The movie is out. The reviews and box office numbers are in. Now that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is here, the question is, how will Warner Bros react? Here are a few options.
So the movie is out, people went to see it… and critics basically panned it while the audience was more forgiving. With an average score of 5 out of 10, the movie received a positive review from only 29% of critics, a huge drop off from Man of Steel’s 56%. When a score is in the fifties (or thereabouts), this mean the movie has critics divided. A score like B v S received is much more clear. However, the audience was at 70%, coming in with an average 3.7 out of 5, so that means the average movie goer liked Dawn of Justice.
I’m starting to think that they told their friends something like, “It was OK.” This occurs to me because the movie’s box office dropped 68% from opening weekend to the next and a catastrophic 81% from the first Friday to April 1st. Even Superman Returns didn’t suffer a drop like this, so despite the fact that many fans did like Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros is going to react.
The question is, how?
Well, they’ve already started. Suicide Squad is reportedly filming reshoots right now, and rumor has it that the cost is expected to exceed $10 million. That tells me that either their enormous cast gets a huge bonus for reshoots or they are making a major change to the film. I expect it’s the latter as reshoots are fairly common – they’re just not usually this expensive.
But what does this mean for the rest of their planned series? (Wonder Woman in production now, Justice League parts 1 and 2, etc.)
The Status Quo
Clearly, Warner Bros is not going to stick with the status quo – that’s why they’ve ordered reshoots on Suicide Squad.
The Nuclear Option
WB could fire Zack Snyder and replace him a la Latino Review’s April Fool’s Day joke. Ben Affleck seems like an obvious candidate since he’s there anyway. They may be too far down the rabbit hole at this point to use this option, but it’s clear WB is disappointed in the box office for Dawn of Justice, so who knows what another disappointment could mean – if there is one. WB has scraped so many DC movies in pre production, like all Superman reboots they tried to get off in the ground in the 90s and before Superman Returns as well that other weird World’s Finest movie where Lois and Clark get divorced and the Joker kills Bruce’s wife on their wedding night because Lex Luthor… whatever. The point is, there was clearly a plan to make more flicks after Superman Returns and they junked it. If they’re willing to do that (that flick cost over $200 million and made nearly $400 million), then they’re willing to do anything. I know personnel at WB has changed, but if John Peters still got to be the executive producer on Man of Steel even after all of that Superman Lives nonsense… I’m just saying, WB does what WB does.
Blend in as much Marvel as Possible
Since they’re reshooting at least some bits of Suicide Squad already, this could signal a shift in tone. You imagine that people who work at WB have shareholders they must answer to and, presumably, this includes investors who aren’t necessarily interested in the movie business but are in the business of making money, so they could simply point at what Marvel is doing and insist that they “make it more like that.” I think a bit of this is already happening – again, the reshoots.
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see, but I think it’s likely that WB is gravitating toward duplicating what Marvel is doing with Disney and backing off from the darker, grittier version of the DC Universe the originally planned.