Frankly, there’s been a lot of talk scattered across the internet as of late in regard to Warner Brother’s feelings on the upcoming Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice film and so far the clambering has been fairly damning. While there’s been a lot of back and forth, with some sites claiming that the studio is fearing the worst in terms of reviews and box office numbers, to others flat out declaring that Warner Bros. thinks that fans have been dumbed down by Marvel’s ‘popcorn’ style movies and won’t be able to grasp the deeper themes of the film, it’s worth taking a deeper look at as this film is setting the stage for many years to come for Warner Bros. Studios.
A new report today from Latino Review is suggesting that the budget of the film has been pushed beyond the $400M mark, including promotions, which far exceeds what was originally projected for the film which was in the $225-$250M range. It would seem that the studio is pumping a extra money into promotional materials for the film in order to build fan hype on a movie that should have that pre-built in. This could suggest that the studio is lacking confidence in the film which has them throwing money at a problem that money might just not be able to fix and this isn’t exactly the first show of potential no-confidence from them.
The original launch date set the movie to release on July 17th, 2015, but the studio pushed that back to May 6th, 2016 in order to give the film makers time to, “fully realize their vision,” according to Comingsoon.net. That push back put the film directly up against a then unnamed Marvel movie. Shortly thereafter, Marvel Studios announced that the film that would take the May 6th spot would be Captain America; Civil War and that they had no plans of backing away from a head to head confrontation. Initially Warner Bros. stood firm as well, but it didn’t take too long for them to push the date up to March 25th, 2016. The fact that the film was initially delayed by almost a year suggests that the studio was shaky about the movie in the first place and feeling that maybe it was a bit rushed, the additional time could allow the film makers to tighten up any issues that may have existed. It’s hard to say for sure without knowing the studios full rational, but there had to be some clear, hard-line reasoning behind the decision as it’s not too often that a fully finished film get’s pushed back a full 8 months, especially one of this magnitude.
Earlier this week, the website Hitflix, claimed that they had information from inside sources that said early test screenings of the film had not been going the way that Warner Bros. wanted with fan reactions middling. According to Hitflix’s, Drew McWeeny, “Warner is a little bit worried. This movie is starting to scare them. It’s scaring them because they’re showing it to people now, people are actually laying eyes on the film now, and the response has not been what I think they wanted.”
Now, both Latino Review and Batman on Film have come out to try and clarify a bit of what McWeeny was trying to say suggesting that the studio isn’t so much ‘worried’ as they are nervous, which is to be expected when they’ve pumped over $400M into the film. If the film doesn’t financially or critically preform the way they need it too, it could curtail the business plan they’ve laid out for the next 5 years. In fact, many sites are projecting that unless the film can manage to cross the coveted $1B mark, it won’t be considered a financial success by the studio which could set a lot of change in motion.
McWeeny suggests that it could end director Zach Snyder’s run with DC properties as his first run out with Man of Steel cost the studio $250M and barley covered their costs with a domestic box office of $291M with a worldwide gross of $670M. If BVS preforms like MOS the studio could be in some real financial trouble forcing them to reasses their current lineup. He suggests that instead of moving into the first installment of Justice League, the studio could push up the planned solo Batman movie to try and reengage fans with their most profitable franchise.
The other major problem that Warner Bros. has faced has come in the form of their marketing campaign for the film. While many fans were initially on-board after the original Comic Con trailer release, many remained skeptical stating that the film seemed to be overly dark in tone in the same way that MoS was. As the marketing continued, many argued that the trailers were giving away major plot points for the film which escalated exponentially when the character of Doomsday was shoehorned in which seemed to lessen the importance of the Batman V. Superman battle by showing fans that their would be no clear victor and instead they’d have to come together to fight another super villain. While it was long speculated that would be the case, it seemed to many that they were showing their cards too soon. Further more, it’s also been all but confirmed that the film will hint at the greater threat of Darkseid, which we can see illusions to in Batman’s dessert dream sequence where we not only see Darkseid’s parademons, but also his omega symbol carved deep into the sand. For those of us with an understanding of narrative plot structure, it’s been pretty easy to piecemeal together how the film will likely play out, which is unfortunate as the marketing should serve to get people excited for the movie and generate an air of mystery instead of making us feel like we’ve already seen it. While Zach Snyder has insisted that there’s a lot more to the movie than the trailer may have lead on, it’s almost impossible to believe knowing that the film is 2 1/2 hours long and we know several of the main beats they’re hitting. Unless some of these major components are severely rushed, it’s hard to image they’d have the time for any more huge reveals, which is another reason the studio is likely worried. There have also been some potential spoilers in terms of the toy releases, although those could easily not pan out and instead just be creative decisions on the part of the toy makers.
Given all of that information, do you think the studio is worried or confident in their film? Do you expect to love it, hate it, or remain neutral? As always, we’d love to know your thoughts and opinions, so let us know in the comments section below.