There’s a lot more Superman and Batman coming to movie theaters.
Warner Bros. talked up the “expansive” nature of the DC Comics cinematic universe during a presentation to exhibitors at CinemaCon on Tuesday, while debuting footage from “Wonder Woman” that highlighted the Amazonian warrior princess beating up a platoon of World War I soldiers. There was also a brief glimpse of love interest Chris Pine atop a motorcycle, as well as Wonder Woman using her shield to deflect gunfire, and riding a horse, sword drawn and ready for action.
“We’re going to see her coming of age,” said director Patty Jenkins (“Monster”), during a video introduction.
The studio was also eager to talk up the box office results of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Executives and star Ben Affleck kept mentioning that with more than $750 million in receipts, the film was a “big success.” That may have been more spin than genuine enthusiasm. Although the number is a big one, Warner Bros. spent hundreds of millions making and promoting the film, and some analysts argue that the fact that “Batman v Superman” will fall short of $1 billion globally makes it something of a disappointment. There were other problems, too: Critics hated the film and the response from fans was mixed.
But Warner Bros. is sticking with Zack Snyder, the “Batman v Superman” director, on “Justice League,” its upcoming super team adventure. The studio said that the superhero matchup was the first step in a bold plan to essentially make its own version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a video presentation highlighting these grand ambitions, production chief Greg Silverman said the film gave audiences, “the first real taste of this expanding universe.”
He added, “It’s exciting for the fans to see how interconnected all these universes are.”
Geoff Johns, chief creative officer of DC Entertainment, also said “Justice League” represented a big step forward, saying “bringing them on screen together is seismic.”
That will include a standalone Batman film, directed by Affleck, as well as solo outings for Justice League members Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash.
The DC presentation ended on a high note with an ebullient Will Smith and the cast of “Suicide Squad,” a film about a team of super villains, taking the stage.
“What if Superman decided to fly down, rip off the roof of the White House and grab the president right out of the Oval Office,” a character asks in the extended trailer shown to the audience, setting up the film’s stakes. “Who would stop him?” The answer was a rag-tag group of amoral avengers, brought together by shadowy government operatives looking for an edge in a world of metahumans.
Smith promised that “Suicide Squad” will “fill those theaters up real thick,” while director and writer David Ayer pledged that “thirsty, hungry people are going to show up.”
That’s music to the ears of theater owners, who make most of their profits selling popcorn and over-sized sodas to consumers. After all, costumed heroes and villains are only exciting to exhibitors if they mean more geeks will buy snacks.