Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice looks to be one of the biggest blockbusters of 2016 — but if Warner Bros., the studio behind all of the DC Comics superhero films, has its way, Batman V Superman will also be the most humorless, self-important superhero movie ever made. Until the next DC Comics superhero movie.
That, anyway, is the claim in a report originating with the entertainment site HitFix, whose founder and chief writer Drew McWeeny reported this week that Warner Bros. has instituted a strict policy of “no jokes” for not only Batman V Superman, but for its entire planned series of 10 movies featuring DC Comics superhero characters over five years, starting with the March 25, 2016 release of Batman V Superman.
“‘No jokes.’ It would seem like a crazy rule to set for an entire series of films. How can you know what the tone is for every story you’ll be telling in a series before you’ve even started telling it?” McWeeny asked.
McWeeny speculates that the alleged ban on humor in DC Comics superhero movies is a reaction against Warner’s 2011 DC Comics movie Green Lantern, which reportedly earned just $219.8 million at the worldwide box office despite a budget of $200 million, plus another $100 million to market the film.
The movie featured Ryan Reynolds as a wisecracking version of the superhero character of the title, and according to McWeeny’s report, Warner Bros. now appears to believe that the film’s humorous elements played a significant role in its financial failure.
Other fan bloggers, as well as McWeeny, noted the so-called “grim and gritty” tone that, with the exception of Green Lantern, has dominated DC Comics superhero movies since the 2005 Batman Begins and continuing through the 2013 Superman movie Man of Steel.
The supposed humor ban would appear to be a continuation of that approach.
But is the “no jokes” edict for real? McWeeny says that inside sources have related the report to him on at least five occasions. But others are not so sure.
“Warner has had a lot more success than failure when it comes to superhero films that include bits of humor,” wrote Forbes Magazine entertainment industry blogger Mark Hughes. “Quite frankly, in the two instances where the studio made humor-filled superhero movies that failed — ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Batman and Robin’ — the failure wasn’t due to the inclusion of jokes, it was because most audiences simply didn’t think the films were very good.”
Hughes says that Warner execs are savvy enough to understand those nuances, and that is “why they aren’t going to seriously issue some sort of strict ‘no jokes’ policy on these films, and why it’s silly to claim they are or to ask in worried tones if we really face a ‘no jokes future’ for ‘all of their films.'”
Will Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, turn out to be the grimmest and grittiest superhero movie so far produced, with Warner Bros and DC Comics treating their fans to a 100 percent guaranteed laugh-free filmgoing experience? Audiences will eagerly await March 25, 2016 to find out.