‘Batman v Superman’: Where’s the Superhero Suit at Warner Bros.?

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Director Zack Snyder is a skilled visualist, but is he really the one to bring an overarching vision together?

When I finally caved for a second viewing of Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” I spotted only six or seven other people in the theater. Even following a dramatic 69% second weekend drop, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

This is “Batman v Superman,” a blockbuster event meant to jump-start an entire cinematic universe, yet in its 13th day of release, the superhero pic mustered only $2.8 million, a number that couldn’t even match Marvel’s “Ant-Man” ($3 million), Snyder’s previous foray “Man of Steel” ($4 million) or even Tim Burton’s 1989 reintroduction to “Batman” on the big screen ($4.36 million). It was a heavily front-loaded release, to be sure: a $166 million opening was a rallying cry for proponents in the face of countless critical pans. But at this point, hitting the magic $1 billion figure in worldwide grosses seems to be out of reach.

If all the recent release date shuffling and rumored restructuring of the Warner Bros. status quo didn’t make it clear, those numbers certainly should: They’re close to hitting the panic button in Burbank this week.

Reports suggest an ongoing culture shift at the studio, with fewer original titles being greenlit as WB doubles down on franchise generators like DC Comics, Lego and Harry Potter. Certainly there’s a fever, what with Disney printing money from the “Star Wars” and Marvel hit parade. But the hot seat is getting hotter, as this is the year Warner chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s chickens come home to roost.

Tsujihara got the gig in January 2013 and plans were immediately set in motion to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Snyder took the reins on a “Man of Steel” follow-up, announced at Comic-Con that year as an apparent take on the 1986 Frank Miller classic “The Dark Knight Returns.” On stage at the San Diego Convention Center, the director brought out “Man of Steel” star Harry Lennix to read a passage from the Miller story, the lights dimmed, and the familiar Batman/Superman logo hit the screen, sending 6,000 screaming fans into ecstasy.


Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

‘Batman v Superman’ Suffers 69% Drop in Second Weekend

Affleck was cast in August that year, and soon enough, he brought on Oscar-winning “Argo” scribe Chris Terrio to help turn the project into a thoughtful exploration of the comic book ethos. That was going to be crucial, given that Snyder is obsessed with iconography, a visualist more than a storyteller. Inevitably, though, the film became more of a corporate vision. It was given an utterly ridiculous title that bent over backwards to cram in three keywords — Batman, Superman and Justice (League) — and mandates were put forth to lay the groundwork. But underneath the promotional noise, a real attempt was being made to dabble in DC’s philosophical bedrock and deconstruct the tendencies of comic book cinema.

“In the way that ‘Deadpool’ took the piss out of the genre, and therefore was post-modern in the way it said, ‘Look at the conventions of this,’ this was a minor key version of that,” a source told me.

Nevertheless, we’re left with a movie in which a central character literally sits down to watch trailers for three other movies. “Batman v Superman” is bursting at the seams, desperate to make up the ground DC has lost to Marvel over the past seven years. You can almost picture the boardroom meeting: “We need our Avengers now.”

Ironically, the studio’s franchise potential was stalled by the very filmmaker who ignited interest in this new era of comic book movies over a decade ago: Christopher Nolan. Nolan was adamant for years that his Batman not exist in any shared universe with other characters from the DC canon. “It was like, ‘Thank you very much, we’ll take it from here,'” a source says. “He would just do it, and deliver.”

Indeed, Nolan’s “Dark Knight” franchise churned out roughly $2.5 billion in worldwide box office receipts. No one was complaining. But having a key character be hijacked for so long tied WB’s hands when it came to the fast-approaching new paradigm. “The Dark Knight” hit theaters in 2008, the same year as “Iron Man” (which kicked off Marvel’s trajectory). It would be three more years before Nolan would finally conclude his trilogy.

In truth, the studio had a 40-year head start on Marvel. DC has been under the Warner banner ever since being folded into Warner Communications way back in 1969 (when it was still known as National Periodical Publications). Nobody quite saw this brave new world of grossly conglomerated media coming, but with a stronger vision, Warners could have been way out ahead of the game.

And that’s what seems to be missing: overriding vision. Warner Bros. strives to be a filmmaker-friendly studio that would like to make an artist-centered model work, and at least conceptually, that’s commendable. But when you’re dealing with something as ungainly as an entire comic book universe, a certain amount of oversight — artistically invested, not corporate — feels only necessary. So the big problem, as far as I see it, remains this lack of a central node, someone akin to Marvel’s Kevin Feige who is intimately attuned to the source material, drawing the various strings together.

For a period, WB was keen on Geoff Johns for such a role. But that’s a tall order for DC’s chief creative officer, who is already stretched very thin. While he is currently writing the upcoming stand-alone Batman film with Affleck, he also wears a number of other hats. “Geoff is really smart, but he’s got like 10 different jobs,” a source says. “He’s writing comic books, controlling DC, writes on [TV’s] ‘The Flash’ — I would imagine Feige’s is a full-time job just managing this stuff. So I don’t know how you ask Geoff, in the best of both worlds, to do that.”

Snyder, therefore, has been making the bulk of the creative decisions. And he has provided the fans with a lot of the imagery they want to see, from a vibrant vision of Superman’s home world borrowed from John Byrne’s “The World of Krypton” to the iconic cover of Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” No. 1 (blink and you miss it). The new film even manages to pack in moments from story arcs such as “The Death of Superman” and “Funeral for a Friend.” But as skilled as Snyder is at capturing a striking frame, he just isn’t the guy to pull all of this narrative complexity together.

I’m told production exec Jon Berg and Time-Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes are taking more of a hands-on approach now, paying closer attention to overarching story concerns, but someone well-versed in both production and DC’s minutiae is what’s needed. Greg Silverman, head of film production at WB, has his hands full steering the overall ship, while DC Entertainment boss Diane Nelson, who also oversees the company’s core publishing business, may have too much on her plate. Meanwhile, the competition has production company Marvel Studios — with a creative driving force at the top — yet DC, surprisingly, still doesn’t have an analog.

As for “Batman v Superman,” those involved weren’t prepared for the critical knives the film received, but they always knew it was going to be a transitional film, bridging the gap between “Man of Steel” (which was produced with no plan in place to expand the universe) and anything approaching the Avengers/Super Friends mold. But I’m told “Justice League” will be a crowd-pleaser more suited to Snyder’s talents, and that the upcoming two-part event is “extremely kinetic and visual.” It will be far more straightforward than existential in its handling of superheroes.

So maybe the bounce-back will be considerable when it finally hits screens in November of next year. Either way, with production scheduled to start next week in London, the pressure is officially on.

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  1. Say, Kristopher Tapley, Don’t you think that the studio execs would take more of a hands on approach since they are going all in with DC films (along with the Leggo and Fantastic Beast franchises) and not going with films based on original content? They are kind of taking more of a risk now than ever due to the lack of genre diversity (although they are basing their decision on the numbers).

  2. fettastic says:

    The DCU is crying out for Bruce Timm to steer the ship. His should have been the very first number they called.

    • What has Bruce Timm done in the way of a live action major motion picture? Granted, he did “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, but it only grossed $5.6 million (the highest grossing film he has ever directed). Maybe he could do an animated movie or something.

  3. CharlesATX says:

    Put Berlanti & Kreisberg, et.al, in charge. They’ve created a cohesive multiverse
    across 2 earths, 4 shows, 2 networks, and who-knows-how-many characters,
    running the gamut of tone from dark (Arrow), middle (Legends, Flash) and light (Supergirl,
    the upcoming Booster Gold/Blue beetle).
    They know how to tell a story. They know how to create consistent narrative and tone.
    They know and respect the DC history and “canon”, and have shown that they
    can make judicious deviations when it suits their story.
    Of all the possible choices that I’ve heard about, they have more experience
    with the DC multiverse than anyone.

  4. Kieran says:

    Let’s not beat around the bush here. When it comes down to it it’s money. Until Christopher Nolan dug his paws back into the DC universe (thanks to the creative leverage he pulled from his previous films), it was more of a gimmic and WB wanted nothing of it. Why flog a dead horse?
    Don’t get me wrong…it seems whoever green lighted these projects knows what they’re doing, but once they take off, and the imaginately-deprived bean counters take note, it falls down the predictable commercialized quicksand.

    “Batman? Why Not! Tim Burton? Sounds Good!…Wait, Batman? Made alotta money? Let’s give it to Joel Silver!”

    As surprisingly informative that this article is, it neglects to mention the basic fallacy that, in the hands of the those holding the purse strings, substance will slowly and inevitably be drowned out by it’s potential.

  5. tlsnyder42 says:

    Superhero movies should be fun. Face it, DC Comics just aren’t as interesting or as entertaining as Marvel Comics. Zach is a fair director at best.

  6. Sack Zack. He sucks! Man of Bore was an abomination, and BVS wasn’t much better.

  7. Daniel says:

    “I’m told “Justice League” will be a crowd-pleaser more suited to Snyder’s talents, and that the upcoming two-part event is “extremely kinetic and visual.””

    But didn’t you just say that that was exactly the problem? WB is too concerned with how visual everything is, and not enough with whether or not the story is any good?

    • No, actually, I didn’t. I said Snyder wasn’t the guy to bring the narrative complexity of an over-arching universe together, that he’s better as a visualist. I think people are reading too much into this particular passage. It won’t be something that’s dumbed down. It’s simply that BvS was dealing in more nuance, by its very nature, than a movie about a group of superheroes fighting an extra-terrestrial villain. And Snyder’s talents may therefore be better suited to that, yielding a (potentially) more satisfying product.

  8. billyC says:

    Very Simple. GET RID OF ZACK SNYDER AND HIRE A DIRECTOR THAT HAS A GOOD RT SCORE! Disney has done the right thing. Look at all the Marvel and Starwars movie they pumped recently. All directed by visionaries with at least an average 70+% on RT. Zack, outside of 300, has been pumping out Rottens the last decade. Find and replace with a good director, and the DCEU may be saved! Idiots at WB just don’t get it. I would make a better executive!

    • You’re absolutely right. Zack Snyder clearly doesn’t have what it takes. All style and no substance!
      I (stupidly) bought Man of Steel on Blu-ray, and I had clearly glossed over in my mind just how awful it is. Any Director that can spend (what seemed like) a third of the move doing nothing but a fight scene clearly has no vision at all. It should’ve been called Man of Bore. And BVS was just the same. Prolonged, boring, and full of its own self-importance. I literally fell asleep. SACK ZACK!

  9. Tobias Kuhn says:

    You can’t start your cinematic universe with pieces of “The Dark Knight returns” and “Death of Superman” these are stand alone endgame stories.and if they take the DCEU in the direction of Injustice: Gods Among Us, i will cut someone. The game was great but that’s it.

  10. Jim says:

    “But I’m told ‘Justice League’ will be a crowd-pleaser more suited to Snyder’s talents, and that the upcoming two-part event is ‘extremely kinetic and visual.’ It will be far more straightforward than existential in its handling of superheroes.” So even less story and substance than B vs. S? Ummm, they don’t seem be getting it.

  11. jonpaw says:

    The 2 DCEU movies have grossed an average $725million and rising so, yes Zack Snyder is the man for the job! Guess how much Marvel EU Phase one averaged? Nowhere NEAR the mighty Zack Snyder phase one!

    • Jim says:

      Gross receipts mean little without factoring in marketing costs (which are not part of the reported production budgets) and the fact that the theaters take a big cut of the gross receipts. Marvel’s phase one films had far smaller budgets and marketing costs. You’re comparing characters who had no previous major movies to characters like Batman and Superman who have each had several movies prior to this one? That’s apples and oranges. This movie will make less than the last two Dark Knight movies. So adding Superman and Wonder Woman to Batman will bring in less money than just Batman did. Not to mention, the last solo Iron Man movie will gross about $300 million more than a team-up movie with Batman AND Superman AND Wonder Woman (three of the most marquee comic book characters in history). That’s just sad. Face facts. WB and Snyder are screwing things up when it comes to these DC films. There’s nothing wrong with the DC characters and source material. It’s WB that is the problem.

      • Kristopher Tapley, how can you say that the film objectively underperformed? There’s no hard evidence of that (note that we only have estimates). Yes, we all have our expectations based on the last couple of Batman films, but certainly, if “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were in theaters for 21 to 33 weeks like those films were, it would surely make more than $1 billion.

      • jonpaw says:

        12 marvel cinematic universe movies. 5 spiderman movies. 8 xmen movies. 25 total Marvel movies and only 5 of those made $800million. Also BatmanvSuperman will probably pass the two Spiderman movies that among those 5. So only 3 marvel movies out of 25 can compete with the box office of BatmanvSuperman haha

      • I don’t think you understand these things in terms of landscapes. Pointing to the difference in box office between the “phase ones” of these two companies is sort of idiotic. BvS enters a landscape where a Batman/Superman movie should have OVERperformed. It objectively underperformed. That’s where we’re at. Stop building straw men.

      • jonpaw says:

        And BTW Marvel had its most successful film in phase one! haha

      • jonpaw says:

        First 2 dceu movies OVERperform first 3 mcu and then some($30mil over first 3)- It’s a different landscape alright -It’s a DC landscape! Inflation adjustment can’t fix that either haha #byemarvel

      • jonpaw says:

        Also Iron man as a franchise is BENEATH Superman in alltime gross!

      • jonpaw says:

        Harry Potter and the half blood prince 2009. $250million budget grossed $934million. Did that movie make any money? Did they have these huge unreported expenses? Grow up MARVELTARD!

      • jonpaw says:

        Marketing costs are not reported as part of production costs so you just speculate because the FACTS say BvS grossed far more than the Marvel average by millions and millions and millions. haha

      • ant says:

        since you seem to be claiming you know numbers, lets see… the numbers at the box office worldwide has already covered the budget and the marketing cost, it took iron man 3, 19 weeks to make 400 mil plus, wanna see, go check the numbers. since you said comparing iron man to batman and superman is liek appes and oranges, from a stand point. iron man 3 had 2 previous successful movies to compete now and BvS is fairly new to the game as a second entry to newly formed dceu. BvS is only heading into it’s 4 weeks, sure a movie of its scale needs to double its budget but we don’t know where it’s headed yet and it’s already about to hit 800 worldwide, it’s far from a flop. like i said want proof, go check the numbers and time frame, it’s on almost every single box office site. if you you wanna talk theater chain taking their cut, everyone knows theaters don’t take much of the studios ticket sales when the movie first release, that’s why movie theaters reccomend you to see the movie later. so the $166 mil majority belongs to WB. haters gon hate.

      • BvS isn’t “fairly new” to any game that previously saw seven iterations of one character (nine if you count Batman ’66 and Mask of the Phantasm) and six of the other on the big screen. Sorry. Weak excuse.

        Also, “Iron Man 3” took 6 1/2 weeks to hit $400 million domestic — a number BvS will likely not even reach — not 19. Third weekend gross was $35.7 mil. BvS: $23.4 mil.

        And if we’re going with the dubious assertion that BvS is “fairly new,” well, the first “Iron Man” outgrossed it on the third weekend, too, so…

        This isn’t about “haters” and the longer DC fanbots obsess on the lame-as-hell “war” between the DC and Marvel fanbases, the more they lose themselves.

      • Charles Xavier says:

        This. This is the single best comment I have read so far since the whole fiasco with BvS. Nothing more to add. Completely agreed.

  12. Why not Grant Morrison? He’s written for so many DC properties, for so long that no one could know the universe better, and he’s an awesome storyteller. His run on the Justice League years back was terrific. Or did they ask and he said “no?”

  13. Dre 3000 says:

    It doesn’t matter WHO’S in charge, if the movies don’t feature an entertaining story, or likable main characters. BvS was very stubbornly made, and at times forgot that it was a superhero movie. With a few adjustments, JL can be awesome, WITH Snyder directing.

  14. jj says:

    Did Antman or Guardians of the Galaxy break even? Did Thor and Thor 2 break even? Did Captain America 1 or 2 break even? This negative narrative is unjustified. Batman 1989 was way darker than this movie while the Nolan pictures are darker than this product. It is a serious movie with some light moments. Just because it doesn’t have 30 minute of humor like Ant Man doesn’t mean it is dark movie.

    • What “negative narrative?” Stating facts about box office performance?

    • Joseph (Djo) Fortunato says:

      Batman 89 had Robert Wuhl commenting on Leaton’s Bruce Wayne left and right to Kim Basinger’s one note scream queen portrayal of Vicki Vale. And Jack Nicholsen was enough levity to make even a sadistic crime lord totally likeable and self aware to a degree that you couldn’t take your eyes off him.

      Grounding the DC mythos in relatable human drama a La Nolan’s films, but having human supporting characters say things like “I’m not a woman. I’m a journalist.” is what they mean by not providing compelling narrative thru likeable characters.

      2 dimensionality works when the audience is laughing – see Melissa McCarthy’s victory this past weekend (or really, much of the content of the Marvel films). But without such aplomb as Hiddleston’s Loki or Ledger’s riveting riffing as the Joker, these films fall flat on appeal – to fans or non fans alike.

      I found myself , regarding BvS, asking whether I’m more of a devoted comics fan, or a dedicated film buff.

      But it’s a false dichotomy. Turns out I’m simply a fan of good storytelling, in Any medium.

      Yes, there are many poorly written comics & just as many sub-parts written movies. But someone in the band has to have their act together – even if it’s their manager, so that the entire operation doesn’t spin off its wheels, thinking it can reinvent 75 years of lore and over 100 years of movies, just by flipping thru the pictures of a graphic novel . (*Snyder clearly didn’t read the Text of The Dark Knight Returns, in his claims Batman was a violent killer who used guns, as Miller’s imagery is at constant odds with his text there. Sure, Bats holds a machine gun in sillouette to Super on one iconic cover, and grabs one from a punk to fire at them off camera, rescuing a kidnapped child by (visually vague, but clear in the following pages that Bats is charged with breaking and entering , assault, but not Murder) shooting them in their gray stained shoulder to knock them out. & How much clearer can you get than Bats crushing a rifle in his bare hands, declaring “These are the weapons of our enemies. We do not use them.” When assuming leadership of the underground Mutants gang. (It would only be unclear if you flipped thru, without reading the words.)

      WB deserve to know that Snyder’s claims of comics Fandom amount to worshipping a man most fans now swear off as unhinged and neo-fascist in his output: Frank Miller. And that Injustice the Video Game is an alternate world take on the mythos, not considered canon in the least. (A neat take, but just cut there’s a comic tie-in published in conjunction with a video game doesn’t make it a part of comics lore, by any means. That’s like saying the Insane Clown Posse are official spokesmen for the Joker gang.)

      WB are old school Hollywood. I get it. Built on 20th Century, Pre-Internet honcho mentality that the brass balls of an up and coming filmmaker ought earn them rights to have creative freedom to make bigger, more blockbusting films.

      But not every person who claims to be a steward of a vast decades deep Fandom-centric property
      can deliver on their word as bond.

      Do the “Long Box” / “Pull List” test that I’m pretty confident Feige has all prospective directors undergo, to earn a right to make their films.

      Yes, you’ll be interviewing some folks who, socially, in 20th century thinking, an exec would rather see relegated to making copies and filing or coffee fetching. But look at Facebook. Look at Google.

      The Geeks have taken over the world, and thinking you can pull one over on the public with hiked rates and sub part product, like a Comcast or a Verizon, AT&T just isn’t going to cut it, when over half your customers read your proverbial Yelp Reviews.

      Ask your directors if they read comics.

      Sidenote: actor John Berthal cited a comic shop visit in Brooklyn, where the cashier told him “You’re not reading these. You’re reading this. And this. And these. Don’t mess this up.” Before he dove headfirst into charactrr research for his role as the Punisher.

      His only public appearances that year were Instagram pics of him at various comics shops, buying Piles of some of the best Punisher stories ever written.

      It paid off. Astoundingly (!)

      So, it’s not just your directors who could use the help. You need people & faces on board who not only understand the instructions & outs of the film industry, but who know, when entering a comics shop, with their dizzying aisles of long white boxes & overstuffed shelves – how to separate the Wheat from the Chaff.

      As a comics maker myself, I know when to trust good writing over flashy sales ploys for shock value. Each Wed, a bevy of new books is on the shelves, to be pored thru or passed over.

      Multiply that by years, decades, and Reprints.

      If it’s been reprinted, it might be because those are stories that, in fans eyes, Define those characters.

      Or it might not. Could just be it sold a bunch of books because it looked cool to 13 yr old boys.

      It’s an industry built on impulse, that draws fans who then become professionals , & produce occasional Gems and Fandom Gold.

      Good luck. (& if I -or anyone- walk in your offices carrying long boxes like a boom box, don’t write me off as a weirdo. Invite me in for a meeting.)

  15. Bram Eisenthal says:

    God is this ever a poorly written, overlong and BO-ring article. Seriously, THIS is journalism???? Variety you are better than this drivel.

    • Quick Google search of your name shows you have a Superman tattoo. Helps me keep this comment in perspective, thanks.

    • Rex says:

      Yeah, Variety, you should hire Bram Eisenthal as a writer, ’cause he knows how to properly emphasize words just like a real pro. I mean, the sheer brilliance of “BO-ring” cannot be underestimated when considering this man for a job.

  16. P. B. Smith says:

    Doubling down on DC Comics movies shows a disconnect from reality that requires stockholder intervention. BvS cannot break even, all markers point to it earning LESS for Warner than Man of Steel, which was itself not really popular enough to warrant a sequel. Continuing to build on Zack Snyder’s foundation is criminally irresponsible. This is not WB fanboy’s money, it is a studio that is a part of a corporation that makes movies for profit. The religious dedication to making comic books dark and cynical is not appropriate and the people responsible need to be removed, NOW, before another project is greenlit.

    • jonpaw says:

      DCEU Phase one(average$725Million) is destroying Marvel EU phase one(average$635million) and it will only get SADDER for Marvel-ites! $100million less per movie!

      • Rex says:

        Jonpaw!! Back to your Magic The Gathering table at the back of the comic shop, NOW. And buy some deodorant, fer chrissakes!

      • jonpaw says:

        the 8 x men movies? BvS has outgrossed them at the box office including that idiot deadpool. The 5 Spiderman movies? BvS will outgross them all soon. The 12 MCU movies? BvS has out grossed 9 of them and justice league 1&2 will MOP UP THE REST!

      • jonpaw says:

        Yes let’s not bother with facts MARVELTARD! 2 Dc EU movies have FAR higher box office average gross than marvel phase one this fact will not change!

  17. cyrus hunter says:

    DC needs to put Bruce timm and Paul dini in charge of over seeing the universe

  18. oofis says:

    WB/DC made a movie with the three most famous superheroes in the world that most kids aren’t able to go see. And those that do are likely not going to want to see it again – eithet bored, scared or too bummed out by it. WB better believe it… Most parents I know — the same ones who are seeing Avengers and Force Awakens sithbtheir kids 2-3 times – are avoiding this. Not because of bad Rotten Tomatoes reviews, but because of the tone. How the hell do you make a Superman movie that’s not appropriate to take a 10 year old to? How did the studio not forsee this??

  19. I’m not gonna see Justice League. So is everyone in China. Just reboot this already.

    • Saxondale says:

      Could you possibly send me the telephone numbers of everyone in China? I just want to clarify your comment.

  20. adam quane says:

    This is wrong. Here is a ship coming straight towards the bay, but not a bay of celebration, but an empty bay of redundancy. The film isn’t trying to catch up to Marvel nor is it trying to steal some of that “comic book money,” they are trying to follow our taste and regardless of how many comic book films are coming, people are getting bored, we only have a good 7 years left before they go out of fashion. What WB needs is not a “storyteller” because these universes don’t demand stories or catharsis, they need an ending, they need a trilogy that can give people an out.

    • Um if that was the case these movies would be getting less popular not more popular.

      • EricJ says:

        I don’t know whether you meant their popularity is “peaking”, but seeing Cumberbatch in the Sorcerer Supreme robes has certainly -piqued- my curiosity. :) Not to mention, it has that “Character you’ve never heard of” appeal that sold so well for Disney/Marvel’s last three films, by hitting the audience where they didn’t know where to look.

        And it’s not a drop in superhero movies in general, it’s more like audiences are now developing enough consumer experience to tell the difference between good studios and bad ones, and start forming brand loyalty (even Marvel fans know that X-Men and Deadpool aren’t “real” Marvel)–Much like what happened to CGI comedies in the 00’s, when audiences finally started telling the difference between Dreamworks and Pixar, and realized that not all CGI’s came from “the studio that brought you Shrek and Toy Story”.

      • adam quane says:

        Piquing would be the appropriate word. They are piquing. The trailer for Dr. Strange comes out tomorrow, see the unnerving drop in interest.

  21. Dollie Q. says:

    You cannot take one of the most respected comic book stories (Miller’s Dark Knight Returns) and consider it a “transitional” film. Again, towards Snyder, that show’s lack of respect and understanding of the characters you’re using.

  22. phantomphotographer says:

    Come on people it’s a movie.. Not the second coming of Christ ..in a couple years it’ll be in a Walmart bin selling for $4.99 Blu-ray like every other movie. Yes marvel fans even your epic masterpieces ironman, avengers, guardians of the galaxy will all be lumped together with the likes of the last airbender, glitter, and freddy got fingered. The way I see it.. I dropped the wife off shopping and i got to spent a couple hours in the theatre relaxing eating popcorn drinking pop so i didn’t have to stand in a shoe boutique or sniff hand soaps and such all afternoon. The movie was more entertaining then shopping…and the entertainment value on that alone ..was priceless.

    • Jedi77 says:

      And to think you could have gotten a grammar and spelling course instead.
      Yeah, time well spent.

      • phantomphotographer says:

        I’m sorry for the typo’s Mr.Jedi wannabe. It may have been when I was driving by a Star Wars convention and lost concentration. I accidentally ran over BB8…Oops. Correct me if I’m wrong but you never start a sentence with And. So chill out and go have a drink with your giant blood sucking mosquito friends in Maz Kanata’s bar. The Force Awakens was a total rip off of the original Lucas films. Don’t feel so bad Mr. Lucas. You’re Star Wars fans rejected the last 3 films, and liked JJ’s work better, but imitation is the best form of flattery. I think I’ll pass on the Blu-ray, in the $4.99 Walmart bin, in a couple of years…I’d rather Batman v Superman instead.

  23. mwake4goten says:

    I agree that there are issues that from a financial point of view need to be addressed…the movie is not making as much money as they hoped… However I really liked the movie, and it made my brain work harder than most Marvel endeavours. This movie may not be the strongest but perhaps it was a inevitable necessity to play out like it did. What I mean is that being the first in a series of planned movies, the building of the framework took a little of the fun from the movie. However as the writer said the next movies will be more fun, could that be because we will have gotten a lot of the initial story groundwork out of the way with b vs s? I hope DC doesn’t give in to Marvel’s ways with regard to simplistic story lines and tones…

    • Anonne says:

      It made your brain work harder because a lot of it was illogical and most people had to strain to make it make sense. BvS had too much to do in one movie, and it’s poorly edited. I was hoping for better but expected as much.

  24. Kplan says:

    The author wrote: “Man of Steel (which was produced with no plan in place to expand the universe)”

    This is patently untrue. Not only do I know an actor from that show who was told she would be a villain in the sequel (and she was signed for 3 pictures, as were most of the other players), but she was told she’d be battling Green Lantern, who was going to be played be an actor from that first movie. AND DC actually announced — before the JL announcement and the dissolution of the partnership w/Legendary — there’d be a sequel w/other DC heroes and, as you DO say, NO Batman.

    Then, they realized what sh– factory MoS was and went back to the 1990s concept of Batman vs. Superman.

    • People are locked on to sequels all the time without a real plan in place. Scripts are always flying around, but that doesn’t mean the pipeline is flowing. All possibilities were idle at best when they had the “Green Lantern” movie out there, and for a time they were developing “Justice League” with George Miller, but it wasn’t exactly a structured plan of attack. And it’s crucial to note that was all under a different regime. When the new regime began in early 2013, that’s when “Man of Steel” finally took root as the beginning of something bigger, and that’s the point here: That film was not made with the current BvS/Justice League workflow in mind.

      • EricJ says:

        Every movie–no, really, EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY big studio tentpole production nowadays–goes in genuinely believing, or at least making a good show of announcing, that they’ve “got a trilogy in the works”, or the new hot buzzword, “it’s going to be part of a larger Linked Universe with other films”. Dean Devlin spent three years thinking his Godzilla was going to be a trilogy. Guillermo Del Toro’s still plugging away on the second of the Pacific Rim Trilogy, even though Warner doesn’t want it.
        It’s not just hubris or desperate delusion (well, it -becomes- delusion when Warner refuses to throw in the towel, and not just on the Snyder-verses), it’s covering for a bit of studio planning, namely that it’s cheaper to contract a relatively little-known actor for three films at the beginning, than to watch the first movie become a hit and the actor’s salary skyrocket. That’s exactly what happened when the first X-Men film hit, when they didn’t expect they’d get a second one, and by the time one actor became an overnight sensation and another won an Oscar, making the third movie was darn near impossible.

        There’s just that little elephant-in-the-room problem though: You’re stuck with studios who still believed they WERE going to get their sequel, and who, like Warner, never throw an old memo away, even if twenty years go by.
        It’s sort of like those book series that think they’re committed to filming -every- book in the series even if the first one flops, only those they can point to some actual fans who might be waiting for them. Man of Steel didn’t have any.

  25. Ono says:

    “I spotted only six or seven other people in the theater.”

    No kidding, this IS for real. One my local theatre even tried to push “The Jungle Book” to open earlier, hoping they could start running it on Monday, but Disney didn’t grant it, and they were forced to follow the original schedule (it opened here on Friday). This is because the seats for BvS have been empty since the 2nd weekend, and a friend who supervised there said it’s bad for business.

    A family member, who’s not a Comic Book nerd went to see BvS with her siblings, and everyone came back regretting that decision. She said they wished “Zootopia” and/or “Kungfu Panda 3” were still playing, because they would gladly chose to watch those instead.

  26. Jim says:

    It wasn’t too long ago they were breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for having a film-maker driven approach, lmfao. The reality is that their film-maker driven approach was just another way of saying they had no real vision for the characters and the cinematic universe. That’s because they just rushed into team-up movies without properly building up the characters and foundation. The studio wanted team-up movie paydays without putting in the time, money and effort to earn them. There’s nothing wrong with the DC characters and material…..WB just hasn’t handled things well. It’s no secret that they were desperate for franchises after the Nolan trilogy and Harry Potter ended. The best thing they could do to get this stuff back on track is to get rid of Snyder.

    • EricJ says:

      If Disney was so thrilled by Guardians of the Galaxy’s surprise box office that they hired James Gunn to “liven up” every single Marvel film from here on in, what an unholy mess we’d have. :)
      Instead, Marvel knows what the vision and tone of the original comic should be, fits the director to the material, and doesn’t try to make Guardians serious or Winter Soldier funny. (And even if Ant-Man is funny, Hank Pym is canonically dead-serious.) Which was one of the problems with Age of Ultron, in that they stuck with Joss Whedon for the money, but after the Disney Channel cartoons forced them down our throat for two years, we’d had -enough- of one-jokey Whedon and Downey hipness, thank you, and wanted a change in the pitching lineup.
      Now we just have to wait and see whether their giving every “big” Marvel movie to the Russo Brothers, just because Winter Soldier shocked-and-awed us all, will or won’t ultimately blow up in their faces as badly as Warner hitching their wagons to Nolan and Snyder’s stars, just because critics were so impressed with those.

      Now, Warner hiring David Yates to direct four (depending on whether you think the fifth one counts) Harry Potter movies in a row was a necessity, since it was more of a direct connected story by that point, but BvS’s troubles began when Warner thought they HAD to continue Man of Steel’s story…

  27. Daniel says:

    Ben aflack as batman, enough said. That guy can’t act his way out of a paper bag. Had they picked someone believable or even likable as Batman the movie would be doing much better. I refuse to watch it based on Ben being in it. I can’t sit through his movies.

  28. Patrick says:

    I do think, to a degree, critics hold it against BVS/MOS that it tries to be this epic ambitious film with prominent, challenging themes because it fails to be what it is trying to be.

    Marvel films have no themes, almost no character arcs, etc. They make no attempt. That isn’t held against them. But as a result, many look the other way on minor issues as well. Even the best Marvel films have tons of issues but we really never hear of them.

    In THE WINTER SOLDIER, we learn Hydra owns Shield. Why didn’t they just Cap, or any Avenger, at any point in time previously? Why did they let Fury create the Avengers at all?

    Marvel, in a way, trains it’s audience to be a bit dumb down and not question those things, which is very unlike DC films.

    • Jacques Strappe says:

      Stop with this silly DC fanboy meme that Marvel films are dumb and DC films are deep. If that were the case, critics and Marvel film fans around the globe must be idiots since they continue to gush over Marvel films and reach deep into their pockets with every new release. DC films (Nolan, notwithstanding), not so much.. Translating pen and ink comic book pages to film with live actors requires a great deal of finesse that Zack Snyder simply does not possess. He is definitely all literal style over substance thanks to his use of CGI on steroids effects that suffocate the story telling. Marvel Studios is far more adept marrying comic book style with substantive story telling that rarely feels heavy handed or pretentious. Marvel smartly balances the darkness and lightness in their film adaptations which makes their superheroes seem more realistic for the live actors portraying them rather than some one dimensional drawing ripped from the comic book pages. Any D-List director can make a film closely resemble the comic pages that inspires them thanks to CGI but it takes a talented director to marry the comic book fantasy world with the real world surrounding and live actors in these films..

      • Anonne says:

        lol. I think the dumbest plot twist would be “Martha” being enough to make Batman want to stop killing Superman and suddenly be his ally.

      • EricJ says:

        But, you see, DC fans HAVE to fight a “culture war” against Marvel, and have to rally behind “their” movie like Trump supporters, saying that protesters against the movie are Marvel supporters out to get them, and that BvS will win-win-win at the box office and make superhero movies great again, and build a huge wall against Joss Whedon–
        It’s not just a case of “You Avengers and Ant-Man fans have everything, we have nothing!”–although, to be honest, eight years after Dark Knight, they DON’T have anything–it’s the fact that the ENTIRE DC LINKED UNIVERSE was to live or die on the box office fate of this one film. And they believe that if taking a bullet for the team, link arms on that big Red-Rover game on the schoolyard and shout “Yeah, we -like- it dark and gloomy, how’d you like them apples, I-am-Groot?”

        Well, I suppose loyalty is nice. But reality is nicer.
        Warner has a rather thin concept of reality: They already had plans to jump into the Justice League filming a week after this one with Snyder at the helm, and perhaps they should have waited two weeks (where, to extend the above metaphor, fans are now shouting “Sack Zack!”, in the same way they wish to “dump” someone else), which is certainly different from the claim of “This movie would have to make a billion for people to keep their jobs” that they were saying earlier. And look how many DC fans go out of their way to use the B-word, and claim that all the next movies are coming.

        Maybe they resent the fact that Marvel fans don’t do that, because they DON’T HAVE TO. If you don’t like one director, don’t worry, they’re already filming another movie with somebody else, it’ll be different, and past mistakes we can put down to experience.
        Hey, look, I -know- the job of taking a big spoonful of cod-liver-oil from the studios just to rally the fanboy banners, I’ve lived that–I pretended to like Phantom Menace when we wondered whether Star Wars would come back. I grit my teeth and sat through two and a half hours of Princess Mononoke (which made BvS look like an Adam Sandler comedy), back when Disney -wondered- whether to release Studio Ghibli films. And now that Star Wars is back and Totoro is on disk, there are five hours of my life I want back.
        Should it ever come to the point that Warner finally crumbles, and decides to let a different director “reshoot” Justice League, like they realized that -maybe- Joel Schumacher shouldn’t do Batman 5, you’ll want ’em back too, guys. Loyalty isn’t everything.

      • Patrick says:

        It isn’t inaccurate. MOS and BVS, love or hate them, clearly have messages they are trying to say, they have obvious themes they are trying to explode, they have obvious places they are trying to take the characters from a story telling perspective.

        That stuff simply does not exist in the Marvel universe. The “Marvel dumbs things down relative to DC” is every bit as true and undeniable as the “Marvel films are more entertaining relative to DC” point is.
        Marvel’s films have had some pretty large holes in them, too. But we hear nothing of it because the audience is not trained to look for them, like they are in a way with DC.

        THE WINTER SOLDIER had the dumbest plot twist I have ever seen in a comic book film. HYDRA owns SHEILD. So Hydra just spent a whole movie trying to kill someone whom they had laying unconscious in a hospital bed for years, Hydra is worried about the Avengers, the very team Hydra allowed Nick Fury to create for the purpose of saving the world from people like…Hydra.

        Even with pathetic logic, many fans didn’t even notice this error. Many critics blindly looked the other way. Oh, if Lois Lane appears at a convenient location, the fans notice and cry foul. But if Marvel contradicts the main pillar of their films to that point? Oh, nothing to see here…

        And yet, delusional fools like the directors were saying TWS deserves BP consideration at the Oscars?

        I am no DC fan boy but the double standard is obvious to the plain eye.

    • Eddie says:

      Saying that DC films make people think is like saying that Richard Scarry’s Know Your ABC’s is more complex than Sam I Am. Lex Luthor throwing around literary and philosophical references and hitting me over the head with Christ imagery didn’t make me think that BvS was some deep film. It made me think how pretentious the script and direction of the movie is. Not for trying to incorporate greater themes into the story, but for being so absolutely sophomoric and idiotic about it. It was like watching a grade school performance of The Crucible. Yeah I get what is trying to be communicated, but the execution is just terrible.

  29. Rafael says:

    I completely agree with your article and I think warner has had a guy to supervise the overall narrative of their movies all along, although they had him on the wrong dc movie universe. Bruce Timm is the perfect man for this job as he completely understands the dc universe from the larger picture to the most intimate aspects of each character.

  30. Larry says:

    I wouldn’t let Zack S. direct traffic

  31. Marc says:

    deadpool didn’t take the piss out of anything. It’s self referential snark was insincere and frankly tiresome. It worked for the box office once, but won’t work again.

  32. jj says:

    BvS is a success because it will make at least 900 million. Zack Snyder is doing a wonderful job on the film universe. People act like Marvel’s so successful when Ant man and Dr Strange are not going to bring in the numbers like Captain America or Iron Man. DC has better heroes. They are building a universe here and Zack and Warners are doing something different and more mature. No one wrote and article about how much a failure Ant Man was or how stupid Avengers 2 is because of a Marvel bias. I liked both movies though they need to cut down on the humor. It is all becoming a joke.

    • “Ant-Man” wasn’t really a failure, just a mid-performer. As it probably should be. It’s about a lower tier hero. Though that’s not always the case. Look at the raging success of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” A movie with Batman and Superman should probably have made more of an overall impact, though. And yes, plenty of people wrote about what a mess “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was. There is no such thing as a “Marvel bias” in the world of film criticism. Don’t take your lead from the message board world. Dumbest talking point in the rage-a-holic world surrounding this genre lately. I, for instance, am a far bigger DC fan than Marvel. But I recognize Marvel has, objectively, a more successful plan in place.

      • BR says:

        Well-said. I enjoy maybe 50% of their movies, but there’s no denying that Marvel seems to have cracked the code for popularity.

      • Patrick says:

        Expectations and potential also matter greatly, no way around it. Ant Man performed near the high end of it’s commercial and critical potential while BVS is likely right near the bottom.

  33. Jack says:

    A movie makes over 700 million and is considered a failure? Please call me a failure.

    • Gage says:

      Idiot DC fanboy! BvS lost. First it was a critical disappoinment, then it was a failure with audiences, and now, it is a box office disappointment. No one had to payed critics, Batman vs Superman was awful all on its own.

    • Taggard says:

      $700M in the Box Office would mean ~$350M to WB. They spent $400M. Can you see how this might be a problem?

      • Dashdd says:

        Explanation: Movie grosses $700M. Theaters keep about half. In China they keep closer to 75%. WB ends up with $350M. Costs: Lets say its budget was $250M. Prints/Advertising/and back-end deals, for the talent, bring that total to over $400M. Therein lies the problem. They’ll ultimately make money off of it (toys/merchandising/video/TV), but there definitely was a lot of money left on the table.

      • harris jones says:

        How has the spent been 400m and how will wb receive 350m if the box office is 700m.plz explain

      • JRJ says:

        I don’t give a damn what the movie makes…I want a great movie……….The movie lacks a solid story, continuity, flow and especially fun………..bottom line BVS made money in it’s first two weeks and is going down real fast…Hack Snyder led the way right to the bottom.

    • When it needs to approach $800 million to be in the black? Yeah. But everything’s relative. “Deadpool” is at $750 million worldwide. Rousing success. Why? Look at the two budget numbers.

  34. This film should have broken $1 billion EASY. It only took in $6 million on friday, being beat by Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss……

    I’ve said before it’s gonna be a crawl to $900 million. Now i’m not so sure it’s even gonna get there, let alone to $1 billion. I said it would be lucky to get to $800 million before Jungle Book came out in the U.S . JB already opened a lot of places in Europe this week, so I don´t see it making very much overseas from here on in. $6 million on friday seems like a giant dropkick to WB…….

  35. Tom Brzezinski says:

    What did WB expect when they called him the “Dark Knight?” The DC comic world is too dark, not only for the youngins but also for many families that look to the Disney Marvel universe as a family-friendly place to spend an afternoon at the mulitplex – and don’t forget, “Popcorn and drinks for everyone!” which makes the theater owners happy. If I want to see a somber film, I’ll take “Room” or another film, rather than see Batman v Superman battle it out. They are superheroes and should support each other, not battle each other. Too much distruction and death for superheros to wallow in. Let’s hope for better steps forward at WB. Hate to see them kill the DC Goose that laid them a golden egg.

    • Shak says:

      Isnt that exactly what civil war is doing? A whole team of superheroes fighting against the other. Does that sound supportive? And talking about superhero deaths, didnt quicksilver die?

      • Yoyo Ma says:

        Tone is the critical factor. Civil War will hit a lot of the same story beats as BvS, but will likely do it with a sense of humor that will emphasize the pathos and somber points of the film. It won’t be a comedy, but there will probably be tonal variety throughout the film that will highlight those moments.

        Whereas every scene in BvS had the same dismal tone which made the film as a whole feel bland and boring. It had a lot of cool points and somber moments that could have been more impactful if they didn’t blend in with every other scene around them.

  36. Despite the hate of the so called ‘critics’ BvS ($735M) yesterday crossed Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714M). It is now on it’s way to cross X-Men: Days of Future Past ($748M) & The Amazing Spider-Man ($758M) this weekend!

  37. Doug Wright says:

    What the writers and director forgot was to tell an engaging and fun story that viewers would want to see over and over again. Instead, they brought us an infomercial for the upcoming justice league…not very smart. Worst, they totally missed the mark by casting Eisenberg as Lex Luther-probably the biggest mistake of the movie.

    Here is a breakdown of what my colleagues rate the major cast: (1 to 10)

    Affleck – 7.5
    Cavill – 9.5
    Adams – 8
    Eisenberg – 4
    Fishburne – 9
    Irons – 9
    Gadot – 8

    Affleck has promise as Batman, but the dream sequences pretty much portray him as bats..t crazy. Cavill is awesome as Superman, but the story took any fun out of his character and almost made him border line evil (not what we want from superheroes BTW). Adams/Cavill love story was wasted in this movie. Irons was a great choice for Alfred – hope they keep him. And Gadot was an interesting choice for WW…going for more of an athletic slender version vs what the audience would expect. Eisenberg – what were they thinking?? He played classic Eisenberg (no different from Now You See Me) and did not bring out the super villain we wanted to see. Should have been older actor with more presence on the screen. Remember – a movie of this genre is as good as the villain!!

    Finally, the whole BVS sequence was what, a few minutes of the movie? Made little sense and by the time it came on the screen, we lost interest in the outcome as the trailers had already showed what happens!!

    Recommend a less crazy Batman (no more youth sequences please – expand from the Dark Knight – not the dull Dark Knight Rises), more heroic Superman (what made him popular – duh), and how about a good classic story – not a long trailer for the next 3 or 4 movies!!

  38. Dave Mallett says:

    My god, they have the perfect duo in Alan Burnett and Bruce Timm. The DC Animated Universe has been churning out brilliance for many years now including a few minor classics like The New Frontier, All Star Superman and Wonder Woman. However, I asked Burnett himself a few years ago why DC doesn’t employ them in that fashion. He replied that unions surrounding the animated comic book films barred them from doing live action. Hornswaggle. Burnett and especially Timm, understand the iconic nature of these heroes, how to tell a straightforward but compelling story and the films are visually stunning. I am not suggesting they make the movies themselves, but if we are talking a shepherd of the DCEU, they have them in waiting. I don’t trust Johns, who raved about Green Lantern despite the clear misstep that film was. Plus, his work with DC Comics has greatly decreased in quality lately.

    If Timm were to refuse, how about Grant Morrison or Mark Waid? Or how about throwing a fat cheque at George Miller, who was once the man who was going to bring the JLA to the big screen, until the writers strike occurred. I wonder what might have been if that film had been made. Oh and WB should never have allowed Nolan’s Batman to exist in a solitary universe. BIIIIIG mistake.

    • Marc says:

      Union issues have ZERO to do with this–that’s what is known as a LIE. Burnett hates cartoons. And comics. And he doesn’t take anyone who produces them seriously. Rumor has it that Warner Brothers is heavily wooing Brad Bird to take over the whole issue.

    • Lupe Walker says:

      Definitely NOT those guys – Mark Waid in particular is horrific, he’s been jettisoned from the DC family and has terrible interpersonal relationship skills that a studio head needs. The problem that they face is that they need a person who is a movie/film person as well as a comic book sweatie. Feige rose up within the studio system, he wasnt transplanted from comics to films or from feature length cartoons.
      Film is a different medium and that’s why Feige excels in his role.

  39. Spencer says:

    Zack Snyder, single-handedly destroying DC’s IP one movie at a time. Hopefully after Justice League one, WB will learn their lesson.

  40. Patrick says:

    WB should not and cannot be making films which require the cast and crew to defend it after release. Period. Snyder’s films are always divisive and that is unacceptable for properties of this magnitude. Yes, in 10 years, many will see THE FORCE AWAKENS 94% on RT or IRON MAN 2’s low 70s score and than see BVS’s 29% and be confused.

    The fact that – again – Snyder and die hards have to defend the film from a very vocal and large portion of the audience says all one needs to know about Snyders film.

  41. steve barr says:

    I liked Batman v Superman a lot . I liked it even more the second time i saw it . The critical pile-on was obscene . All you lemmings out there should get a life . Blade Runner was not liked when it came out . Heaven,s Gate was destroyed by the critics . It,s A Wonderful Life was a flop. The Searchers was just another John Wayne western . Nobody understood The Night Of The Hunter . Vertigo was just another Hitchcock and Bull story . Godfather 2 was a Frankenstein monster of a movie . Apocalypse Now got very mixed reviews . On Her Majestey’s Secret Service was hated when it first came out . Now it’s considered one of the best James Bond movies ever made .


  42. Patrick says:

    Both MAN OF STEEL and especially BATMAN v SUPERMAN are enormous critical and commercial underperformers. There is no way around that. A Batman and Superman team up was the best concept in Hollywood box office wise now the Star Wars was remade – er, I mean, has returned – and for it to be HALF – HALF! – of what Jurassic World or Avengers etc have been able to do is BEYOND embarrassing.

    BVS is so far from its commercial and critical potential…this should end Zack Snyder’s career. Instead, Warner Brothers is doing what Helen Keller would see as a mistake, and letting him go forward.

    He may be a nice guy, he may have some nice ideas, his films may be visually stunning. He is 0-2 and loathed by critics. His presence ensures mass division. He simply cannot be associated any more. There is no way around it.

  43. Patrick says:

    It’s a good article. A few notes:

    -Dark or light hearted, serious or silly – it doesn’t matter which one, just be good at whichever one it is! “Everybody wanted dark in 2008” is non sense. Iron Man 1 was 2008. Pirates, Transformers, and Spider-man dominated surrounding years. Generally speaking, a great “serious” film (which TDK was) trumps a great popcorn film (Marvel). A great popcorn film will defeat a meh serious film (MOS, BVS).

    -W.B. is wise to make DC the more serious of the two vs. Marvel. Audiences have very little emotional connection to any Marvel characters, perhaps RDJ’s Stark aside. Compare that with Bale’s Wayne. Nolan’s TDK films all has these small, intimate character stories at their core. Marvel has nothing like that. WB is wise to continue to take that angle.

    -Both MOS and BVS conceptually are grand slams. They’re interesting takes on the characters. The flaws are almost entirely execution on the directors behalf. Not the script, not the actors.

    -They need someone who understands film and pop culture. BVS’s flaws should have been just as obvious as it’s awesome moments (which it has plenty of). To be blindsided by negative reviews and major BO drops shows a massive disconnect between what the Snyder and studio think people want and what people actually want. The answer is not Geoff Johni or Paul Dini. They need someone who truly understands what made the Nolan films work and why they were so different than Snyder’s obvious imitators.

    -As a business decision, Snyder staying on board is beyond inside and makes Tsujihara more than deserving of the boot. The amount of skepticism critics and audiences will view the project with due to his involvement is enormous and unparralled. Not even Lucas was as loathed by SW fans and critics. Snyder simply HAS to go. It doesn’t matter if JL shoots in 5 days. It needs to be post-poned.

    -The brand receiving almost all the bruising is Snyder’s brand. The Bat brand – and Batfleck brand – , WW, and Superman brands all leave BVS basically where they were before. A new director and everybody will give JL a new look.

    -WB needs to bring in somebody new (such as myself) ASAP to serve a high consultant. Let the creative do their thing, just get a new director. They need someone saying “Hey, this editing is all out of whack”, “Hey, we need to put an emphasis earlier in the film so this crucial moment doesn’t feel so forced/unearned later on”, or “This knightmare thing is horrible, as is the Flash from future/Aquaman stuff. It all has to go. All of it”.

    -They need to re-evaluate their release dates too. Wonder Woman is smack in the middle of ridiculous competition – that film has to move.

    -Affleck’s THE BATMAN needs to be in July. Why are they needlessly changing a good thing?

    • Belzy says:

      BvS was a failure because Snyder turned Batman and Superman into remorseless, unthinking murderers. Neither character ever murdered anyone in cold blood as both did in BvS. Batman is supposed to be the world’s greatest detective. There’s no need for him to slaughter people when he can outthink anyone. Superman’s overwhelming powers means that there should be no situation where he has to kill a normal human being, especially one only armed with a handgun.

      Marvel will continue to do better than DC because it has a better handle on its characters and displays a greater grasp on the morality that audiences want from their heroes. What parent wants to take their kids to see superheroes killing with such wanton abandonment of decency?

      Batman and Superman are not the Punisher. They’re supposed to be good men.

      • Mister R says:

        Aaaand here’s someone that’s never read any comics featuring Batman or Superman in their life. Yes, Batman and Superman has killed. Go do some research before discussing things you’re not educated on.

  44. SAMURAI36 says:

    People really should treat this as an Op/Ed piece, and nothing more. There’s little to no “facts” here, and more like the typical rumor mill that has surrounded DC/WB since they first announced their movie slate. It’s really sad to see a site with so much clout, use said clout to push this agenda. Which has done more to hurt the studio/franchise than anything they’ve done. And with every subsequent article, more is done to paint the studio/franchise more and more in a negative light. And there are precious few outlets on the internet that doesn’t engage in this sort of character assassination. Makes it difficult to even go online anymore, if you’re looking for actual news and productive discussion.

    DC/WB is d&mned if they do/n’t. Fortunately, the studio doesn’t listen to the haters, and continues to prove them wrong.

    • metal_falsetto says:

      “People really should treat this as an Op/Ed piece, and nothing more.”

      I guess you missed the fact that it clearly says “Opinion” above the title of the piece.

    • “This agenda.” What agenda? Do you even know, or are you just fanboy-raging? “Character assassination.” Pointing to a director’s objective strengths and weaknesses is character assassination?

      Did you even read the piece past the opening few graphs?

      There’s no agenda here, beyond calling for the betterment of a situation. And the piece is rife with facts, actually. With quotes, even. This is as fair a piece as you’re going to find, I think. But keep raging…

  45. John Cloud says:

    WB needs to put Geoff Johns in charge of the DC movies, period.
    He is one of the best writers in comics, knows the characters better than anyone else and he understands Hollywood.

  46. EricJ says:

    I’ll be the one to say it: I COULDN’T STAND The Dark Knight.
    Okay, Aaron Eckhart -was- Harvey Dent/Two-Face (and wiped away all memory of Tommy Lee Jones), but that’s where Chris Nolan’s respect of the original source material began and ended.
    The movie wasn’t even intended to exist–It was only there to satisfy the tantalizing audience tease at the end of Batman Begins, and Begins only existed as a “deconstruction” to jumpstart the franchise away from the sins of Joel Schumacher. That was IT.
    Nolan was a realistic psych-thriller director, but seemed to be more obsessed with mafia banks and cellphone interrogation than with anything the fictional comic world had to offer–Even the idea that the Joker could be a larger than life showoff, rather than just a punk YouTube Internet kid gone rogue. (The movie began with a YouTube Internet Batman wannabe, and that unfortunately set the tone of the movie early.)

    But y’see, that’s the problem–Not only did it make so much money, it hit Warner right in their neurotic sweet spot: We didn’t laugh at it. :)
    In 2008, we were still smarting from the Fantastic Four movies (Iron Man 1 had only been in theaters for a month), and when critics said Dark Knight “doesn’t look like a comic book movie”–and millions of fans with Heath Ledger avatars, or pictures of themselves with their own home makeup smears, repeated it–Warner wanted to hide behind their Big Protective Shield You Couldn’t Laugh At Anymore, let alone make Superfriends jokes about. All those years of their own Cartoon Network beating it into the ground had given them severe self-inflicted bully-victim issues, you see.

    That was 2008. Now it’s eight years later, Marvel -brags- about no two of their movies looking alike, and Warner still wants to make every movie look like The One We’re Too Shocked And Awed to Laugh At.
    And what do we hear now? Laughing. Well, not IN the theater, mostly at Zack Snyder, for making the Superman Movie We Were Forbidden To Laugh At.
    Marvel brought respect to comic book movies again because they knew their heroes inside and out, Warner/DC is still running from their imagined bullies. Only one of the two is going to produce material with any degree of sincerity, and without it, it shows.

    • Lupe Walker says:

      You lost me when you said no 2 Disney movies look alike LOL That ALL look alike, theyre very formulaic have the same tone apart from character changes and some minor tweaks. And it works in SPADES!

  47. Afroblue says:

    This article is mostly speculative bullsht

    You write as if Every superhero movie will fail without a “Kevin Feige business model” which is narrow minded at best. This entire article is an attempt to compare DC film strategy to Marvels strategy, and it does so poorly. Maybe you ought to stick to what you know, because this isn’t it. The only reason this film didn’t do as well as expected is because it tried to cram in too much instead of producing a singular or dual storyline. It has nothing to do with business strategy, they just didn’t unlock the right story (and yet the film was still an enjoyable experience) that the General audience could respond to, not was it kid friendly in the way that Marvel movies are, which brings in a huge demographic

    People are seriously unfairly judging this film more harshly than any film I’ve seen. It’s ridiculous how large a divide exists between the audience who gave this film a decent score and the critics who trashed it unrealistically

    And by the way, your facts are wrong, Terrio was not brought on by Ben Affleck. In fact WB hired him before they brought Affleck on board. Affleck stated as much himself, and it was a plus for him to do the project. So if you got that simple fact wrong then what else are you misreporting?

    • Herne says:

      you should be used to that fair is meaningless soon as possible
      is it fair that audience has given Zack Snyder second chance? and they rushed to watch it despite its poor narration and shattered storyline just because driven by their curiosity to see the famous heroes fight on big screen?
      did it deserve the hype and several box records? is it worth wasting nearly half day on theatre and saying “I Told You!” as getting out instead of hiking just becuz your boyfriends and his so-called friends ignored your words which always right
      all its achievements are thanks to how unequal this world is
      and no wonder Nemesis the retribution was balancing it now

    • Sack Zack says:

      WB is doing to DC what Fox did to Marvel

    • Kristopher Tapley says:

      How awkward for you, Afroblue:


      Seek help on the anger.

    • Darren Hood says:

      Unfairly judging based on what? Aside from the fans and supporters of this film many people are indifferent to it. It’s not at all what it was advertised as. It’s not some smart deconstruction of the genre, or some groundbreaking piece of cinema. It’s an average overstuffed genre film. People are in their right for lambasting it. It wasn’t even the critics that sunk it, it was poor word of mouth from those who saw the film in it’s record breaking opening weekend. 166 million to 52 million in 7 days. That’s horrible. The film opened poorly in the UK and China, that’s not because of critics. Did you ever take into account that maybe, audiences just didn’t respond to the film, because it was a bad film?

  48. BatFan says:

    They need to take Snyder off immediately, he has absolutely no idea about these characters. He all but destroyed Superman in BvS and turned Batman into the one thing for seventy plus years of comic history he has not been! Yes Batman killed and used a gun very early on in his career but since then the legacy of the character, what has made the character essentially who he is is his no gun/no killing rule.
    Yes I know he has killed in other movies BUT is this supposed to me the DCEU?! Not another directors take on the character? I’m sure all Snyder does is look at a comic and see the pretty pictures, he swears black and blue he’s a comic guy and this is a faithful adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman yet in those very same books Batman breaks a gun and says this is the weapon of the enemy we do not use it, we do not need it. Also he thinks Bats shot a mutant between the eyes inTDKR, NO it was in the shoulder!
    In fact in some comics I’ve read it’s Superman trying to convince Batman that it is necessary to kill in some situations, that’s how against killing he is in the comics, Superman of all people!
    If you are going to say your going to adapt a comic faithful Batman do it right! Apart from the look of the Batsuit and Bale’s voice Nolan’s Batman is still the most comic accurate Batman in live action. The tone/heart/psychology of the character and universe was all there. He even had endless visual callbacks to the comics littered throughout his films.
    In closing words of this long winded rant from a life long Batman fan, GET SNYDER OFF THESE FILMS!

  49. Pat says:

    The level of skepticism towards JL w/ Snyder in charge will be unparalleled. WB are INSANE for continue with him for that reason alone.

    MOS and especially BVS are large commercial and critical underperformers.

    They need a FILMMAKER. Not Geoff Johns or comic book geeks. Get someone who makes movies!

    Heck, hire me…

    • Dave C says:

      Martin Campbell is a FILMMAKER. His DC movie was a bigger failure than BvS. WB should have a Feige-like subject matter expert (NOT a suit who isn’t extensively versed in DC) with creative control over the entire DC cineverse.

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