When Wonder Woman premieres on June 2, will it be the key to saving the Warner Bros./DCEU franchise, or will it be the final nail in the coffin that forces the studio to scrap the whole idea? Yes, the trailers have been awesome for Wonder Woman, but so were the trailers for Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. What happens to the DCEU if Wonder Woman flops at the box office?
‘Batman v Superman’ and ‘Suicide Squad’
While the studio didn’t exactly lose money with either Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad, they didn’t make nearly as much as they were hoping for. In addition, critical reviews of both were – well, critical.
So far, Warner Bros./DC has failed to light the kind of fire in the audience that Marvel did with films like Iron Man and The Avengers. Since those earlier movies, Marvel films have been almost universally successful and highly profitable for the studio.
At some point, DC has to have a smash hit. And given the fact that Zack Snyder – the director of Batman v Superman – is also directing the upcoming Justice League movie, there’s no reason to think that it’s a guaranteed smash hit either. So in the near term, Warner’s plans for the DC universe are largely riding on the box office and critical results for Wonder Woman.
Rumors about ‘Wonder Woman’
Over the last year or so, rumors came out suggesting that the Wonder Woman film might be in trouble. According to a letter from an apparently disgruntled employee to studio head Kevin Tsujihara, the film was looking to be a mess.
“I wish to God you were forced to live out of a car until you made a #1 movie of the year. Maybe Wonder Woman wouldn’t be such a mess. Don’t try to hide behind the great trailer. People inside are already confirming it’s another mess. It is almost impressive how you keep rewarding the same producers and executives for making the same mistakes, over and over.”
“Woah, just saw this press about WW having problems. Are they serious? This is some made up bs right here. Made up! Produce a source, anyone. You can’t because it’s entirely false. Don’t believe the hype people. Someone’s trying to spread some serious misinfo. Isn’t until you are intimately involved in these things that you realize how totally false these rumors can.”
Jenkins went on to reassure the potential audience for Wonder Woman that no one who actually saw the early footage of the film was concerned.
“Let me reassure you, zero about the movie we are making has been called a mess by anyone in the know. Fact. Real lasso of truth, time, will reveal that letter to be false soon enough. But lame something so transparent in its agenda gets traction.”
At the same time, it has to be said that the early rumors about script changes and re-shoots regarding Suicide Squad turned out to be fairly accurate. The problem for Warner Bros. is that they set up a massive slate of films and began preproduction on them – and in some cases even filming on them – before Batman v Superman even hit the theaters.
This meant they had already established a particular look, tone and canon for their characters, making it very difficult to shift gears and direction at a later point if anything went wrong. And something definitely went wrong. In short, Wonder Woman was written, approved and being prepared with a certain direction in mind when it came to the overall DCEU slate of films, so it may bear an unfortunate similarity to the two previous films. If this is the case and Wonder Woman fails at the box office, even if Justice League isn’t a total flop Warner Bros. may decide to shelve the entire franchise.
[Featured Image by Matt Cowan/Getty Images]