The Justice League movies will not be shot simultaneously after all. Previously, Warner Bros. had suggested that the two Justice League movies would be two halves of the same story, so they would shoot them at the same time. In the wake of all the changes taking place in the Warner Bros./DC cinematic universe, they’ve apparently decided to shoot these two films separately. Just what this means is not clear.
Chaos after ‘Batman v Superman’
Warner Bros. seemed shocked when Batman v Superman – instead of achieving huge box office numbers and universal praise from critics – was panned by audiences and critics alike. Even though it didn’t exactly lose money for the studio, the roughly $873 million that Box Office Mojo reports it made was nowhere near the above $1 billion they were hoping for.
In the wake of this result – and the criticism of Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. regrouped and switched to a new plan designed to add a bit of light, color, and fun to its movies. In other words, they decided to make them a bit more like Marvel films and less like the Batman films made by Christopher Nolan. Grim as death was clearly out and a bit of humor was in.
In addition, an entirely new set of films were quickly pushed forward into production based on the most popular characters in the two previous films: namely Batman and Harley Quinn. This is how Gotham-based movies like Gotham City Sirens and Nightwing got rubberstamped.
Steering a New Course
Unfortunately for the studio, they had long since laid plans for a series of films based on their previous approach. Suddenly, films that were going to be following the path laid out by Man of Steel and Batman v Superman – and a pretty grim and dark path it was – were going to need a lighter touch.
In the case of the new film, The Batman, starring Ben Affleck as the titular character, a series of rewrites of the existing script were quickly ordered up. Eventually, Affleck himself left the director’s chair on the film – and there are some who think he might give up the role itself. This would be unfortunate, since most people consider his portrayal of the Dark Knight to be the best part of the current Warner Bros./DC universe.
But when it comes to the Justice League, the same director – Zack Snyder – who directed the heavily criticized Batman v Superman was also picked to helm the two Justice League films as well. Once the studio realized that this previous film was almost universally panned, they had to consider what to do about Justice League – which was already in production – and Zack Snyder.
Even though the studio clearly sent the message to Snyder and the production team on Justice League that it needed to be a little less grim than they had planned, it seems fairly clear that Warner Bros. decided the most effective way to limit the damage would be to break Justice League into two entirely separate films.
This naturally meant that they could not be shot simultaneously. For one thing, there’s a reasonable chance that Warner Bros. will decide they want to bring in an entirely new director for a second Justice League movie. And that director would definitely want to choose his/her own direction and shoot his/her own footage.
Of course, the real question is whether this will be enough to save the Warner Bros. DC franchise. If the last two DC films the studio has made, the upcoming Wonder Woman film, and the first Justice League film all fail in the eyes of the public and critics, it may be time for Warner Bros. to call it a day and cancel its upcoming slate of films.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros.]