EDITORIAL: Does WB Know What They're Doing With The DCCU?
Here I take a look the decisions that Warner Bros. is making with their choices in big-screen DC adaptations and discuss why I feel they are the wrong choices for the DCCU. Please read on and give me your feedback in the usual place.
After the announcement of the batman/superman movie along with the announcement of Ben Afleck being batman in that movie I sat down and took at look at what exactly is driving WB to make the decisions they are making and discuss why this is all bad for the future of DC films and their fans.
First off why Batman/Superman? It’s the movie they have tried to make before right? Seems like a logical step in creating their Cinematic universe without directly copying Marvel. It’s the movies all the DC fans always wanted and have been clamoring for on the internet for years so it all makes sense right?
The first reason though isn't to please the fans it is all about money, like it wasn’t obvious but it reasons behind it go a deeper than that simple answer which is this. MoS did not do as well as they had hoped. It is far from being a bomb but secretly WB was expecting MoS to be a Billion dollar movie even if they didn’t it say out loud that they were just hoping for 750 worldwide gross which it didn’t even meet that yet. Currently the movie stands at about 662 million worldwide where it will pretty much stay which means it under preformed by 88 million dollars according to WB verbal expectations.
“But you can’t assume that is what WB was really expecting MoS to do 1 billion dollars? Where is your reasoning behind all this?”
First off the budget of the movie ballooned from what was originally supposed to be 175 million budget to a 225 million making it cost 5 million more dollars than the 1.5 billion dollar Avengers. The increase was due to Zack Snyders needing to fix the script which caused a 6 month delay in the movie. Second off the and I have no direct resource for this clam but after the fiasco that was the Green Lantern WB was determined not to let MoS fail at any cost and put 150 to 200 million ad campaign behind and I believe it could have been easily 200 million (MoS stuff was way more in your face than any of the marvel movies including the avengers). At that price for marketing WB was basically buying peoples tickets to go see the movie. Why? Because every movie based off of a DC superhero not named Batman has been a critical and commercial flop. Don’t believe me, let’s look at some numbers here.
Let’s look at all of the DC superhero’s that have been released as of late not including batman. I used to work for century theaters so as a general rule the theather takes half of the ticket sales. Below is a little formula for finding out how much a movie makes or loses
World Wide Gross divided by 2= Total revenue. Remember theaters take a cut of roughly half the ticket price.
Total Revenue subtracted by the total of the production budget = total profit or loss.
Again in none of these equations are we adding or subtracting Marketing costs or Product placement earning we are just looking at how the movie did on its own in the theaters.
Green lantern- Worldwide gross 219 minus half the ticket earnings gives them 110 million, then minus the production budget of 200 million =
The watch men – Worldwide gross 185 million minus half the ticket earnings gives them 92.5, then minus the production budget of 130 million =
Superman returns – Worldwide gross 391 million minus half the ticket earnings gives them 195.5 then minus the production budget of 270 million =
Jonah hex - Worldwide gross 11 million minus half the ticket sales gives them 5.5 million then minus the production budget of 47 million =
Catwoman- World Wide gross 82 minus half the ticket sales gives them 41 million then minus the production budget of 100 million =
I could keep going but you can do the numbers for yourself on the other comic adaptations WB as done and they don’t really fare much better. WB has no other prospects for tent poles at this moment. Harry potter is gone, the Dark knight trilogy is over and they were able to expand 3 movies out of the hobbit but after that runs out they have nothing left but to try and expand the DC catalog.
Reason number 2 is time and WB is running out of it. Let’s look at these reasons here
Marvel Characters are flooding the market. Between now (2013) and the end of 2015 there will be 11 films released based off of Marvel Super hero characters compared to just 2 films by DC (Man of Steel and said sequel). The reason this is a cause for concern is that this superhero bubble that we are having right now is going to pop in the soon leaving little room to expand B and C list heroes. Why do I say the bubble will pop soon? Because nothing last forever folks people will get bored of the CBM genre and again there simply wont be a demand for it as much as it used to. Characters that we have now will be accepted but audiences will pretty much had their fill of the CBM era and things will dramatically slow down in terms of releases and there will not be as much money to be made and right now Marvel is pretty much going to be the only game in town if WB doesn't do something.
If you think about it MoS being the Launch point for the DCCU puts them roughly 6 years behind marvel at the pace they are going to complete a phase 1 cinematic universe. To get them to where marvel will be by the time Avengers 2 will be released it will be 12 years comparable to Marvels.
So again because MoS not being a able to pull in more money based off of how much they spent on it WB doesn't have confidence to give it a standalone sequel, that coupled with the fact that they are running way behind their competition is why we are getting Batman in the Man of steel sequel
But let’s say that none of the above holds true and that WB has a genuine plain for the DCCU and that they have sat down and really think that this is the best way to handle the DCCU. Is there still a cause for concern? Yes there is and I believe WB is leading DC characters down a long and loathsome road for these reasons.
WB is not changing the writer or director for BM/SM. Now I thought MoS was good but it had a lot of problems and I just don't think the Synder/Goyer combo is going to work. MoS alienated a lot of critics and audiences. During my viewing of the film a lady with her two kids left theater right after superman killed Zod, it was clearly because of that scene. My personal feelings on the matter are that I didn’t care one way or the other if superman kills someone but obviously people do. MoS is a perfect example of catering to fanboys and it not paying off.
Batfleck. Now I myself am hoping he knocks it out of the park even if I do feel that he is not the right guy for the part but the problem is that it is already a joke. My feeling is that WB didn’t really care to cast the part right as they needed to make headlines and make sure that they had some kind of big name attached to batman but by getting Ben Afleck. From what I have read he didn’t even audition, they just called him up to give him the part.
If WB decides to release this movie in the Summer of 2015 it is going to have a real, real tough time. Hopefully they are smarter this time around and move it before the summer or after but with summer of 2015 being more log jammed than my sister at a frat party it leaves little room for SM/BM to get any love.
So for comic fans, movie fans around the world I beg WB to really think hard about what they are doing and just Copy their rival because Marvel has never ever had a problem copying them. Although time is running out if they take their time and do things right it will better in the long run. Again I hope Snyder and company make it work, I hope they make it great and it sets everything up perfectly for the rest of the DCCU but I am not holding out hope.
P.S for those of you wondering don’t align myself with any comic book publisher in particular. I am a fan of characters. I collected and still collect comics from all sorts of publishers, some of my favorites have been hellblazer, greenlantern, x-men, hellboy, spawn, wetworks. FYI if someone thinks I am DC bashing. I want all these movies to succeed which is why I am upset with WB handling of the DC line of movies.
References for some of my claims in this article
WB wants 750 million for MoS
662 Million worldwide for MoS and budget of 225 Million
On how much money a movie as to make to make money
Man of steel Budget at 175 Million. Scroll to CANCELED SEQUEL section
6 month delay for MoS due to script issues
WB just called Ben Affleck up rather than audition for Batman roll
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