James Royal: 'Man of Steel' has to fly for Justice League film to get green light
BY JAMES ROYAL World Scene Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 6:42 AM
It looks like past failures with DC comics franchises has Warner Bros. Pictures hesitant to pull the trigger on another.
As reported by ComicBookMovie.com, a recent story from Variety said studio executives are waiting to see how "Man of Steel" fares before they green-light a Justice League movie.
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Warner Bros. has had great success with turning DC creations into animated movies, but the studio has fared poorly when it comes to putting DC's heroes on the big screen. Outside of Batman, none of Warner Bros.' DC-based films has been a commercial success. In fact, most have lost money. The chart with this story looks at the DC movies since 2000 and how they performed at the box office.
Although it may look like Warner Bros. has been banking plenty of money on these films, remember the production budget doesn't include marketing. For example, the marketing budget for "Green Lantern" was $100 million, so the studio lost more than $80 million on the film. "Superman Returns" spent about the same amount, cutting heavily into its profits for the studio. Even if the other films spent only the industry average of about $35 million on marketing, there wouldn't be any commercial successes outside of the Dark Knight Trilogy.
In fact, the success of "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises" could be what has executives hesitant to pull the trigger on any more DC Universe movies, at least in part. The one thing Warner Bros. has shown is that the only character they can consistently make money with is Batman. And the studio has made lots of money with the Dark Knight thanks to Christopher Nolan.
But earlier success with Batman probably played a hand in "Green Lantern" being pushed ahead with its massive budget. And the failure of "Green Lantern" burned Warner Bros.
Which brings us back to the Variety story. Here's the pertinent piece:
"Further out, the studio's planning a 'Justice League' tentpole - encompassing DC Comics mainstays Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and the Green Lantern - on the order of Marvel's 'The Avengers.' Will Beall is scripting, but no director has been attached yet.
"Stakes are high for 'Man of Steel.' Other than Nolan's Batpics, Warner has not been able to effectively exploit the DC library. Its 2011 'Green Lantern' underperformed, and a 'Justice League' film wouldn't likely be in theaters before 2015, as Warner's top brass has indicated that they are awaiting the results of 'Man of Steel,' which opens June 14, before moving further ahead."
What would Warner Bros. need to see from "Man of Steel" to push forward with a Justice League film? One site estimates it would need to gross more than $500 million. That's a hefty sum, but 13 movies hit that mark last year and 12 the year before. "Man of Steel" is expected to be one of the summer's biggest blockbusters, but there are plenty of movies opening around it in June, including "After Earth," "Monsters University" and "World War Z." If the latest Superman treatment disappoints, moviegoers will have plenty of other options.
If the trailers are any indication, though, "Man of Steel" won't let viewers (or Warner Bros.) down. But waiting to move ahead on other DC franchises could lead to "Justice League" getting pushed back.
It's currently slated for a 2015 release, but if it isn't approved until the summer, that leaves a tight window to get things moving. For a summer release, shooting would need to begin by early 2014 at the latest, which would mean six months to get a director and sign up a slew of actors and get through all the steps of pre-production. It can be done, but with "Avengers 2" already set for 2015, Warner Bros. may be better off pushing the movie to Christmas or holding it for the summer of 2016.
For now, though, the Justice League's fate rests on Superman's Kryptonian shoulders.
Original Print Headline: 'Man of Steel' has to fly for Justice League film to get OK
DC Comics movies by Warner Bros. since 2000
|Movie|| Production budget|| Worldwide gross ||Difference|
|Catwoman ||$100 million ||$82.1 million ||-$17.9 million|
|Batman Begins ||$150 million|| $374.2 million ||+$224.2 million|
|Superman Returns ||$270 million ||$391.1 million|| +$121.1 million|
|The Dark Knight ||$185 million ||$1.01 billion|| +$820 million|
|Watchmen ||$130 million|| $185.3 million ||+$55.3 million|
|Jonah Hex|| $47 million ||$10.5 million|| -$36.5 million|
|Green Lantern|| $200 million ||$219.9 million|| +$19.9 million|
|The Dark Knight Rises ||$250 million ||$1.08 billion|| +$831 million|