– by Campbell Clark

Justice League has arrived and so far it is looking like it will not be the massive hit that WB were looking for. We reported that estimates are projecting that the film could end up losing $50-100M by the time the theater run comes to an end. It’s possible that things could pick up, but the analysis of these things by cleverer people than I are rarely that wrong.

What does this all mean for the future of the DCEU?

We know that without a shadow of a doubt WB are pushing ahead with Aquaman (Unless WB gets REAL cold feet here) which is already through principal photography. We know that Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are both keen on a sequel to Wonder Woman, which is so far WB most critically lauded and financial successful DCEU movie to date. But anything else including Flashpoint, Justice League Dark, and even Shazam are surely up for the chop if WB feels like they need to push into a new direction. It seems unlikely that WB will not push ahead with Matt Reeves planned Batman trilogy. After all, Batman usually makes money, with or without Ben Affleck. The Batman actor remains the focus of many (legitimate) rumors that he wants to leave the role. Whether WB are in agreement with this, or the rumors are just that, we can’t say for certainty, though there is usually no smoke without fire, and we have heard from very legitimate sources that Affleck is pretty much done.

Let’s say WB does address the poor performance of Justice League. What direction will they go? By the way, I should point out that this will not be a reflection of the quality of the movie itself, but rather the impact it had on the box office. After all, what I personally think of the movie is going to have no effect on its performance or WB’s thoughts on the franchise as whole?. So what are the options for putting this mega franchise back on track?

Hard Reboot

It is possible that after Aquaman, with nothing else currently filming, that they scrap the whole Universe and start again. It certainly seems likely they’d want to cash in on the good name of Wonder Woman for Patty Jenkins sequel, but the rest could be scrapped before they even get started, including Matt Reeves Batman trilogy. Alternatively, they could use the aforementioned Batman movies to hard reboot the Universe, thus allowing them to replace Affleck with a different actor. Or… they could just put everything on hold for a few years while they refocus and plan things out a bit more methodically. Make no mistake though, this would be a tough (and costly) call for WB, with so much already in development and it could just confuse the fans to the point where they turn away from the DCEU in even greater numbers.

Furthermore, we have to ask whether or not it would be worth it for them to scrap a franchise with countless redeeming elements. Would they really want to give up on Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Superman — all of whom were praised by critics in the past movie? Can they afford to lose Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, especially after we’ll be seeing Aquaman very soon in his own film? Additionally, would WB be willing to actually let a year or two pass and reboot again from scratch? At this point I feel personally that this is the least likely option for WB to take and the most drastic.

Soft Reboot – Flashpoint

WB could use Flashpoint as a jump off point for a soft reboot, with Barry Allen’s time travel meddling, it would be the narrative best suited to rebooting many aspects of the Universe. They can use both Aquaman and Wonder Woman in the story itself, which ties it in directly with the comic story it would be based on. Batman in Flashpoint could be Thomas Wayne aka Jeffrey Dean Morgan, for example. By the time the movie has finished, it could essentially reset any aspect of the DCEU which was not working. If they have to change their Batman due to Affleck wanting out, it would be easier to take by having the new guy show up at the end so that Barry knows he has got things back to kind of the way they were.

This could enable them to keep Miller, Gadot, Momoa and Cavill going forward. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not saying that they need to change Affleck at all, it’s hardly his fault as an actor at this point, but the reality is he’s been inching towards the exit for the past year. So I am just trying to look at it from WB point of view.

Flashpoint could then be followed up by a new slower approach towards Justice League. We will already have had Aquaman, two Wonder Woman movies, a Flashpoint reset and potentially then a new trilogy for Batman and a Man of Steel 2 (Jimmy Olsen could even come back with this approach)to get things heading in the right direction with the characters. By the time they look at making another Justice League movie with Darkseid or any number of other foes, the audience could be far more engaged in the characters, If all their solo movies work well.

One other important aspect for this to work is for them to only spend $150M max on each film. No more of these over-priced movies that can always make or break the franchise. They should put in a reasonable budget and adjust the stakes accordingly. Not every film needs to be world-altering to be impactful. This would also help in the character development department.

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Option #3 & Conclusion

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  • Kindofabigdeal

    This article reads like Mr. Blonde wrote it.
    “He’s either dead or alive, or the cops got him, or they don’t.”

  • M@rvel

    Can you guys quit pretending like you actually know how much Justice League will make or lose for the studio?? The only parties that really know that are the companies involved. None of us know every aspect that goes into producing a GIANT tentpole film like that, and I’d be willing to bet that it’s not so cut and dry as you guys keep laying it out. “Well the movie is rumored to have cost this much to make, and it’s rumored to make this much money, so that means it will lose this much for the studio” lol it’s not always that simple. And that’s coming from a guy with a Finance degree and works in the finance world.

    • I’m a guy with a know it all degree and I work in the know it all industry. Ok maybe not

      Look, there are companies out there that specialise in looking at all this, we can look at previous movies and their profits etc and work out what is happening right now.

      Whatever way you shake it, it’s fair to say WB won’t be happy with a $94 million opening. That’s all we are saying really

    • Aaron James

      It’s fair to say, though, that a $94 million opening weekend off a $300 million budget is a TERRIBLE outcome. What the actual financials within the studio look like, yeah, we have no idea. But we can look at the budgets and opening weekends of other similar movies and see that Justice League is a) much more expensive than average, and b) much less profitable than it should be for such an enormous cost.

      Even if WB somehow makes some money off it, it’s still a disaster for them. It’s a repudiation of their attempt to get a franchise off the ground, and it’s also horrible PR for them too. Every DC movie for the foreseeable future (except maybe Wonder Woman 2) will be at a disadvantage because the general public are going to be skeptical of their ability to deliver quality.

  • Kronx

    Flashpoint could be a soft reboot, but what really needs to change? The characters and the universe aren’t the problem. In fact, the casting has been one of the few bright spots (with a few notable exceptions).

    The storytelling is the problem. And if DC doesn’t hire quality people it doesn’t matter what they try. It will fail.

    • I do agree with this, it’s the storytelling. But flashpoint could allow them to retcon a few storytelling decisions that went awry.

      • Kronx

        Sure, what HAS to be retconned though?

        • Well other than the possible Batman replacement if you are asking my personal opinion

          Lex Luthor
          Joker (in fact everything about Suicide Squad)
          Jimmy Olsen’s callous death and probably 1-2 other things is all it would take. Some things have definitely worked and other than how he was written in BvS I really like Cavill as Superman. I have heard he is a bit better for the brief time he is in JL, but as said not seen it yet.

          • Kronx

            I can fix all of these without having to use Flashpoint time to do it.

            The man claiming to be Jimmy Olsen was a US operative. He could just as easily have replaced the real Jimmy Olsen to infiltrate the group in BvS while the real Olsen was somewhere else.

            Lex Luthor – recast. Prison changes a guy.

            Joker – recast. He’s injured fighting the Bat and has extensive reconstructive surgery which drives him further insane.

            Lois and Clark – I hated skipping the romance, but I’d rather work from here than sit through a reboot.

            Suicide Squad – No reason to use the same cast moving forward.

          • Well when you put it like that I guess they could fix things justby recasting, it’s happened before and worked just fine. But perhaps the right time to do it so they have an in universe excuse would be after Flashpoint. After all we know it’s already in some kind of development, whether that will go anywhere is another matter.

          • Ryan Johnson

            Flashpoint will not happen. Can you imagine how confusing of a movie this would be for audiences, many of whom might not even have seen JL, especially for the first Flash movie? X-Men did a reboot like this after five other successful movies.

          • Daniel O’Connell

            Cavill, is excellent in the new JL, just seems like the hope is there. Much much better. I never realised Jimmy Olsen was was in BvS.. says it all about that film really..

    • Aaron James

      I’m something of a purist when it comes to serial storytelling – in the sense that if one part of something is abysmal, it generally ruins the entire series. In this case, the DCEU has gotten off to such a rocky start that anything they try to build off it, no matter how great, it will be tainted by what has come before.

      (For instance, they’ll never be able to have Superman draw upon some important life lesson he learned from his father, because his father’s life lessons as depicted in MoS where all terrible. And any attempt to retcon Pa Kent into a nicer guy will ring false.)

      The only part of this franchise that’s salvagable is Wonder Woman, because it’s pretty much entirely disconnected from the other films.

  • DAH

    Deserves WB right for doing all those reshoots on Justice League,…thats why the film cost so much..if they did not have faith in Snyder…why let him finish most of the film?,..they should of just stuck to his vision, instead of letting Whedon take the reigns, he then simplified the plot, so it was like a saturday morning cartoon, got rid of a lot of backstories (including William Dafoe…sacrilige!)..he then reshot all Supes scenes,( hence the terrible mustache effect) changed Clarks ressurection (hence why the lifting soil on the top of the coffin at the end of BVS..now means f**k all!!)..I mean Ive just come back from seeing the film…and its left me feeling frustrated….even if there are things that geeked me out…and I did like the film…but its the mutha f**king ‘Justice League’!..not ‘Transformers 4’….I should of loved it!!

  • CrusaderForever No Regret

    Saw Justice League and enjoyed it. Looking forward to WW2 as well.

  • syambo87

    People say that Marvel has invested character movies before making their Avengers movie… what i think is that WB has already created character Movies… and that this is not its own DCEU but a part of the Superhero line of Films Under the WB family… because with Danny Elfman’s Batman theme from the Original Batman… and the mention about the Penguins and Bombs… can’t help to think that those 2 batman movies are a part of the JL History.. as well as the Reeves Superman… You’d have to watch the old superman and the old Batman to appreciate the hints in the Theme and because of that its an ensemble… which is a nice touch.. especially the last scene in the alley in front of the daily bugle…

    either Justice League is a part of the Batman world OR… Batman and Batman returns is now part of the Justice League Universe…

    I hope they just continue from here… and i hope the Studio Execs just don’t rape the damn movie… who ever decided to agree upon CGI Moustache should be fired… The Close Ups were Horrible… especially when you watch it in IMAX….