Growing Uncertainty Around Zack Snyder’s Involvement in Justice League
The true launch point of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, recently hit the $850 million mark worldwide. That’s a lot of dough. However, in the eyes of the film industry, and when taking into account the high hopes the film possessed, it becomes a difficult figure to assign success or failure to.
And this is the uncomfortable seat Warner Bros. execs are now finding themselves in when trying to determine where to take the DCEU—especially when there are a number of DC film properties to scheduled to come out over the next few years—including Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, Shazam, The Green Lantern Corps, a solo Batman movie and two Justice League films. And with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director, Zack Snyder, at the help for the two Justice League films—films that are supposed to rival the box office figures of Marvel’s Avengers films, Warner Bros. now has an uncomfortable decision to make.
Snyder, who also directed the polarizing Man of Steel film that launched Henry Cavill as this generation’s Superman, has now failed twice to win over critics. And while that didn’t stop Man of Steel from grossing over $650 million worldwide, or ‘Dawn of Justice’ from getting its $850 million worldwide, most industry experts note that it is nearly impossible to get to the sacred $billion mark without positive critical and social media buzz. The Hollywood Reporter further illustrates this notion:
“Another insider says to become a member of the billion dollar club requires “a great release date, great reviews and solid social media buzz,” a trifecta BvS failed to achieve.”
While BvS certainly had the favorably release date with no competition for weeks, reviews and social media buzz was not what they needed to be. With a 27 percent review score on movie review titan, Rotten Tomatoes, the buzz for the film quickly turned negative just days before its release and that buzz permeated the social media scene—transforming the space for arguments about the film’s quality.
Now reports have already surfaced indicating that Warner Bros. is peaking of Snyder’s shoulder as production for Justice League part one has started. Sources at Birth.Death.Movies outlined the strife:
“Sources at WB tell me that this is just one part of what’s going on behind the scenes at the DC movieverse. Zack Snyder and Geoff Johns were taken aback at critical and audience reaction to Batman v Superman, I’m told, and WB execs have found themselves at odds with Snyder over his vision for Justice League and the DC movieverse going forward. Of course Justice League was scheduled to start shooting mere days after BvS was released, which meant WB couldn’t take any definitive action – like removing Snyder or delaying the movie to make changes – without poisoning the box office for BvS. The result? Lots of fights between Snyder and the WB execs, and lots of pressure from Burbank on Snyder, who is shooting in London.”
But with production on Justice League already under way, what can Warner Bros. do if they want a new leader for what is supposed to be their highest grossing comic book movie of all time?
Enter George Miller.
The cinema legend who brought us the Mad Max franchise and who nearly directed his own Justice League film has been closely connected to the DCEU for months—albeit in a frustratingly mysterious capacity. However, we do know that Miller is a producer on Justice League. Could he become Warner Bros. escape plan should they minimize Snyder’s creative control?
Time will tell. But right now things do not look good for Snyder.