Comics-savvy (aren’t they all?) movie beat reporter Borys Kit has a succinct wrap-up, of lessons to be learned from the GREEN LANTERN experience — one that seems to have been a harsh one for DC execs. Barely a word about the movie has been tweeted or blogged since the opening — an exception being Jim Lee who tweeted a contest to win this sweet Kilowog sketch — And they are many; a sequel–already in the writing stages — was supposed to have been greenlit if the film did over $60 million, but the $53 million opening and bad word of mouth may have stopped that.
Kit suggests that comic book movies based on a singular vision tend to do better — something GL did not have:
In contrast, critics pounced on the generic, paint-by-numbers feel of the Lantern movie, which played like dozens of people were in control. And they were. In addition to director Martin Campbell, producer Donald De Line and DC executive Johns, four separate screenwriters were credited, and insiders say that even Warners execs Jeff Robinov, Greg Silverman and Lynn Harris were heavily involved, especially in the editing stage.
Another problem for the movie was the decision to put in more special effects:
Plus, Warners underestimated the scope of the special effects, whose costs began to skyrocket when it was decided that the Green Lantern suit would be created digitally. The complex effects work, combined with the decision to convert the film to 3D, added months to the production schedule, preventing early marketing and test screenings, which could have helped to hone the film.
There’s also the entire Warners culture as it related to DC movies:
At Warners, it’s the studio division that says yes or no to DC projects, and it can change them up however it sees fit. Last summer’s Jonah Hex was a box-office disaster, and even Warners’ quasi-DC movies Watchmen and V for Vendetta failed to lure more than hard-core fanboys. You don’t have to be a geek to make these movies, but you need to know what geeks like and, more importantly, how to translate that into accessible themes.
While the Christopher Nolan Batman movies remain one of Warner’s biggest triumphs, they’re still casting around for a way to expand that franchise. Luckily, the Bruce Timm empire in animation has been quietly keeping these characters alive on the small screen for decades. With that still going strong, there’s hope for the DC heroes yet.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.