Warner Bros and DC Comics may be preparing to rethink their superhero film release strategy after the forthcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was met with a muted reception in internal screenings, reports say.
The film sees Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent go toe to toe in a grand clash of heroic ideologies. It also features Wonder Woman, Aquaman and The Flash to pave the way for further superhero capers from the DC universe.
However, according to Drew McWeeny at HitFix, early viewings haven’t been received as positively as the studio hoped. If the film does not turn out to be a smash, it could affect Warner Bros superhero release schedule, with next year’s planned Justice League: Part One being hit in favour of a solo Batman film.
“My guess is what’s going to happen based on what I’m hearing… is Justice League is going to get moved back and that Ben Affleck Batman movie, that’s what’s going to end up in that spot,” McWeeny said.
He continued: “My guess is they’re going to throw whatever money it takes at Ben Affleck to make that Batman film happen sooner rather than later. They’re going to need to rebuild again, they’re going to need to win people over, [and] they’re going to need to lay some different groundwork. I don’t think this is going to be the springboard into the Justice League that they wanted it to be.”
According to those who have seen Dawn of Justice, the two standouts of the film are Affleck as Batman and Jesse Eisenberg, who is “great” as Lex Luthor, McWeeny says.
If Warner does change its plans like this, it would represent “a titanic shift in DC’s release strategy”, CinemaBlend‘s Brent McKnight says.
“There aren’t any specifics revealed,” he adds, “but it sounds like the studio may not be entirely happy with what’s on film.”
Batman v Superman: why super-battle is ‘destined to peter out into nothing’
The mega-heroes’ battle that comic-book lovers have waited decades to see is destined to be a damp squib, says The Independent‘s Ben Child.
The contest between Batman and Superman represents a clash of fundamental ideologies – and the early trailers for Dawn of Justice appeared to set up the battle well, pitting Clark Kent’s all-American goodness against Bruce Wayne’s vengeance-fuelled vigilantism.
More recently, though, the clash has been “hamstrung” by “a confusing trailer that shows the two superheroes eventually making up to take on a greater threat – possibly a Lex Luthor-controlled Doomsday”, says Child.
Even if the film’s director, Zac Snyder, has held some plot details back, the very existence of two planned Justice League films in 2017 and 2019 makes it “fairly apparent that the greatest battle in superhero history – the reason everyone is going to see the movie in the first place, for freak’s sake – is destined to peter out into nothing”.
It’s worse than that, says The Guardian‘s Nicholas Barber. The new crop of superhero films and Star Wars spin-offs has killed off happy-ever-afters once and for all.
“Have we reached the end of endings?” he asks. “In The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne turned his back on both Batman and Gotham City so he could swan around Florence with Selina Kyle. But in this year’s Batman v Superman, the poor chap is having to squeeze into his rubber suit once again.”
He adds: “Popular culture has been geekified to the point where fans can take to the internet in their thousands to demand more content about their favourite characters, and where corporations are only too glad to monetise those demands.”
Batman v Superman is out on 25 March and will be followed by Wonder Woman in June 2017, The Justice League Part One the following November and then The Flash and Aquaman in 2018.
Batman v Superman: will Dawn of Justice rival Star Wars 7?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in just under two months, but already pundits are predicting a $154m (£107m) opening weekend in North America.
The figure would put it shy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which broke all records when it took $238m at the US and Canadian box office on its opening weekend.
The projection was made by BoxOffice.com, which forecasts that the Warner Bros film will finish its domestic run on around $380m.
The figure is still considered a respectable haul. By comparison, the last Superman film, Man of Steel, opened in 2013 with $116.6m – not including the $12 million earned in special screenings run by Walmart – and went on to earn $291m domestically.
Two specific factors may end up limiting the film’s box office takings, adds the site. First, the decision by Warner Bros to relaunch Batman so soon after Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises “does have a level of risk to it, especially given how highly The Dark Knight trilogy is regarded among moviegoers”.
Secondly, demand for Batman v Superman “could be limited a bit by so many other high-profile comic book adaptations being released in such a relative short amount of time,” it says. “Fox’s Deadpool, Disney’s Captain America: Civil War, Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse and fellow Warner/DC Extended Universe film Suicide Squad (which features The Joker, among others) will all be released between February 12 and August 5.”
If the projection is accurate, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be soundly beaten by the likes of Avatar, Jurassic World and Marvel’s The Avengers. In fact, if the figure is correct, it will not make the top 25 most popular films domestically. The film has its US premiere on 20 March and opens in the UK five days later.
Batman v Superman: interest in DC Comics’ films ‘500 per cent stronger’ than Marvel
The most anticipated superhero movies of the year are Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad – with Marvel’s 2016 offerings very distant runners up.
Variety and ListenFirst Digital Audience Ratings looked at social media trends across platforms including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube and found that interest in DC Comics’ adaptations is up to 500 per cent stronger than rival offerings from Marvel such as Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse.
According to the site, “among the slew of comic book films set for release in 2016, including new Captain America and X-Men adaptations, early social and digital tracking places Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman 500 per cent stronger than competitors based on standing at the same point pre-release”.
Variety adds that Batman v Superman “is currently the number one film by volume, followed by Suicide Squad and Deadpool”.
The site’s Digital Audience Ratings is an aggregate of daily engagements across social media as well as YouTube and Wikipedia. The rating looks for audience growth, hashtag volume, page and profile views, online interactions and Wikipedia views for all film pages.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is released in the UK on 25 March and Suicide Squad opens on 5 August.
Batman v Superman: new images show Bruce Wayne mourning his parents
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is still two months away, but Warner Bros has been gradually ratcheting up its hype machine, releasing two new teaser trailers this week and now a collection of stills from the film.
The images show the main characters, Superman and Batman, in their superhero garb as well as their undercover alter egos, Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne.
In one image, Ben Affleck, who plays Bruce Wayne/Batman, is seen visiting his family mausoleum, while another telling photo shows him standing on a clifftop watching an apocalyptic scene unfold as a city appears to come under attack from nuclear weapons.
One still sees the hero on a windswept city street, surrounded by gun emplacements – presumably preparing for a fight against the man from Krypton.
“This is a massive movie for Warner Bros”, says Collider. Indeed – it will set up a series of films starring characters from the DC Comics universe, including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Shazam.
So what can we expect from the latest tranche of clues about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? According to Den of Geek, “it’s quite possible that the multi-hero approach of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will ultimately point the way towards how Warner Bros will approach most of these future movies”.
However, “unlike Marvel, where almost every movie aggressively teases and/or sets up potential plot elements and introduces characters for future films, it’s fairly likely that at least a few of the DC Universe movies will remain somewhat independent of one another”.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be released in the UK on 25 March.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – teasers show heroes preparing for war
Two new teasers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have been released and it looks as if the superheroes are about to go to war with one another.
The crossover film isn’t out for two more months, but a sequence of trailers and shorts are expected to be released to pump up the excitement.
Like so many contemporary superhero movies, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is already part of a timeline, with the action coming after Superman: Man of Steel and as a prelude to more capers to come, introducing the likes of Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) as well as foreshadowing the arrival of a major new villain, Doomsday.
Ezra Miller, who starred in We Need to Talk About Kevin, is also rumoured to make an appearance as The Flash, possibly as a fleeting cameo or as his alter ego Barry Allen.
The film won’t be so much a sequel as “an introduction to Batman, an opening to Justice League and an expansion of the world that was created in Man of Steel”, says actor Henry Cavill, who returns as Superman against Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne.
In one of the new teasers, Cavill is seen in his guise as Clark Kent. Editor-in-chief of the Metropolis Daily Planet newspaper Perry White, played by The Matrix star Laurence Fishburne, tells him: “You don’t get to decide what the right thing is. Nobody cares about Clark Kent taking on the Batman.”
Shortly afterwards, Superman tells Batman: “Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it. The bat is dead. Bury it.”
In the second teaser, Batman appears to be talking about Superman. “He’s the one who bought the war to us,” says the caped crusader. “He has the power to wipe out the entire human race and if we believe there is even a one per cent chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty and we have to destroy him.”
The plot lines are building up to next year’s The Justice League film, which will unite the DC Comics superheroes in a similar way to Marvel’s Avengers.
Batman v Superman: new clip shows Man of Steel’s dark side
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder has unveiled a new clip from the forthcoming film, teasing fans as he appeared on Conan O’Brien’s late-night chat show Conan.
The scene begins with Superman, played by British actor Henry Cavill, tearing open the Batmobile to reveal Ben Affleck’s Batman within.
“Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it,” he warns. “The Bat is dead, bury it. Consider this mercy.”
So, of course, Batman responds with a bit of menace of his own.
“Tell me,” he replies, “do you bleed? You will.”
The director also revealed more about the new Batmobile – a fully functional car, which he has driven in. “The cool thing about our Batmobile is it’s purpose-built by Bruce Wayne to be the Batmobile,” he said. “It allows it to be slightly ‘battier’… It’s got more bat-like.”
And he shared a bit of advice that former Batman Christian Bale had given Affleck: “Make sure they put a zipper in the suit.”
Meanwhile, rumours emerged last month that Christmas with the Coopers actor Dan Amboyer will make an appearance as Green Lantern. In a Reddit post, a user claiming to have seen an early screening of the film says Amboyer, currently down as playing a drone pilot, will actually be the DC superhero, last seen on the big screen in the eponymous 2011 box office flop starring Ryan Reynolds.
Latino-Review adds it has heard that supervillain Bizarro will be in Dawn of Justice as part of a set-up for 2017’s superhero outing The Justice League: Part One. At the moment, it’s unclear how exactly the Superman clone would be created in this universe, although “logic suggests that Lex Luthor would be the culprit responsible, given his scientific background and history with the creature”, says Cinema Blend.
Batman v Superma: what we learned from the new full-length trailer
After years of secrecy, the first full-length trailer for Batman v Superman arrived this week, with new plot details, spoilers and the first full reveal of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.
The latest trailer “went from nought to 100 in terms of spoilers”, said io9.com. “Not only did the trailer show the reveal of Wonder Woman, but it even introduced the film’s big bad guy: Doomsday.”
So what else may be gleaned of the highly anticipated superhero movie from this extensive new preview?
Batman and Superman are not friends
This was to be expected, of course, given the film’s title – but the new trailer explains why the pair of crime fighters is at odds with one another.
At the top of the trailer, Bruce Wayne and Clarke Kent are introduced to one another at a swanky party and quickly get into a conversation about the problems with their respective alter-egos.
Kent accuses Batman of being little more than a vigilante, while Wayne says that Superman is nothing but a dangerous alien from another planet.
The Joker is back
“I have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns,” Bruce Wayne says, as an image appears of Batman’s costume daubed with graffiti reading ‘Hahaha, the joke’s on you, Batman’.
The sequence appears to confirm, as many critics had previously suggested, that the film will serve as a bridge to the forthcoming Suicide Squad film, which features both the Joker and Harley Quinn.
Doomsday will bring the two superheroes together
“What have you done?” Superman asks Lex Luthor towards the end of the trailer. The answer appears to be that he has unleashed a new villain – Doomsday, the pitiless enemy of Superman who, in the DC Comics universe, is infamous for killing the Caped Crusader.
The villain unleashes a barrage of fire from his eyes at the pair of heroes. Fortunately…
…Wonder Woman saves the day
“Is she with you?” asks Superman. “I thought she was with you,” Batman replies as Wonder Woman emerges from behind her shield.
The appearance of Wonder Woman offers the first real view of a new character who will loom large over superhero cinema for the next few years.
Gadot is currently filming the first Wonder Woman spin-off film, and Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Gadot are “already set to team up for two more superhero movies in 2017 and 2019 respectively”, The Guardian reports.
Batman v Superman: three questions raised by ‘sneak’ video
New footage of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been released, showing Superman unmasking Bruce Wayne, who stands in chains.
The clip, less than a minute long, has prompted questions and speculation from fans about what they can expect from next year’s film. The full trailer is expected to air later today.
Why are people bowing to Superman?
In the latest clip, shown this week during the television series Gotham, four men are seen bowing down to Superman, played by Henry Cavill. Some fans have noticed that they also have Superman shield patches on their arms, suggesting they might be part of a “Superman army”.
The film’s synopsis describes Superman as a “god-like super hero” and “Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day saviour”. Another trailer shows him surrounded by members of the public desperately trying to touch him, although in other scenes extras are protesting with placards reading ‘Superman = illegal alien’.
Why is Batman in chains?
In the new clip, Batman (Ben Affleck) seems to have been captured: he stands in chains in a dark room. The film’s synopsis explains that Batman and Superman are “at war with one another”, with Batman fearing that Superman’s actions are going “unchecked”.
However, the idea of a Superman who doesn’t react to men bowing to him or appears to think it is fine to keep prisoners chained up by their wrists suggests that “something is wrong”, says the Hollywood Reporter.
The question is whether the filmmakers “simply don’t understand the inherent decency” that Superman is supposed to embody or whether it is all part of the plot. One theory is that Lex Luthor is using some sort of mind control or red kryptonite to use Superman’s powers for evil.
Is this the first time Superman has seen Bruce Wayne?
Batman’s unmasking has had fans questioning whether this is the first time Superman discovers that his rival is Bruce Wayne. In some animated versions of the DC story, Superman can see Batman’s real identity using his X-ray vision.
Meanwhile, Ross Lincoln at Deadline suggests the whole scene is not actually real: “My guess is that we just saw a paranoid nightmare Batman has about a world ruled by Superman.”