Anghus Houvouras on why Warner Bros. has to make Justice League now…
If there’s one big story in 2016, it’s sure to be centered around Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The stakes have never been higher. After years of hemming and hawing over their plans for a shared DC Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. has put their money on Zack Snyder to be the architect of this brave new world. Speculation has arisen that Warner Bros. is nervous about how well Batman v Superman. What if the film is poorly received? What is the financial threshold that must be crossed in order for the movie to be deemed a success?
Warner Bros. abated some of that chatter by announcing that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will begin shooting on April 11th. A bold declaration of their faith in the direction of their franchise. It’s a smart play for a number of reasons.
First, it puts the movie into production before the success of Batman v Superman can be quantified. With a release just two weeks prior to the Justice League filming, Warner Bros. has unconditionally committed to a direction. Second, it quiets the dissenters who keep trying to assign a specific number to determine whether Batman v Superman will be a success. It doesn’t matter how much money the film makes (or doesn’t): Justice League is happening. Thirdly, it’s a wonderful middle finger to the websites who seem invested in the film’s failure. Those jackals circling the film waiting for it to falter before picking the carcass clean.
If we’ve learned nothing else from Deadpool, it’s the importance of commitment. Setting a creative course and sticking to it in spite of reservations. Whether they be from fans, film sites, or even the studio. Clarity of vision and confidence in the project is paramount to success. Everyone balked at Marvel when it was Iron Man starring the perpetual tabloid headline that was Robert Downey Jr. Eight years later and they’ve changed the entire movie industry. Warner Bros. is having similar speculatory shenanigans from the peanut gallery spending untold hours discussing every choice, most specifically Snyder and the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman. One thing’s for sure: the knives are out and a lot of people are waiting to take a stab.
Warner Bros. has to make Justice League and they need to make it now. No more bet hedging. No more waiting on the results or decisions made based on the bottom line. Batman v Superman is out in one month. Suicide Squad lands in August. Wonder Woman is filming, slated for next year. Half committing to these characters won’t do in a franchise heavy landscape where theatrical real estate is being gobbled up faster than a fat hypoglycemic man with poor impulse control at an all you can eat buffet. If Warner Bros. is going to really get in the game, they need to go all in. That’s why Justice League starts filming on April 11th.
Warner Bros. is all in, and fans should be excited.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker and the co-host of Across the Pondcast. Follow him on Twitter.