Warner Bros is finally overhauling DC Comic films after ‘Justice League’

Justice League (2017)

At the end of the day, Justice League was just as poorly reviewed as Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The obvious, paid commenters had little to crow about once critics finally got a look at Justice League and the embargoes of their reviews were finally lifted. The shenanigans were ceaseless with the promotion for Justice League – I still can’t believe what happened with Rotten Tomatoes – and at the end of the day, it didn’t really matter. All of that time, money and effort was wasted – they could have used all of that energy to simply make a better movie. At the end of the day, Justice League has made about $570 million. That’s a lot of money, of course, but when the studio’s projected box office number was something like $1 billion, yeah, it’s not so great. So at long last, Warner Bros is finally coming to Jesus. They’ve finally realized that Zack Snyder is screwing up these beloved franchises. WB is apparently committed to doing a huge overhaul starting in January.

Warner Bros. is planning a shake-up and restructuring of its DC Films operation following the box office disappointment of “Justice League,” Variety has learned. Jon Berg will be leaving his current job running the comic book’s film production division, according to several sources with knowledge of the studio’s plans. A search is underway for his replacement. Berg will instead become a production partner with Roy Lee, the producer of “The Lego Movie” and “It,” who has a deal on the lot.

“This is something that Jon approached me about six months ago, and he expressed his goal was to ultimately be a producer at the studio,” Warner Bros. Picture Group President Toby Emmerich said in a statement to Variety. “I first met Jon when, as a producer, he brought ‘Elf’ to New Line, which remains one of the best and most evergreen titles in the library. We’re thrilled that Jon is partnering with Roy and anticipate their company being a valuable source of movies for Warner Bros. and New Line.”

Warners is expected to name a new person to run point on DC’s films. Geoff Johns, who has partnered with Berg on much of the creative direction of the movies, is expected to continue serving as DC Entertainment’s chief creative officer. Johns, who reports to DC president Diane Nelson, works in areas such as television (and has written various episodes for DC-inspired shows), publishing, and consumer products, in addition to his contributions to the films. Going forward, his work on the films may evolve, and could be more advisory in nature.

These people also say that Emmerich is weighing the idea of further integrating DC’s film operations into the studio’s main movie arm. That would entail putting the divisions under the same roof rather than having DC remain in a separate building on the lot, sources say. Marvel, which is owned by Disney, does operate its comic book film division autonomously, but other studios, such as Fox and Sony, produce their superhero films under the studio’s banner.

The DC overhaul is expected to happen by January.

Warner Bros.’ corporate leaders at Time Warner support the moves and are said to be unhappy with the financial performance of “Justice League.” The film was intended to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s “Avengers,” uniting the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman under the banner of a team of world-saving superheroes. With a budget reported to be as high as $300 million, it represents an expensive bet. After three weeks of release, it has managed to gross $570.3 million worldwide. In contrast, the first “Avengers” film racked up $1.5 billion. The studio did have a number of successes this year with “Wonder Woman,” “Dunkirk,” and “It,” which has helped offset the disappointment of “Justice League.”

[From Variety]

Variety goes on to say that there are “no immediate plans” to get Zack Snyder back to direct any future DC Comic films, although he is still producing many of the stand-alone franchise films, like Wonder Woman 2 and Aquaman. Warner Bros executives apparently realized too late that Snyder had made some really terrible decisions with Justice League and no amount of Joss Whedon-saving-the-day could make those bad decisions more palatable. Variety notes: “Warner Bros. continues to have a production deal with Snyder, so it’s possible he could direct additional films for the studio. Time Warner is said to be frustrated that Warner Bros. leaders continue to bring the director back, especially after ‘Batman v Superman’ was excoriated by critics even though it made money. They are also upset that each new DC film seems to be making less money than its predecessor.”

The only good thing to come from the Snyder era is Wonder Woman, everyone agrees, although giving Snyder credit for Wonder Woman is pretty awful. WW was Patty Jenkins’ vision, and Jenkins is the one who made it work. You would think that Warner Bros would look at their one big success story – Wonder Woman – and say, “how can we replicate that for years to come?” The answer is: hiring Patty Jenkins and more women like her to oversee these franchises and give them some much needed grounding.

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' film premiere, London, Britain

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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46 Responses to “Warner Bros is finally overhauling DC Comic films after ‘Justice League’”

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  1. Char says:

    Maybe now they’ll use light and we’ll get to see many of the scenes.

    • Lightpurple says:

      That might be a great improvement. I had trouble seeing who was fighting whom during Justice League and even scenes in the big end battle of Wonder Woman were difficult to see. But then, given how bad the writing was in Justice League, Batman v Superman, the Superman movie and Suicide Squad, maybe we’re better off in the dark.

    • Nicole says:

      RIGHT. My goodness there’s dark and then there’s DC dark

    • Wren says:

      Light, color, not feeling like I need to shower after the dark and grittiness. That’d be greaaaaat.

    • holly hobby says:

      Yep I am assuming Zach Snyder’s signature style is dark and depressing and nonsensical plots. Sorry I tried to watch Superman v Batman numerous times and I never got past the 30 minute mark. Everyone is so serious and the mood was depressing.

      Zach Snyder should just be a pencil pusher for all I care.

  2. Rapunzel says:

    Snyder is not to blame for the added Whedon reshoots which sucked for the most part. He’s also not responsible for the horrendous CGI removal po f Cavill’s ‘stache, a huge distraction.

    • HH says:

      Exactly. While I had definitely had my issues with BvS and MoS, we can’t pin the failure of the DC Cinematic Universe–or their attempt at one–all on Zack Snyder. I don’t like him being the fall guy. WB made some bad calls as studio heads, period.

      Also, JL wasn’t an awful movie. However, it was nowhere near the quality a Justice League movie should have been.

      • DesertReal says:

        I 100% agree.
        You could tell (with Superman’s CGI face to edit out his mustache) just how much was added after the fact.
        Whedons parts were softer, more charismatic, character driven, and had a more deft hand.
        Snyders parts were harsher, heavy handed, darker, and cheesy AF.
        Somehow it worked.
        I liked the movie (although some viruses delayed me from seeing it as soon as I wanted) and was pleasantly surprised. It had the eye candy I wanted (Mamoas Aquaman was crazy hot) and I even laughed and enjoyed Millers Flash (his competitive streak with Superman cracked me up). Honestly I didn’t like the first Avengers movie (it felt overloaded, unorganized, forced, and super cheesy) but I did enjoy Justice League.
        Everyone needs to chill.

    • V4Real says:

      Whedon added scenes are what made the movie better. He did his best with a film that was almost complete before he came in. He would have had to start from scratch but we know the studio wouldn’t have allowed that.

      I liked the movie, it was entertaining and I don’t think it deserved the bad press it received. But Synder needs to be cut off from DC since he seems to be the blame for the negative views according to popular opinion.

      • Rapunzel says:

        Whedon’s added scenes created a tonal unevenness that hurt the film. He,added unnecessary jokes which jarred. Plus, there was a lack of continuity due to his scenes. They were sloppy (Batfleck’s hair for example was a completely different wig, and changed within scenes.). I’m sure he added stuff that helped, but ultimately, not enough.

        Plus, word was WB demanded the film be two hours and a lot of stuff (scenes in the trailers and tv ads) was cut. It was a debacle for numerous reasons. That’s all I’m saying.

      • MM says:

        Seconding HH and Rapunzel….let’s also not forget the unnecessary low angle ass shots which stinks of Whedon.

      • V4Real says:

        Ass shots, I called that out awhile ago after the first article on this site after the release of the film. I compared it to Black Widow’s ass shot in The Avengers. As for the continuity of the film regarding the wig. Well movies who have the same director for the entire film even have those problems, so it’s to be expected when there is two directors on the same film.

        I don’t think the jokes jarred. Both times I watched was in crowded theaters and the audience laughed. Esp, Aquaman sitting on the lasso of truth. And none of us can blame the cuts,on the directors, after all the studios call the shots. Plus that always happens in films as well. What we see in trailers we don’t always see in the film. I remember people being disappointed with Magic Mike because in the trailers we saw them dancing to Moves Like Jagger and a Rihanna song but in the movie neither song was played.

  3. Jayna says:

    When I see a photo of Zach, all I can think about is his pain regarding losing his daughter to suicide earlier this year in the spring.

  4. Lucy says:

    Co-sign to the last paragraph. A great opportunity to maybe hire some women, right?

  5. Grant says:

    The only solution is to hire more women to helm these projects. Justice League did such a disservice to Wonder Woman, and I think it’s because of misogyny. First of all, in the comic canon, Wonder Woman can fly. No if, ands, or buts about it. She’s also the only member of the League who can go toe-to-toe with Superman–she’s even capable of besting him. She’s just as fast as Superman (and the Flash) and just as strong. In one comic story arc called “Sacrifice”, a villain by the name of Max Lord brainwashed Superman so that he saw Wonder Woman as Doomsday and attacked her accordingly. Clark burnt Diana’s face with his heat vision and snapped her wrists (after she got in some good hits of her own)… Supes even smacked Wondy from space causing a crater on the surface of the Earth below, but Diana, like a boss, wouldn’t stay down and was able to subdue him by slicing his throat with her tiara so that she could kill Max Lord and end Superman’s hallucination. In Justice League, Superman tosses her around like a ragdoll. The only reason I can think for this blatant neutering of Wonder Woman’s powers is that the (male) Warner Bros. execs, with their delicate senses of masculinity, couldn’t bear to see Superman compromised by a FEMALE superhero, even if that hero is the only profitable property that Warner Bros. has in the DCEU. And I’m lumping Zack Snyder AND Joss Whedon into that group of culprits.

    Things need to change.

    • HH says:

      I was upset by that too. WW has even accessed the speedforce, so I was surprised to see that Superman was the only that could track The Flash. And while they tried to make Superman and WW somewhat near the same strength with that headbutt scene, the movie overall was ultimately a disservice everywhere else.

    • V4Real says:

      I agree with you about WW being just as strong as Supe. Like I said before perhaps they wanted to make it seems as if WW was holding back and didn’t want to pound the crap out of Supe since they were not trying to hurt him. She did say to him don’t make me do this. The other reason I think they played it that way was to give Lois her big moment in the film so it seems as if she played an important part. Other than that I didn’t even see a need for her in the movie.

      As for WW flying, yes, she can fly . That was one of her gifts that came from Zeus later. As far as we know in a later film she might fly and even use her invisible plane. But as you know they don’t always stick to the comic book version.

      • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

        Wonder Woman’s powers and strength have varied over the years. Pretty sure the flight and I think even the Superman level strength was added since I was a kid. I recall her being more like Captain America strong when I was growing up. (Forgive the Captain America comparison. I like Wonder Woman way better.)

  6. Jussie says:

    Only 5 years too late.

    I’ll never understand how they looked at what Snyder did with Man of Steel and thought ‘Yes, this is the guy we should hand the keys to the kingdom to’.

    At this point I really think they’d be better off just scrapping everything but Wonder Woman. Treat that like a completely seperate, self-contained franchise for a few years, then start over. Totally fresh. Totally new cast, totally new creatives, totally new game plan.

    At the moment every new DC film bar WW just hurts their reputation more. There’ll br no bouncing back without a very clear demarcation line between this terrible era and a reboot, and the more films from this era they release the deeper they dig themselves.

    • Incredulous says:

      Man of Steel is actually a very well made, nuanced movie. I don’t like it much but it does set a template for all that followed. The problem seems to be both studio and film-maker not being on the same page, i.e., chopping out a lot of coherence for the Batman v Superman movie, Suicide Squad being a giant, chopped mess of a thing, Wonder Woman being two-thirds of a good movie and, yet again, Justice League being a giant, chopped mess.

      Clearly, someone did not communicate the realities of run time and the need to let Justice League breathe if you want anyone to give a fig about the new characters. Although, chumping Wonder Woman was a dumb as hell idea. Boo. Booooooooo.

    • Shelly says:

      But keep Aquaman :p

  7. Tat says:

    They will make a mistake if they replace him with Joss Whedon. Those guys are great in special effects, but they can’t develop the characters, principally the female ones. Give DC films to Christopher Nolan and Patty Jenckins and the writers who work with them.

  8. HeidiM says:

    Hiring Affleck was a truly bad choice. Man of Steel was actually pretty good. Its all went to shit after that.

  9. Sara says:

    Every few months there’s an article like this that comes out with the new plan and every time it’s different. They want Batfleck’s third and final film to be Flashpoint, a film that has no screenplay or even a director. That will take years to develop. They have no idea what they’re doing.

  10. isadora says:

    This is just optics. The higher ups who made these decisions to go with the current DCEU as envisioned by Snyder are still there.

    Removing Snyder is only part of the solution because if these movies continue to be bad the DC brand will be shunned by the majority of the audience and they will have a big image problem. DC could potentially be even in a worse situation than say when Superman 4 proved to be the kryptonite of the Superman franchise or when Schumacher drove “Batman & Robin” off the cliff.

    Burn it down, start anew and learn the right lessons ( e.g. make movies with coherent scripts and focus on characters). These are the most known superheroes in the universe but i barely know them in their current incarnations. And frankly i don’t want to know them.

  11. Nicole says:

    Called it. These movies were so dark and so dull. I have yet to see any in theaters except WW. They need a creative overhaul from top to bottom.
    Also did you see that the new Batman standalone will not have Affleck? Looks like they want someone new. I also heard rumors about them trying to throwing money at Bale to play Batman again.
    Either way this is so yikes. If Disney acquires Fox this fight is beyond over. Not that DCEU is any competition currently

    • Dee Kay says:

      Same here — haven’t seen any of these grimdark DC movies in the theater except WW. I pray that Bale withstands all money offers, he will besmirch the Nolan Batman trilogy if he comes back to work for these ridiculous vision-less hacks. I don’t really understand how Batman and Superman are the least-loved franchises going today, it really takes a special kind of idiocy to ruin two superheroes that come with the biggest built-in fanbases that exist.

      • Nicole says:

        That’s my think. Its amazing that Marvel sold off their BEST characters (X-Men, F4) and they created the MCU from mostly second stringers. That’s because Kevin had a vision of what he wanted the MCU to be and followed through.

  12. LadyT says:

    I don’t get all the praise for Dunkirk. Historical drama is exactly my cup of tea but it was merely mediocre. There weren’t 50 words of dialogue. Exaggerating but still- so little character development. Quite dull really.

    • Dee Kay says:

      IA. Dunkirk sucked. It was brilliant technically — lots of innovation with camera work especially on the aerial shots but many in the water too. That was the full sum of its achievement, as far as I could tell.

  13. MM says:

    Say what you will about Snyder but when he was on board these movies were getting scripts, and getting release dates. Ever since he left back in March DC has been running around like chickens with their heads cut off. There’s a new article every week about how confused they are with what direction to go in. Only Aquaman is coming out next year and NOTHING is in production. Every movie they want to do is still in development which is insane.

  14. Jordan says:

    I’m a comic nut. The last Recent D.C. Film I watched was SS. I enjoyed it surpringly due to the atmosphere I felt was similar to the comics. Marvel has their equation solved, I hope DC will find their own.

    DC’s animated movies however are spectacular. Marvel cannot touch those movies.

  15. Jude says:

    “The only good thing to come from the Snyder era is Wonder Woman, everyone agrees, although giving Snyder credit for Wonder Woman is pretty awful. WW was Patty Jenkins’ vision, and Jenkins is the one who made it work. ”

    Well, to be fair, Snyder cast Gal Gadot, not Jenkins, and Gadot is half the reason WW did so well.

    • teacakes says:

      And Jenkins is the one who directed Gadot to a good performance as WW (I love Gal Gadot but there’s no getting away from her emoting skills being rather weak – Patty mostly covered for that really well by using Gal’s charm and charisma, as well as how perfectly physically suited she was to play the part).

  16. Ozogirl says:

    One problem is miscasting. Ben Affleck? Really? Another is the oversaturation of comic book movies, spin offs, sequels, etc.

  17. hey-ya says:

    ….but bathwater..JL taken $200 mil in US…its the overseas that is disappointing…

  18. jammypants says:

    It’s amazing they keep giving men chances where a single failure from a woman stalls or ends her career.

    • JosieH says:

      Snyder’s eight films have grossed over $3 billion. It’s pretty easy to justify “giving men chances” when they’re bringing in that kind of scratch. How much money has Lexi Alexander made a studio?

      • teacakes says:

        $3 billion on how much of a budget, exactly? Sucker Punch was a flop, his DC movies are all seen as crap and not a single one has even gone near the billion dollar mark or met studio box office expectations (we’re talking the big ones like BvS etc), what laurels is he resting on? 300?

      • JosieH says:

        Total budget: $1.16 billion

        Like it or not, he’s made his studios money. Pouting over his opportunities is silly.

      • Deering says:

        Josie—these men keep getting chances, win, lose, or draw. The odds that you will have a hit multiply exponentially if you are cut endless slack, get innumerable shots, and are excused for failings female directors get nailed hard for. That is how the deck gets stacked in Hollywood—these guys are cushioned from failure unless they really screw up.

      • JosieH says:

        “Josie—these men keep getting chances, win, lose, or draw.”

        How come Roger Christian, Martin Brest, Hugh Johnson, Marcus Nispel, Jean-Christophe “Pitof” Comar, etc. didn’t “keep getting chances”?

        The fact is, there are plenty of male directors who don’t get multiple chances at that brass ring (you just don’t hear about them because their names just fade away), and there are plenty of female directors who do. Hell, Niki Caro just came off of a box office bomb in The Zookeeper’s Wife, and yet she was handed a $100 million-budget for her next movie. How come she gets to “fail up”, but Colin Trevorrow doesn’t? Dat’s no fairz. 🙂

  19. teacakes says:

    I love how everyone is blaming Whedon for f-king up the entire DCEU and Snyder is suddenly some kind of artistic genius who develops female characters so well and Justice League would be good if not for the reshoots.

    It’s almost as if everyone forgot DC films have been shitty for years, well before Joss Whedon came along.

  20. the other Kate says:

    Honestly – I LOVED Justice League. Really, I had so much fun watching it, like when I was watching first Guardians of the Galaxy.