The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Zack Snyder is no longer the frontman for DC films. Geoff Johns will join Jon Berg in co-running the DC Cinematic Universe at Warner Bros from now on. This is the first in a long list of changes taking place at the studio in order to provide structure and oversight for future DC projects. The studio has been working to shy away from the Marvel method by letting individual directors shape the vision of their own films. Now, DC is hoping to emulate the way Marvel churns out their films by having a point person keep continuity in check. This new shift for Johns and Berg automatically makes them producers on all of the Justice League films. In a nutshell, the DC/WB overhaul is a long-term fix to prevent what would appear to be a disappointing run of DC films.
There have been a series of events that led to this point. It starts with the poor critical response and the mixed fan reaction of Batman v Superman. Warner Bros. had hoped for the film to make $1 billion dollars worldwide, but Box Office Mojo shows that the film is sitting at $870 million which is just shy of the $1 billion the studio hoped for. Warner Bros. needed to make that money back in order to recoup the loss from the cinematic financial flops they produced in 2015. From there, Warner Bros. made the announcement that they would be cutting their film slate down to focus on their franchises and DC comic films. This is more of an economic decision made in an effort to curb financial loss.
Soon after the numbers were in, Deadline reports that Batman v Superman actor Ben Affleck became an executive producer on the 2017 Justice League film. He will be working closely with director Zack Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio behind the scenes with hands in every facet of the film. Affleck is an award-winning director who definitely knows his way around a movie set, so this is a smart move on behalf of Warner Bros. But the fallout ripples a lot farther than this.
In June 2015, it was announced that director James Wan will direct the Aquaman film which is slated for release in 2020. However, Cosmic Book News explains that Wan may be having second thoughts about directing the film. Apparently, the critical reaction to Batman v Superman has frightened the director against working with Warner Bros. He is currently weighing his options as he isn’t sure working with DC is worth it. Meanwhile, Seth Grahame-Smith has dropped out of directing the Flash film. Smith parted ways with the studio due to having “creative differences.” Warner Bros. has yet to announce another director for the film.
Now, things have come full circle with Geoff Johns acting as the continuity lead at DC/WB. Think of Johns in a similar role to President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige. Variety points out that Johns has been the driving force behind successful CW television shows such as Arrow, Flash, and now Supergirl. With his implementation into the film, Affleck, Berg, and Johns will have prime input into Justice League which is slated for release in 2017.
The experience with director Zack Snyder has shown Warner Bros. that there is a need for continuity. Batman News states there is even speculation that the only reason Snyder is still directing the Justice League film is because it was too late to find another director. The studio still wants to keep their films director-driven, but for now, all changes will have to go through Berg and Johns.
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