Has DC Films Accepted That They Have Deep-Seated Problems, Or Are They Shifting Deck Chairs? Part I

The jury is still out, though what makes the most recent reorganization of DC Films not a bad thing in and of itself in that Warner Bros clearly sees that there’s a problem with their organizational structure and are working to address it.

Unfortunately, it reminds me somewhat of rearranging desk chairs on a little ship that was supposedly unsinkable.

And we all know how well that went.

And I think one of the problems is the dual management system that seems in vogue at DC Films (and by extension, Warner Bros).

In this instance we have Geoff Johns as co-president of the shingle–and let’s be clear.  DC Films isn’t strictly speaking a film studio (like Marvel Studios).  They may have a physical location, but most of the heavy lifting in making a movie is actually done by Warner Bros–and someone to be determined due to John Berg’s departure from the position.

I assume Warners does things this way because Johns brings knowledge of DC Comics, while the second president brings deeper knowledge of Warner’s corporate culture and the knowledge to navigate it to direct resources and systems effectively.

And that’s not a great way to do things. What would be more effective would be a single president of DC Films –and  importantly one who’s well-versed in the comics, though their knowledge has to be by no means encyclopedic because there are plenty of people on DC Comics’ end to supplement it–though the ability to navigate Warner Bros (and the companies that deal with them being more essential).

And let’s look at a crucial reason why.

DC Films movies tend to be significantly more expensive than those from Marvel Studios.  Justice League, before the reshoots by Joss Whedon, had a production budget somewhere in the ballpark if $220-250 million, but can you see all the money on screen (despite the copious–or excessive, depending upon how you look at such things use of green screen)?

Thor: Ragnarök released a few weeks earlier, looks just as expensive, but guess what?  It clocked in at $180 million, which means it has a significantly lower threshold to profitability, something Justice League could really, really use.

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Wrong Lessons Learned from the Justice League Brouhaha

 

And while ‘brouhaha’ may be a little melodramatic for a film that’s earned over $570 million at the worldwide box office the story surrounding the development of the movie is far more interesting than the movie itself.

You may have heard about a petition to release a Zach Snyder-cut of Justice League (despite there being no evidence there’s enough footage to make a complete movie) and a counter petition to release a Joss Whedon-cut of the same movie (who filmed significantly less than Snyder, making the idea even sillier) and quickly realized that they are way too many people not quite understanding the nature of the problem.

And that problem is that the DCEU, as it currently exists, is based on a very shaky foundation, one of Zach Snyder’s making (and that’s not to solely put all the blame on his shoulders, especially considering there’s more than enough to go around.  That being said, if the movie were a critical and financial success Snyder would likely have no problem accepting the kudos.  Conversely, when a movie doesn’t do well the director gets the blame).

And while his approach has its fans, what it doesn’t have is enough to make it viable (or Warner Bros would have likely not have had Whedon reshoot a portion of the entire movie.  And as terrible as the death of a child is, I don’t buy that he stepped down for that reason exclusively, especially when the movie was almost finished).

If that weren’t enough of a reason, this whole petition nonsense triples down on an approach proven NOT TO WORK!  Man of Steel underperformed.  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did as well.  Suicide Squad, despite being the worse of the three–and interestingly not directed by Snyder, despite his visual dynamic in full-effect, didn’t.

The same applies to Wonder Woman.

As I alluded to earlier, it’s not that Justice League isn’t profitable, it’s that it production budget is so high–before reshoots it was somewhere in the ballpark of $250 million there’s little likelihood Warners would throw good money after bad.

 

Avengers: Infinity War Teaser Trailer Tomorrow!

If Justice League left you a bit underwhelmed, Marvel Studios has the perfect holiday gift!  The teaser trailer for Avengers: Infinity War premieres tomorrow (and while I still think a teaser for a trailer is a dopey idea the trend didn’t start with this movie, and isn’t likely to end anytime soon)!

Avengers: Infinity War (and it’s so far unnamed sequel) are the culmination of  Phase Three of the MCU, or Marvel Cinematic  Universe, and supposedly revolves around Thanos taking a more active role in retrieving the Infinity Stones, which when he gets them would make him a god with the power to make–or unmake–the universe.

Standing against him and his Black Order (I hope they go by their name in the comics, the Cull Obsidian) are every hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as old greviances are forgotten in the face of the greatest threat the world, and the universe has ever known.

Will Thor: Ragnarök Join the Billion Dollar Club?

img_0536I think it’s very, very likely.

Reason being, Thor earned just $449 million in 2011.  It’s sequel, Thor: The Dark World, earned almost $645 million in 2013.

Notice the upward trajectory?  And do you know what those prior movies didn’t have?

A Hulk!

So, while Thor: Ragnarok has yet to released in North America it’s already earned over $109 million and has yet to be released in the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Russia and Mexico

So, it’s expected to just earn just under $300 million from all those countries!?  Let’s see…it’s likely to earn over $100 domestically, meaning that it would be pulling in just under $200 million from Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Russia and Mexico.

And that’s HIGHLY unlikely.  I expect a more reasonable estimate is somewhere in the $500-$600 million ballpark, which considering it has no competition till Justice League comes out November 17th, I expect that it will have earned at least $700 million by that time, well on it’s way to a billion dollars.

 

The Defenders – Teaser Trailers 1 & 2

With the airing on Marvel’s Iron Fist the last member of Marvel’s The Defenders has been introduced to audiences (the others being Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage), and I can’t wait to see them united.

Mainly because there’s so many opportunities for drama and chaos with so many volatile individual sharing the same space.

This is the opposite of my feelings about the Justice League, which I will see though not with any sort of passion.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Teaser Trailer 2

I absolutely can’t stand teaser trailers (or ‘Sneak Peeks,’ or whatever the hell some marketing department chooses to call them). They’re like regular trailers, except they give you even less information, which virtually by definition makes them very, very frustrating.

The latest teaser from Spider-Man: Homecoming is no different in that we see Spider-Man clinging to the side of the Washington Monument, when there’s a flyby of an object (which I originally assumed was the Vulture but seeing it was way too small makes it likely that what quickly crossed the screen was a bit of StarkTech (perhaps some sort of drone that Spidey could control).

Other than that, nothing.

Justice League did the same thing just last week (and if was pretty irritating then, too).

Here’s to this irritating trend quickly.

Lego DC Comics Superheroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom – Trailer

I am not a big fan of DC superheroes, though I am a huge fan of Legos (though to be fair I was weaned on Batman; as I got older my comic preferences shifted).

That being said, I enjoyed the somewhat goofy adventures of the Justice League from the cartoon, though I had soft spot for the villains, particularly Black Manta.

Though the base apparently modeled on Darth Vader’s head?  Priceless.

And speaking of Black Manta, his name was always a bit odd for me in that Manta Rays are black (with a white underside), so calling him Black Manta is sort of like a superhero named Brown Cougar or Gray Shark) though that was before I learned that he’s an African-American under that odd mask, and his story is a lot more interesting than you’d think.

And Aqua-Baby? Seriously (on top of Aquaman being the lamest of superheroes)?  No wonder I moved on to Marvel Comics.