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I think we can all agree that yesterday’s new Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice trailer was pretty dope. But will it be enough to rescue the fortunes of Warner Bros., whose movie slate of late has been a series of costly flops, from Pan to In the Heart of the Sea. It’s common wisdom that BvS is one of the most important movies ever for WB as they attempt to launch a counterattack to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a full slate of superhero movies.

A couple of reputable movie site pundits have weighed in on the possible future of this slate. Over at HitFix, Drew McWeeny hints darkly that film has not been received all that well now that it’s being test screened:

“Warner is a little bit worried. This movie is starting to scare them. They’re showing it to people now, people are actually laying eyes on the film, and the response has not been exactly what they wanted.”


He says as a result, the Justice League movie (now slated for 2017 with Zack Snyder directing) may be moved back and proceed WITHOUT Snyder, while the planned Ben Affleck starring Batman standalone will be pushed forward. This is due to some jitters over the film, with Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor being the people’s choice from the film. (You’ll note the new trailer is very Superman-lite.)

McWeeny gives a picture of a WB movie making team that is “looking at the entire slate from a position of panic. It’s got to make a billion dollars for people to keep their jobs.” and as is blatantly obvious, there is no Kevin Feige at WB. “There is no hand guiding this,” says McWeeny. “They’ve gotten way ahead on plans, and if they don’t work, [you] don’t know what to do.”

Well, Umberto Gonzalez of Heroic Hollywood was back to refute all this on his regular Periscope. I was interrupted from listening to this by a neighbor’s flooded toilet at 2 am (a rare clog/running/broken valve triple play, I’m told) but Gonzalez says there is no way Snyder is gone, and while there may be some nerves at WB given the recent troubles, “no way [BvS] doesn’t make $1 billion. Maybe they spent a little bit more than they were comfortable spending, but Zack Snyder is not in danger.” He does suspect that the Batman movie will be fast-tracked but charitably suggests “Let’s give them a chance to breathe a little.” 



I’d guess both of these reports are true enough as far as they go. My entire key to understanding the WB comes from a conversation I had a few years ago at San Diego when I was randomly seated next to a former WB writer who told me “The problem is, the studio just doesn’t like or get superheroes.” And indeed, if you look at the long, long history of misfires and aborted efforts at WB from Nicholas Cage Superman, to George Miller JLA to an earlier, abandoned, Baman V Superman, to the leaden Green Lantern, you’ll sense moviemakers badly out of their comfort zone and just taking a shot in the dark and then regretting it.


According to McWeeny, this year’s Batman v Superman was greenlit only two days before it was announced at Comic-Con in 2013, surely a “We’ve got to give this a try!” move. 

The current WB studio heads seem to have more innate understanding of the importance of superheroes then did the prior regimes. But there is still a studio culture that doesn’t quite get it, and it’s an uphill battle. Thus BvS, arguably the start of the biggest film franchise yet, opening in March and not the higher stakes summer window. They couldn’t risk going up against Marvel, and didn’t trust the movie to succeed. 



One thing seems to be certain though: the time has never been better for Wonder Woman. Finally!



20 COMMENTS

  1. If this doesn’t quite make the money WB wants, I’m fascinated to see where they go next. Suicide Squad is basically done, barring post-production, and Wonder Woman is in front of the cameras right now. Those movies are happening no matter what.

    Do they just kinda abandon Superman altogether? Beg George Miller to take over Justice League? What becomes the end game? If there’s one at all…

    Scott Mendelson wrote up a good article at Forbes regarding this movie possibly being Zack Snyder’s “Batman Returns”, which as a cinephile who is a little fatigued from the Marvel way of doing things, would be welcome news…less so the bean counters at WB. https://t.co/i8OZtwJO3e

  2. At least Suicide Squad is getting decent advance buzz, as opposed to the more uneasy feelings about BvS, (which is more due to the feelings about the earlier Man of Steel than anything else).

    The open question which is kept under wraps, is how Wonder Woman plays into the plot of BvS. This could the the aspect which makes or breaks the film. It could be that WW plays the role of teacher, guiding the two title characters into trying to understand each other. At least that’s my hope.

    If what I’m hearing about the potential villain of a JLA movie is right, I’m worried about the franchise. Darksied he’s way too similar to Marvel’s Thanos, who’ll feature in the next Avengers movies.

  3. “The open question which is kept under wraps, is how Wonder Woman plays into the plot of BvS.”

    I hope she has plenty to do, because she’s the only reason I plan to see this movie.

  4. I wonder if it will end up being a situation kind of like what happened with the Spider-Man movies, where they still made money but weren’t connecting with the audience like they used to so they scrapped them all. No way it doesn’t make money, that’s for sure though. I desperately want BvS to be good but with Snyder at the helm, I don’t have much faith that they will be, so it’s gonna be a nervous few months.

  5. drew mcweeney also said that there would be no jokes in the DC universe. Even just from the trailers of the movies this is clearly wrong.

  6. “there is no Kevin Feige at WB”…The moment I read that,,,the article and the site promoting this BS lost its credibility.

  7. Ofcourse….since the last movie was so divisive among audience and a select audience watching the follow up to that sequel cannot be taken as the final reaction. There’s a huge number of comic book fans and general audience highly anticipating its release. Looks like this angle/rumor is building up from a series of fan hatred towards Snyder’s accomplishment to this date with all his work and the last trailer that had a positive reaction quickly needed an offset treatment from the obvious sources.. Sources trying to relate to Kevin Feige’s creative model as the method to adopt are keeping a biased approach since the latest outings from Marvel didn’t perform money wise as in the expected range.

  8. “I’d guess both of these reports are true enough as far as they go. My entire key to understanding the WB comes from a conversation I had a few years ago at San Diego when I was randomly seated next to a former WB writer who told me ‘The problem is, the studio just doesn’t like or get superheroes.'”

    Wasn’t one of the reasons for forming the DC Entertainment division to overcome this very problem?

  9. “since the latest outings from Marvel didn’t perform money wise as in the expected range.”

    What does this mean?

    “Avengers- Age of Ultron” made over a billion dollars and it wasn’t even a good movie. Also, all the talk of Ant Man’s mediocre box office returns came before it was discovered that the money had legs and continued to make good money long after opening weekend. Its final box office numbers are pretty good- better than Captain America and close to Thor- especially since it was Marvel’s cheapest movie to make.

    I don’t doubt that BVS will cross the billion dollar mark, but the final cost for production is ranging from between $200 million and “450 million. If the latter number proves true, BVS could make Avengers-level money and still be not as profitable.

    WBs business model seems flawed. Too much money is getting thrown around. I’m pretty sure “Suicide Squad” will be a HUGE (Guardians of the Galaxy-type) success, but nobody I know personally- just random voices online- seems to be excited about Wonder Woman. The idea of having her exist in 2016 feels too dated. Most people I talk to aren’t even that excited about her presence in the BVS movie. My guess is that this will be WBs first big failure.

    Then the real panic starts.

  10. “Most people I talk to aren’t even that excited about her presence in the BVS movie. My guess is that this will be WBs first big failure.”

    And then we’ll have to wait another 10 years for a female superhero movie.

  11. Maybe. At the moment female heroes seem to be fairing better on Netflix and television. Good stories will are starting to be told about women superheroes regardless of whether it ends up being on film or not.

    I know everyone wants a female superheroine to be successful, but I don’t think Wonder Woman is the way to go. In fairness, I don’t think Marvel’s hopes for a Carol Danvers Ms. Marvel movie is a good idea either. You would get a much better movie out of Kamala Khan, like a superpower we don’t see as often as super strength (I’m tired of super strength) and a younger hero that really could be identifiable to girls. And her ethnicity could create interesting political sub-text..

    But maybe I’m not giving Wonder Woman enough credit. I just don’t think every superhero/ superheroine can translate well to film. And her powers have always felt redundant with Superman around. How many really strong people does one film need. Thus, her current role seems to be- look sexy and do what Superman (in what was suppose to be his movie) could be doing- but with a sword and shield. I also think her big jump, presumably at Doomsday, in the last trailer is kind of cheesy.

    I guess I’m just not in a big hurry to see female heroines in film unless they are done right. I’m looking at you- whoever it was that thought that Black Widow getting with the Hulk would be a good sub-plot.

  12. “:but nobody I know personally- just random voices online- seems to be excited about Wonder Woman.”

    Everybody I know, and lots of random and not random voices online, are very excited for Wonder Woman. You may not know the right people personally.

  13. I love movie trailers. And I love to feel the reaction of an audience to those trailers in a theatre. But now it’s a strange experience because most trailers have been played out online before people see them on the big screen. It’s all old news by that point.

    When I went to see Star Wars back in December, all of the coming attractions that preceded the film played to a crowd that had obviously seen them all before, so there was little, if any, reaction.

    Captain America: Civil War — nothing.

    Independence Day: Resurgence — pretty quiet (I might have heard a cough or two)..

    Batman V Superman — silence — until Wonder Woman appeared — then these apparently unimpressed theatergoers erupted with whoops and cheers! You could feel some honest-to-goodness electricity in the house. Even if they had seen her in the trailer before, they couldn’t help themselves!

    Not a scientific measure by any means, but I think people are more excited to see Wonder Woman on the big screen than some might think, It might be this movie’s ace-in-the-hole. And bodes well for her solo film.

  14. Possibly. I’ll consider telling my friends that I need new friends.

    However, I would like to say that its not sexism that is the reason why a lot of my friends aren’t really excited about Wonder Woman. My friends who have seen Jessica Jones have loved it. It’s the source material.

    D.C. has better female characters to put on film than Wonder Woman. (Her- very dated- name after all is Wonder Woman) We are seeing a Wonder Woman film because of her “iconic history” and strong Justice League connection.

    The same is true of Aquaman. Hell!- Bruce Timm didn’t even add Aquaman as a common Justice League character in his animated series. Yet soon both he and WW will soon be upon us. I apologize if my scepticism offends anyone.

    Sometimes Internet buzz translates into the real world, sometimes it doesn’t. With those I talk too about WW, people feel a bit differently than the Internet. Erik, if we are moving in different circles, I hope yours gets the Wonder Woman movie that you want to see and that it truly is smash hit. I’m just one voice who is not putting money on that outcome.

  15. “Sometimes Internet buzz translates into the real world, sometimes it doesn’t.”

    True. Remember the online predictions that SNAKES ON A PLANE would be the most popular movie of all time?

    “At the moment female heroes seem to be fairing better on Netflix and television.”

    Maybe that’s because the TV audience is more heavily female than the movie audience. I say “maybe” because I don’t know. I assume that guys are watching Jessica Jones and Supergirl, but it’s the women I know who are most devoted to those shows, and most excited about new episodes.

  16. Wonder Woman is a GREAT character. She’s just been poorly handled for most of her history, by clueless writers who had no idea what to do with her. Robert Kanigher may have been the worst, and DC let him write the book for 21 years!

    Check out George Perez’s run in the late ’80s to see how to do Wonder Woman right.

    http://www.comics.org/issue/42477/cover/4/

  17. I’ll admit George, I don’t know much about Wonder Woman’s comic run. I mostly know how she’s portrayed through animated films/t.v. shows and in a certain 70’s television show. (DC is miles ahead of Marvel in animated films.) I also know that DC Comics has a pretty embarrassing past.

    I am aware that DC has tried over the years to reinvent her. I believe what Charlie wrote probably happened, even though it goes against what I’ve been writing…so I could be VERY wrong. (It is all just speculation at this point.) And I’ll admit to being a bit too harsh on Wonder Woman’s character in my previous posts to make my points.

    One concern about her solo film is that its success rests a lot on how well she’s portrayed in Snyder’s film. It’s a bit unfortunate that Snyder will get his hands on her first cause her potentially redeeming origin story looks like it won’t get fair treatment if the film tries to include too much…like the rumours suggest.

    I’ll do some research the Perez’s run on Wonder Woman. The artwork from the link looks fantastic and you are clearly passionate about it. Also, good things seem to be generally happening in comics during that period.

  18. It is going to be huge. How do I know? My 11 year old neighbor is putting together groups of friends to go see it opening weekend and every adult i know outside comics said they will be seeing it. Those two things, to me, mean it will be a hit. Hey, I know its not science, but it is what it is.

  19. Heidi says “there is no Kevin Feige at WB.” I don’t understand the allure of that guy. I watch movies according the director, actors, story and not because the producer.
    WB has a brain trust formed by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder and Geoff Johns and it is something similar to Pixar that also has a brain trust. Creatively, I think it is better follow Pixar steps than Marvel. However it seems Comicsbeat just cares about box office and not about the quality of the movies (Marvel movies are very frivolous).

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