Last week The Hollywood Reporter ran a succinct piece about Warner Bros. and its current box office woes. Behind a string of flops and under performers like Hot Pursuit, Vacation, Magic Mike XXL (it’s a classic folks), and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., WB is finishing #3 for the summer for the second year in a row—a far cry from when they ruled the roost with the Hobbit and Harry Potter. Adding insult to injury, the current Universal smash Straight Outta Compton was put into turnaround by WB when they deemed it too pricey.
On the hot seat for the doldrums, CEO Kevin Tsujihara (depicted in this amusing illo by Thomas Kuhlenbeck) and production chief Greg Silverman. To be fair they weren’t exactly handed Fabregé eggs when they took over in 2013. (The Man from U.N.C.L.E. really???), but the fall slate doesn’t look much better, anchored by Pan, which looked treacly and predictable in the Hall H preview. However help is on the way next year: A brand new Fantastic Beasts trilogy set in the Harry Potterverse and written by J.K. Rowling herself. And of course the DCU movies, which just can’t arrive fast enough. And Tsujihara knows it, as this quote shows:

He says this summer would have looked better had Warners not pushed Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice from July to March 2016. “It was a tough decision at the time because it was going to create a hole in 2015,” he says. “But it was absolutely the right decision for the franchise, for DC and the movie. Having seen the movie multiple times, and again last night, I’m extremely confident it was the right decision to make the movie better. And it’s so important for the studio to get the foundation right on DC.”

This cannot be overstated. While it’s hard to imagine the new Rowling movies not making Christmas bank (The first one opens November 2016), the DC movies are still subject to a great deal of internal fretting and fanboy/fangirl concern trolling. It will be hard for Batman v Superman to “flop” but then Man of Steel made money but you never hear that. The big big question: will Suicide Squad be the next Guardians of the Galaxy? Or the next Green Lantern. Maybe if he watches BvS a few more times, Tsujihara will know.


  1. It sometimes feels like I’m the only person on the planet that’s really excited for Batman v Superman, but the echo chamber of the internet doesn’t reflect reality too often.

  2. “The Man from U.N.C.L.E. really???”

    You’d think the failures of DARK SHADOWS and THE LONE RANGER would have shown Hollywood that while an old TV show might be revered by a certain generation, nobody is exactly clamoring for a movie version. Of course, there was no great demand for reboots of Spider-Man or Fantastic Four, either.

    I think the last Warner movie I saw was Paul Thomas Anderson’s INHERENT VICE, which was supposed to have a wide release until the studio panicked and kept it in “limited” release. Cowards!

  3. Oops, forgot that was from Warner. Thanks, Kyle!

    Seriously, does Warner have anything interesting coming out in the fall or winter? Is everything at a standstill until BATMAN V. SUPERMAN opens in March? Warner did have 2014’s biggest box office hit (AMERICAN SNIPER). Maybe the profits from that will keep the studio afloat for a while.

  4. To be fair, Disney isn’t even in first place between the studios this year and they had two super hero movies and a Pixar film. THey are getting “trounced” (I use that word with tongue firmly in cheek) by Universal who is having their best box office year in years.

    I mean, the other way to look at this, from WB’s point of view is, they have no major super hero movies or franchise tentpoles and they are still in third place only (I think) 5 or 6% total box office dollars for the year behind Disney. I’d be pretty happy with that if I was WB.

  5. Also, Heidi, I’m sure producing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. had a lot less to do with propping up that franchise, and a lot more to do with keeping Guy Ritchie, who directed those little Sherlock Holmes movies for them, happy. I totally understand them playing the long game on that movie.

    Also, I saw it, and it was unexpectedly a lot of fun and not at all what I was expecting.

  6. “I totally understand them playing the long game on that movie.”

    Sort of like Warner used to let Clint Eastwood direct a personal project like BIRD in exchange for another Dirty Harry movie.

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