This really isn’t the week for the DC Extended Universe. First we had the news that director Rick Famuyiwa had left The Flash movie due to creative differences with the studio. This on its own would not have been a huge deal, but given that this is the second director this year to leave the project doesn’t really fill a lot of fans with confidence that everything is A-OK on the DC front.
If that wasn’t enough to shake any confidence you may have, then this may do even less for you. In a recent piece from The Ringer, the outlet spoke with the cynical author and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis, who penned the novel American Psycho. In the interview, the writer discussed the decaying infrastructure of the film industry, and pointed to Ben Affleck’s upcoming Batman movie as an example:
“I was having dinner with a couple of executives who know other executives who are working on the [forthcoming] Batman movie, The Batman, and they were just telling me that there are serious problems with the script. And that the executives I was having dinner with were complaining about people who work on the Batman movie. And they just said they went to the studio and they said, ‘Look, the script is … Here’s 30 things that are wrong with it that we can fix.’ And [the executives] said, ‘We don’t care. We don’t really care. The amount of money we’re going to make globally, I mean 70 percent of our audience is not going to be seeing this in English. And it doesn’t really matter, these things that you’re bringing up about the flaws of the script.’ So I do think global concerns play a big part in how movies, and what movies, are being made, obviously.”
Hate to say it, but there is a bit of truth to what the executive is saying. Over the years, films have been making increasingly large fractions of their box office haul overseas. While most big films still make a decent amount in North America, there are some movies — like Warcraft — that survive only thanks to the foreign market. When all said and done, films are an international commodity, and as has been noted, the fun popcorn flicks that we often like to deride in the states are the ones foreign audiences take to.
But the fact that the executives over at Warner Bros. would so openly give in to poor storytelling simply because “70 percent of our audience is not going to be seeing this in English” is perhaps one of the most artistically disgusting things I’ve ever heard. Hell, more than artistically disgusting, it’s disgusting on a business level. Perhaps in the short term catering to the lowest common denominator will work, but if you want to build long-lasting success, you can’t bank on foreign audiences being more forgiving than domestic audiences. That will only create an ecosystem of bitterness among fans.
So, yeah. F**k that executive if this is true.
So what does this mean for The Batman? Luckily, we have Ben Affleck at the helm, and as a burgeoning director, I can’t see him simply rolling over and taking it. From Warner Bros.’ perspective, I can’t see them actively upsetting Affleck, who they currently seem to have a good relationship with.
Let’s hope this all ends up as the cynical ramblings of an angry creative — though when all said and done, there is probably a kernel of truth to what he’s saying.
What do you make of these comments? Does it concern you that, before long, studios will only cater to audiences that don’t speak English? Does this make you more concerned about the DCEU as a whole? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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SOURCE: The Ringer