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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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Trailer

I see what they’re trying to do with Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but for the life of me I’m not entirely sure why (other than a studio banking on nostalgia and an establised iP, that is).   I haven’t seen Joe Johnston’s 1995 Jumanji, which I assume this movie is a reboot of, in awhile but this feels so…excessive.

And perhaps that approach is warranted, since the movie is revolving around a video game system, as opposed to the board games of the prior movies.

Though Jumanji–and it’s sequel of sorts, Zathura–felt like relatively small affairs when all is said and done, while the reboot feels massive and lacking the intimacy–and perhaps the heart–of those earlier films.

And while I know that Sony has a deal in place to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios that deal likely does not extend to this movie.

Here’s a closeup of the above poster…


And here’s a closeup from one of the stingers (end credit scenes) at the end of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Coincidence!?  Probably.

The DCEU Finds Redemption

There a story on Superherohype where Ben Affleck says that the portrayal of Batman in Warner Bros/DC Films upcoming Justice League would be a more ‘traditional’ portrayal of the character.

What!?

The fact that Affleck has to tell viewers this is indicative of perhaps the greatest problem the DCEU has (yet) to overcome: namely a loss of support from their core audience, which are the people who grew up reading the comics these characters first appeared in.

Which is such a weird place to be because it’s a problem of their own making in that all they needed to do was to make their superheroes more faithful (I understand that no character translates wholly intact from the printed page to the movie screen but it’s almost as if Warner Bros wasn’t even trying) to how the characters appeared in the comics, then literally sit back and rake in the cash.

But if Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have shown us anything, it’s seemingly not quite that easy.

Or does it?  Maybe the greatest problem with the three aforementioned movies has less to do with their their fidelity to the source material (though that’s certainly there) than an attempt to be visually and esthetically different from Marvel Studios.

And on some level that’s understandable.  What isn’t is creating such an esthetically and morally unappealing interpretation of Batman and Superman (though what’s worse is that there’s nothing wrong with such portrayals per se.  It’s more a question of starting with a more traditional interpretation then have events turn the character dystopic–which was said, but never shown in reference to Batman).

That’s an important journey viewers would have not enjoyed embarking on, and would have shown the seminal events that resulted in a murderous Batman (something the character studiously avoided during for the bulk of time he has existed).

Wonder Woman–for the DCEU–is literally a game changer in that it not appears more faithful to the comics than the aforementioned movies, yet managed to appeal to both critics and the bulk of the moviegoing audience.

It may not have quite restored faith in the fledgling cinematic universe that is the DCEU

Reviews Have Begun To Drop For Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Reviews have begun to drop for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and while it’s early days yet, let’s just say they haven’t been charitable.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy was particularly tough on Besson’s latest effort, saying, ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets really is that bad, bad enough you don’t know for longest time that Valerian is one of the lead characters and not a planet or a spaceship.’

Ouch.

Steve Pond  of The Wrap was slightly more charitable, saying ‘(Luc) Besson takes all that fun and color, along with a wild array of fantastic creatures, and deploys (them) in service of a big, dopey story that remains resolutely uninvolving and quite often annoying.’

Now, as I said earlier, it’s early days yet and a few mediocre reviews aren’t likely enough to torpedo Valerian’s chances at the domestic box office (after all, it’s taken five movies before many moviegoers in the United States noticed that the Transformers movies are really, really bad).

Though I get the feeling at that we’re not going to see Spider-Man: Homecoming-type box office when the movie goes into wide release.

Wonder Woman Looks to Smash Expectations   

Patty Jenkins’ upcoming Wonder Woman feature has a quality that’s shared with no other recent movie bearing the DC logo (and it’s not an opening projection that’s projected somewhere in the ballpark of $175 million worldwide).

The quality in question is its  Rotten Tomatoes score.

According to the aggregator the movie has amassed a 97 percent ‘Fresh‘ rating, which is HUGE because it tells you that the critics that have seen he movie so far like it.

And speaking of critics, keep in mind that as of the writing of this article that percentage was made up of only  66 reviews, so that number is likely to go down, though it shouldn’t be a huge percentage.

Which means that not only will Wonder Woman receive better reviews than either Man Of Steel, Suicide Squad or Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it’s quite likely that it will be the most profitable movie based on a female superhero ever.

At least till Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel arrives on he scene.

‘Guardians’’ Box Office Is Out Of This World!

Marvel Studios’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 has–so far–earned over $425 million worldwide!  The likelihood is high that the it will surpass half a billion by this week, and will more than likely finish its theatrical run over a billion dollars.

It’s worth mentioning that the first movie at the end of its run earned a bit over $773 million, though the sequel is outperforming it handily both domestically and abroad.

Though with Alien: Covenant coming out in 10 days the xenomorphs are looking to to take a bite out Guardians’ box office aspirations, which truth be told is unlikely because Alien: Covenant is R-rated, while Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 is PG-13, which means that not only are each geared to a different audience age-wise, but also viewer-wise.

Alien: Covenant will likely skew male, while Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 will not only draw males, but a greater percentage of women, and children (the latter of which should not be watching the Alien movie at all).

Thor: Ragnarok – Teaser Trailer

I have no idea why they’re calling the new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok a ‘teaser’ because it definitely has all the goods.

Ironically, what makes it such a joy to watch was that the prior movie in the series, Thor: The Dark World–while by no means terrible–was a bit underwhelming.

Director Taika Waititi looks like he’s hit his first feature for Marvel Studios out of the park.