the story for each hero's arc.  



#13
Justus

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What I think WB should do with the DC verse is just focus on individual heroes and their own stories with the same care and detail as WW, and once each major hero has a couple movies under their belt, then do a second and final justice league story (maybe a two movie finale) that concludes the story for each hero's arc.  

That's not a bad idea. By that time, the superhero film genre (based on DC and Marvel) will be pretty long in the tooth, so it would be the right to wrap things up.

 

...but there's that neverending quest for a dollar, so I see a total reboot of everything in a few years, even if the novelty of superhero movies has worn out its welcome.



#14
El Chalupacabra

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What I think WB should do with the DC verse is just focus on individual heroes and their own stories with the same care and detail as WW, and once each major hero has a couple movies under their belt, then do a second and final justice league story (maybe a two movie finale) that concludes the story for each hero's arc.  

That's not a bad idea. By that time, the superhero film genre (based on DC and Marvel) will be pretty long in the tooth, so it would be the right to wrap things up.

 

...but there's that neverending quest for a dollar, so I see a total reboot of everything in a few years, even if the novelty of superhero movies has worn out its welcome.

 

I agree that WB (or any studio for that matter) looks at IPs as a way to make money first, last, and foremost, and a good movie secondary to all that.  As long as a film appeals to the typical 14 year old boy, and puts enough of them in the theatre, that's all they care about.

 

But they are sitting on DC, which reboots itself ever decade or so these days.  So, even if they did conclude the arc for the current crop, they can just reboot the film verse. Doing it Crisis-style would actually make the WB-DC filmverse legit!



#15
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I think the DC Films should just concentrate on making a good stand alone film. The approach they took to Wonder Woman is what they should mirror, that project was focused on that character and what works for that character and the creatives involved were allowed (argued for and won) to stay to their vision.

I want to see;

The Accidents
* The Flash & Cyborg
* 1980s Buddy Cop style, Beverly Hills / Lethal Weapon etc.

Ambush Bug
* Let it be a satire of the DC Universe.
* Dimension hopping, maybe cameos for CW Characters.

#16
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That's not a bad idea. By that time, the superhero film genre (based on DC and Marvel) will be pretty long in the tooth, so it would be the right to wrap things up.

 

Let's just dispense with that whole notion now, because I feel that you and others will be making it for many years to come.

 

Superhero films are here to stay.  Maybe they won't be as white hot licenses to print money as the MCU currently is forever, but we can expect to see multiple comic book movies making up the top box office performers every year for the foreseeable future.  They have a track record, the IPs are easily identifiable, and they have relatively easy formula.  Here we are almost 40 years since Superman, 30 years since Batman, 15 years since Spider-Man, 10 years since Iron Man, and 5 years since The Avengers, and the genre only seems to be getting stronger.

 

Even with the Justice League fail, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan, Guardians 2, Thor: Ragnarok, and The LEGO Batman Movie have all done excellent business and were mostly well-received just this year.  Superheroes are not slowing down, they're becoming institutionalized as the dominant and safest tentpole a studio can release.

 

That's part of why Justice League's failure is such a disaster.  It should have been competing with Star Wars for the biggest movie of the year.  Movies losing money happens all the time.  But this movie was greenlit with the executives expectation that the only disappointment they would have could be it not making them as much money as they expected.  Something closer to Age of Ultron "only" making 5 time its budget back instead of the 8 times they were hoping for.  And its inability to set up future films for success compounds the problem further.


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#17
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But they are sitting on DC, which reboots itself ever decade or so these days.  So, even if they did conclude the arc for the current crop, they can just reboot the film verse. Doing it Crisis-style would actually make the WB-DC filmverse legit!

 

I was saying to my partner the other day, given that there's rumours of Affleck trying to get out of the role of Batman, and him actually having come out and said that he's looking to segue out in a cool way, and that the Flash movie is Flashpoint, it would be a perfect opportunity to change things up using the Flash movie to do it. Flash goes back, changes things, runs back to find it screwed up, sorts it out, and comes back to the newly rebooted universe, with a new Batman (Jake Gylenhaal has been rumoured as the top pick after Affleck), a new history they can allude to and they can ignore continuity with the older films because, in this new universe, they never took place. It's the way it worked in the comic, it's been done in the Flash TV series, no reason it can't work in the movie universe too as a convenient way to mix things up, keep what works and discard what doesn't *coughZackSnydercough*



#18
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Henry Cavill managed to beat Affleck out the door.  Meanwhile Aquaman and Shazam are in the can and the Flash is reported to be going ahead next year while we wait for Wonder Woman 2 to come together.  It's become a bit of a zombie franchise.



#19
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The Cavill thing is supposedly a contact dispute that has yet to be settled. We'll see how this plays out.

#20
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The Cavill thing is supposedly a contact dispute that has yet to be settled. We'll see how this plays out.

Yeah, I would like to see him return. If he leaves, I will find my interest in the DC movies fading.



#21
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Casting has never been the issue. Gal Godot is perfect. Cavil is great. Affleck even won me over.

 

But the tone and the stories have been wrong and overly-wrought since day one. Wonder Woman is the only one that's truly good in my opinion, maybe the first half of Suicide Squad, the rest have their moments, but are so joyless and needlessly dark while over-inflated that I just never lied them.

 

Add in the watering down of the brand with half the DC heroes having TV counterparts and I just struggle to even care.

 

Personally, I think they should nix all the films and double down on a shared TV universe since people seem to like it.

 

Had it been up to me, I would have accepted you couldn't out grim/dark the Dark Knight series, so don't bother. I would have made them all light-hearted and fun. Shazam looks great actually, mostly because the tone is fun. As hokey and cheesy as The Superfriends are in retrospect, I think the fun Saturday morning version of DC characters are what most non-comic nerds identify with-- that and Reeve's Batman and maybe some nostalgia for the Burton era Batman films.

 

That's why I loved the Batman Brave and Bold, Young Justice, and Teen Titans Go-- they felt like modern versions of the Superfriends. It's funny how DC always nails it in animation...


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#22
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I generally agree on the casting being pretty good.  At least for the heroes.  Jesse Eisenberg is always gonna an automatic grade reduction.

 

I don't know about Shazam.  The trailer looked like it had a foot in two worlds and the montage of discovering superpowers looked a bit cringy.  Either way, it didn't really interest me much.  Shazam is, ironically, a superhero I think would work better in a team up for his first outing.  Having a kid as a counterpoint to an established character could give us a nice contrast.

 

I also would go back to calling him Captain Marvel and make the other movie Ms. Marvel, but whatever.



#23
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They call him Captain Marvel, they just can't title his book or movie that. I grew up thinking of him as Shazam cause of the terrible 70's Saturday morning show. Carol Danvers has done more with the title and it';s been Marvel's for literal decades.

 

I've only seen the most uber of DC fanboys still be butthurt over it.



#24
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Are they calling him Captain Marvel?  I know they dumped it in the comics awhile back.

 

It's less about being a DC fan than thinking they both got a downgrade.  Ms. Marvel's a sharp name and it's unfortunate they tossed it aside.  In my head, I still think of her as Ms. Marvel first as well.  Seemed like an unnecessary switch and I wish they'd go back.



#25
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It's funny, cause in the 70s the went with MS. instead of "lady" or "Miss" because MS. was a new empowered feminist terminology. But now, it seems like a gender-leading honorific which gets it's power by being  the opposite of a male honorific, where as Captain is genderless. (don't tell Mister Fantastic).

 

Curse Marvel for being forward thinking!

 

Plus, there's now a new Ms Marvel that's pretty awesome.





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