30 January 2017 1793 Views

2016: The Year Warner Brothers Dared to Be Different

by Frank Mengarelli

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With recent news of Ben Affleck’s directorial departure from the tentatively titled, THE BATMAN, the state of the DC cinematic universe is a bit uncertain, personally, I have full faith in Snyder and company because I think a lot remains to be seen.  One thing is for certain; the rabid echo chamber is loud as ever.  There are a lot of people who HATE the DC films.  Hate them with a fiery passion.  Hated them before they came out, and once the films came out, they acted as if someone set their Facebook page on fire.

In 2016, Warner Brothers took a huge gamble.  They set out to make films for adults, in their own way.  Sure, they had a lot of catching up to do in regards to the near flawless template that Marvel created, but Warner Brothers made a clear decision; they were making films by adults for adults.  Batman was a blood lusting killer.  Harley Quinn was the epitome of over-sexualization.  Jared Leto took the Joker to an almost unrecognizable level.  Jesse Eisenberg played the anti Lex Luthor.  Both films were so anti-PC, it was a cinematic revelation.

Perhaps there is some trouble at DC, but then again, maybe there isn’t.  The internet has birthed an overpopulated mass of film websites (PTS included) that are a constant trove of clickbait headlines (PTS NOT included).  It seems as if every day for the past year, the state of the DC universe was on the verge of collapsing.  The second JUSTICE LEAGUE film was canceled.  SUICIDE SQUAD 2 isn’t happening.  Early word is WONDER WOMAN is as big of a “mess” as the previous two films.  If there’s one thing I can tell you that I know for certain, no one really knows what’s going on other than the executives at WB/DC.

Here’s the bottom line.  BvS and especially SUICIDE SQUAD made a ton of money.  Sure, BvS underperformed a bit, but it still made a lot of money.  And both films made A LOT more money than the second and third installments of Marvel’s cinematic universe.  Worldwide, SUICIDE SQUAD made 746.6 million dollars, and that was WITHOUT opening in China, which is the biggest market next to America.  SUICIDE SQUAD was a flat-out hit, and Warner Brothers were so happy with it, they signed Margot Robbie to an exclusive deal, which includes the pseudo follow up Harley Quinn film directed by David Ayer.  Will Smith is getting his own Deadshot film, there will be an official sequel to SUICIDE SQUAD at some point, and the FLASH and AQUAMAN films are in the pipeline.

DC Films does not want to be Marvel Studios.  They want to be better, and they still can be.  They have the two most valuable superhero properties; Batman and Superman.  There could be any number of reasons why Ben Affleck decided not to direct THE BATMAN.  It could be the underperformance of LIVE BY NIGHT, it could be that he doesn’t feel comfortable directing a CGI-heavy film, or it could be something completely plausible that will surely be silenced by whatever website decides the real reason is.  Basically, it does not matter.  Ben Affleck is still the Batman, and he still developed the script and is still producing the picture.  If I had to venture a guess as to what’s going on with Affleck is that he’s struggling with whether he wants to be a movie star or an auteur, because realistically, he cannot be both.



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