Apparently the weight of the world rests on Superman’s shoulders on and off the big screen.
Variety is reporting that, according to the powers that be at Warner Bros., the fate of the proposed (but widely believed to already be in heavy pre-production) Justice League movie will be dependent upon the success of this summer’s Superman epic, Man of Steel.
We kind of figured as much. Think about it– if Man of Steel is a total box office flop (which is highly, highly unlikely), it’s still going to sell hella merchandise. Lunch boxes, shirts, action figures, overpriced statues, overpriced premium format figures, etc. As Alex Ford, the diehard Superman fan and aspiring screenwriter who successfully pitched a seven film Superman saga to Warner Bros. back in 1998, so truthfully and eloquently stated of Warner Bros., “. . . their audience isn’t you and me who pay $7.00. It’s for the parents who spend $60 on toys and lunchboxes. It is a business, and what’s more important, the $150 million at the box office or the $600 million in merchandising?”
So what exactly does this mean when Warner Bros. comes out and says that the Justice League of America depends on the “success” (however it is being evaluated) of Man of Steel?
If you ask me, I think it’s a safety net for Warner Bros. No matter what, we know that (whether at the box office or in merchandising) Man of Steel is going to at the very least make all of its money back. I will be extremely shocked if it is not a box office success to the extent that Warner Bros. is pleased with the numbers. I believe that what it really means is that, should the movie get a widely negative critical and fan reception, they may consider reevaluating the idea of rushing a JLA film into production.
In fact, they may even reconsider the idea of starting with a JLA movie to establish the other main characters’ cinematic continuities. They may even opt to build up to an ensemble flick the way Marvel did with The Avengers.
The wildcard in this whole scenario, from my perspective, is the tone of the movie. Depending on which rumor(s) you believe, the script by Will Beall (Gangster Squad) is either too “comic booky” and not serious enough, or, according to another source, super duper serial. I think that if the overall Nolany tone of Man of Steel rubs fans, critics, and moviegoers the right way, then we can count on a darker, more serious JLA flick. However, if emo Superman falls on his face, then we may just have to wait while Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment figure out how to proceed*.
Though we’ll never know exactly what the powers that be at Warner Bros. are actually thinking or planning, one thing is clear: the Justice League of America is certainly on their radar, but it apparently and appropriately depends on the its very leader, the Man of Steel.
What say you, ravenous fans? Should Warner Bros. check themselves before they wriggidy-wreck themselves, or should they move forward full-force on the JLA film?
*If this turns out to be the case, I have the solution: JLA sans Batman. Make it as crazy, outer-spacey, crisis-laden and campy as you want. Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth Red, Earth Blue — whatever!