Warner Bros. Studio isn’t having a very nice time right now. After the disappointing box office receipts from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros. needed the movie to make at least $1 billion for it be successfully profitable, but came in at only $855 million), the fallout has begun as the studio execs are scrambling in an attempt to salvage what was supposed to be their cinematic answer to the films that Disney/Marvel Studios have been producing. And now, in what could only be described as “rats leaving the sinking ship,” one director has pulled out of a DC film and a second director may do the same.
Starting with The Flash, it has been reported that Seth Grahame-Smith left the project as director due to “creative differences” with the studio. Grahame-Smith is known for writing Pride & Prejudice & Zombies as well as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but The Flash was meant to be his debut as director. Now with him pulling out Warner Bros. has to find another person to direct that film, but given that it was scheduled for a release date of March 3, 2018 the studio still has plenty of time to find a replacement before having to delay production and move the release date.
However the problems don’t stop there, as the news site Birth.Movies.Death reports that James Wan could be leaving the role as director for Aquaman. The possible reason: creative differences. With Batman v Superman having received mixed reviews at best, as well as the “less-than-expected” box office take, insiders are saying that Wan is “feeling a tremendous amount of trepidation about Aquaman,” especially with all of the problems, fall-out, and behind the scenes wrangling that has taken place since BvS was released to theaters. Apparently, once Wan’s work on Furious 7 and Conjuring 2 is complete he’ll be trying to decide if Aquaman is worth all of the creative headache that Warner Bros. seems to be having with the DC Universe. This is not entirely surprising since Wan is already contracted to work on the new Robotech film, so having one less creative nightmare might seem more appealing to him.
This then takes us to another story, also from Births.Movies.Death, which is currently surfacing only as a rumor, but given all of the travails that have been coming forward as a result of BvS it is sufficient cause to at least report it. Apparently there are possibly more creative arguments going on between Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. over the direction that Justice League is taking. It is very possible that Warner Bros. is placing the blame for the poor performance and mixed reaction towards BvS squarely at the feet of Snyder, and if the rumor is true that might make them very much concerned with how Justice League, as well as the entire DC Cinematic Universe, is being handled by Snyder.
The gossip floating around reports that Snyder and DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns were both taken aback at the critical and audience reaction towards Batman v Superman, but because Justice League was slated to go into production immediately following the release of BvS Warner Bros. was in no position to actually remove Snyder from his directing role, nor could they postpone production of the film as that might further damage any returns that the studio hoped BvS might still bring in. As a result of this the only recourse for the studio is to take some of the creative direction and control of the movie, as well as the overall DCCU, back from Snyder who is currently shooting in London.
Again, this last bit is merely rumor and that is not something we here at TG2 Studios normally choose to report on, but given this recent news about Grahame-Smith and Wan, it does cause for us to look at all of the news items and movie decisions from Warner Bros. regarding the DCCU, and to examine them more closely.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Did Warner Bros. make a big mistake by allowing Zack Snyder to guide the DCCU with Batman v Superman as well as Justice League, or is this a symptom of a bigger problem by not having one cinematic universe by combining the movies with the TV properties in the same manner as Marvel Studios has done?
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