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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

UPDATE:

Things are escalating quickly. We just published this report, and mere minutes later Zack Snyder took to twitter to address this jaw-dropping situation. Here are his tweets on the subject:

ORIGINAL STORY:

In an unbelievable turn of events, Warner Bros has just issued a press release announcing that Zack Snyder has exited JUSTICE LEAGUE mere days before the film is set to go before cameras. The rumor mill has been ablaze since Monday with murmurs that the studio was feeling immense pressure to alter their plans for an expanded DC Cinematic Universe due to the poor reception given to BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. With terrible reviews, a mediocre response from fans, and a front-loaded worldwide release that yielded a haul that fell well short of their internal projections, many have hinted at a sense of panic over at the Warner movie lot.

Here’s a snippet of the press release, followed by some analysis on how it coincides with- and contradicts- the rumors that have been going around:

“JUSTICE LEAGUE” TO MOVE FORWARD WITH GEORGE MILLER AS DIRECTOR

(April 1, 2016 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Pictures is thrilled to announce that George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) will be directing “Justice League.” Following the phenomenal success of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which soared past the $500 million mark in just five days, we are well aware of the insatiable appetite of DC fans.

While Zack Snyder was attached to direct “Justice League,” the visionary filmmaker has been battling fatigue due to a production schedule that has kept him on the road, away from his children, since 2013’s “Man of Steel.” Miller had been brought onto the production team for “Justice League” to help bring Snyder’s considerable vision to life, and now it’s been amicably decided upon that Miller is in a better position to bring the film to fruition. This will allow the production stay within its scheduled timeline, while providing Snyder with ample time to recharge his creative batteries.

“We are immensely excited to have George Miller taking the reins of ‘Justice League,'” said Warner Bros. Pictures president Kevin Tsujihara. “Zack has been an invaluable resource to us, and we fully expect him stay on as part of our DC production team,” Tsujihara added. 

“It’s an honor to be given this tremendous opportunity,” Miller said. “It’s rare that you get a second chance at this sort of thing, and I’ll try my very best not to bugger it up.”

There’s more to the press release, but those are the pertinent parts. There’s so much to digest here.

For starters, we’ve heard that the studio has been breathing down Snyder’s neck ever since test screenings for BATMAN V SUPERMAN yielded less than optimistic responses. The prevailing thought has been that they gave Snyder lots of creative freedom, and were sorely disappointed with the director’s choice to make a more for-fans-only type of film. The studio had hoped for something with a more broad, mainstream appeal. While they turned their attention towards SUICIDE SQUAD, scheduling a series of extensive reshoots reported on yesterday by Birth Movies Death, the studio is also said to have turned up the heat on Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE.

For weeks, there have been quiet rumblings that they’ve been breathing down Snyder’s neck, and that the director was relieved to get a break from pre-production so he can go do press for BATMAN V SUPERMAN and get some time away from the suits. However, when he returned to the office on Monday for more meetings about JUSTICE LEAGUEhe was essentially ambushed by concerned executives. While the film had a strong weekend at the box office, it suffered a historic Friday to Sunday drop, very poor reviews, and middling reactions from fans.

This was not the response they’d hoped for, and they let him know this in no uncertain terms.

Over the course of the last few days the situation has only gotten worse, and it would appear that everything came to a head when the studio suggested a three month delay to allow George Miller to take a pass at the JUSTICE LEAGUE script. This wasn’t the first time the studio stepped in and halted one of Snyder’s productions- having infamously done this to BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE– and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Snyder was livid, and he walked away from the production.

We’ve even heard that this was WB’s plan, since it’s easier for them to spin a story based around him leaving rather than them firing him days before a production. This is why they’re going with the whole fatigue angle, which actually has somewhat of a precedent in this industry thanks to incidents like Dave Chappelle walking away from millions of dollars and a beloved TV series because he was “too exhausted and overwhelmed.” 

As it stands, the current plan seems to be to delay production of JUSTICE LEAGUE, give Miller all of April, May, and June to prepare, film from July to December, and still have the film ready for its November 2017 release. This is where the infrastructure created by Snyder comes in handy, as the production already has many of the tools, sets, and other shortcuts, thanks to the mechanisms created for BATMAN V SUPERMAN

You may recall that Miller was set to direct JUSTICE LEAGUE: MORTAL several years back, before that production was scrapped for several reasons. Eyebrows were raised last month when it was revealed that Miller was added as a producer for this new JUSTICE LEAGUE. He’s known as a hands-on filmmaker, who often writes and directs his own films. The idea that he’d be “just another producer” on JUSTICE LEAGUE seemed far-fetched, and now we have a clearer picture of exactly why he was brought on board. 

Between this, and the rumors of SUICIDE SQUAD‘s overhaul, it would appear that Warner Bros is doing everything it can to get its DC franchise on track. 

Still, this is a stunning turn of events. We here at Latino-Review Media will be following the story closely. Stay tuned for updates!

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SOURCE: WB

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.