Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Warner Bros. Honcho Think "Avengers" Will Be a Hit...

...and THAT little piece of Movie-Executive-to-English translation is really all anyone can reasonably take away from this Hero Complex piece on Warner Bros. honcho Jeff Robinovs vague, non-commital intimations of a "Justice League" movie. In fact, from now on you can use THIS as your "Avengers" indicator-light: If people from Warner Bros. are tossing "JLA" non-news to the fanboy-press, it means the insider-buzz is good for Marvel's big-scale team-up experiment and they're makng ready to hit the ground running on their logical "me-too." If they slip back into the "our characters are bigger, they have to stay seperate" party-line, that means they're thinking "Avengers" is an overreach.


The fact of the matter is, Warner Bros. is in a state of outright PANIC as far as their "tentpole" positioning goes. The annual gaurantee of a "Harry Potter" cash-deluge has been carrying the studio for the last decade - that's an ETERNITY in executive years - comes to an end a few months from now. The year after that, the other cash-cow, Christopher Nolan's "Batman" movies, wraps up with what Nolan's camp has openly called a "definitive" ending. And after that... they've got NOTHING in the way of garaunteed, reliable income.

Robinov and others have been saying for a year now that the plan is for a string of non-Batman DC superhero movies to take Potter's place, but thus far either WB are the best secret-keepers in the studio system (spoiler: they aren't) OR the "we don't know what to do with anyone who isn't Batman" rule remains firmly in place: The buzz on "Green Lantern" has been iffy-to-negative from day one, and the ONLY reason "Superman" is coming together so fast and attracting so much name talent is that Warners is working/spending like MAD to get the thing made before a big chunk of the rights switch over to Siegel & Schuster's estates after the most recent court decision.

The article also mentions "rebooting" Batman after "Dark Knight Rises," which is sort of a given - though one hopes they just mean getting a new actor/director/style and not a full on "let's make the origin story AGAIN" like Sony is doing for Spider-Man.

Don't get me wrong - a JL movie is a fine idea: Far and away the best move WB coluld make, both in terms of their (probable) need for an answer to "Avengers" and also as a kind of proving-ground for future franchises: "People seemed to like runs-fast-man, give him a movie!" I just don't expect them to actually go through with it anytime soon... unless people come out of "Captain America" RAVING about the innevitable "Avengers" tease; in which case it'll have a green light before Sunday's numbers even come in.

14 comments:

Euler d'Moogle said...

It could work, but it would probably be in their best interests not to do an "origin of the league" story, but just start in medias res and maybe dole out pieces of background material in 10 second snippets so as not to bog down the movie.

Polemarch said...

WB ethier needs to make a JL movie or considering that superheroes have been the big thing for about a decade now, decide it might be time to grab something outta left field, and do something completly different

Chris said...

Unfortunately while it seems Marvel Studios is developing movies by people who understand the source material, DC seems to be run by suits. With the sole exception of Nolan and Batman (Remains to be seen if he can turn around Superman). It feels like DC's planets will never align to put together a JL movie. One property is usually hot at a time while the others are dying in legal or creative limbo.

Marevl has it easier it seems. In a side by side comparison between JLA and the Avengers, it appears that the Avengers have a more interesting pallete to work with. (Not saddled with boy scouts, tough to adapt amazons, or third string heroes that no one would recognize beyond the big three)

Unless you take the JL animated series into account. But when it comes to live action movies, DC apparently loses Bruce Timm's number.

Dave Kraft said...

The problem with DC is when Geoff Johns said he thought DC's tentpole characters were big enough that DC/Warners didn't have to go that route, simply because it's what Marvel is doing and DC can do just as well and be different.

What he didn't seem to understand at the time is that the film continuity isn't a mere creative decision, it's a smart business one. Characters like "Thor" are arguably not very marketable on their own unless they can piggy-back off of the popularity of pre-existing franchises (i.e. Iron Man) that were successful. The result is a blueprint or plan of sorts for how Marvel can launch each of its tentpole franchises to film.

The shame is, DC missed out on its window of opportunity to appropriately cast and organize that to tie into the Nolan franchise, what with the Cavill news. Unless they recast the roles NOW and put John Haymes Newton there instead, the cast will be filled by actors too young for their respective roles and too unconvincing to pal around with the likes of Christian Bale's Batman.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you what John Haymes Newton looks like now, and recent footage with him voicing Clark Kent/Superman:

http://www.topnews.in/files/images/John-Newton.jpg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2WVlmNqMMs

Ryan said...

Hmm...I would argue Warners has quite a few tent poles in development that will buy them the time needed to develop the next uber-big franchise.

1. The two Hobbit films directed by Peter Jackson are being released under the WB aegis, not New Line.

2. The studio is determined to make Clash of the Titans into a viable fantasy/action franchise.

3. The superhero projects in production right now: GL, Supes, Flash, etc. There's been no indication that they want to copy Marvel's approach to tying all their films together, so even if the Avengers flops, WB can still make "Superman: More Man, More Steel" and "Green Lantern 2: IF You Didn't Catch it in the Last Movie, SInestro is EVIL" so long as the franchises remain separate.

4. I'm sure they've secured the rights to whatever Harry Potter copycat has sold as many books and merch as the Percy Jackson series.

My question is why haven't they gone the way of Paramount and Universal and have begun work on toy or board game movies or stuff based on 80s cartoons. Not that I'd want to see that, but that seems to be the "in" thing right now amongst the studios.

Christopher said...

I was actually talking to my fiance the other day about the fact that I hope the Avengers movie does well enough that WB will have the confidence to put together a Justice League movie. At this rate, it's the only way Wonder Woman is ever going to be taken seriously again.

MovieBob said...

@Dave Kraft,

In fairness to Johns... he IS on the business side of the whole thing, so what do we EXPECT him to say? "Our main competitor has totally left us in the dust on this movie thing, we're struggling to catch up." ?

This has been a long time coming: WB canceled George Miller's JLA movie on Nolan's nudging and cut a certain MAJOR character-cameo from "Green Lantern's" script because they're backing off the continuity thing. But now that the tea leaves are saying Avengers might actually work they're gently backpeddaling - up to and including a willingness to start a new, non-DK-continuity Batman run. It happens.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear about reshoots on Lantern and script-changes on Superman to add cameos and/or continuity-implications to them if "Thor" and "Cap" are big, respectively. If there's a big "welcome to the team!" group-shot at the end of Cap and everyone comes out going "holy shit! ALL of them!?" just like the fans have been all-along, Warnes HAS to act.

Dave Kraft said...

Bob, you missed my point entirely. Maybe you should read what I write before retorting?

I know what Johns' job is. My point was, his comment (and the resulting fall-out from said comments) show that he doesn't understand that Marvel's choice to do it had nothing to do with it being a "Marvel" thing (as opposed to a "DC" thing) but was instead a business move to help get the franchises off the ground.

In that respect, Geoff didn't have to even mention Marvel and just say something else.

You, sir, need to actually read what people write in your comments before you fire off a response. A little reading comprehension goes a long, long way.

Dave Kraft said...

Also, Nolan's only signed for 3 movies. Once he's out, then Warners can do whatever they want with what he left over without having to reboot the franchise (TDKR comes out in 2012, so it's a bit soon to talk about rebooting franchises, don't you think?). *rolls eyes*

MovieBob said...

@DaveKraft,

I read what you wrote, and I agree - just pointing out that it's unlikely that Johns "didn't know" or "didn't understand" what Marvel was doing; i.e. one can take his statement less as gospel and more as "Warner Bros. company line" at the moment.

Clayton said...

no thank you, we don't need a JLA movie. Hell, we don't need an Avengers movie (especially since Iron Man 2 suffered because the tie-in bollocks it had)

CraftyAndy said...

I have high hopes for Thor, Green Lantern and Captin America. All these movies look promising. I keep telling people the best route to go with these superhero movies isto treat them like the Bond franchise. Have a series of movies, maybe connected sequels telling a complete story but ultimately keep it open so a new directors can come in get new actors for certain characters and keep pumping them out.

Dave Kraft said...

@Bob: Then you clearly didn't comprehend what I wrote. I never said it was gospel; I wrote that he made a statement and the company went along with it. Why? Because he's their creative director, and DC/Warners bought the bullet for it and missed out on some pretty grand opportunities as a consequence.

If Johns did understand why Marvel was doing its film continuity, then he wouldn't have said what he said. Therefore, logic dictates that he didn't understand, and his track record of making such statements in other regards corroborates that observation by way of circumstantial evidence.

Therefore, we may conclude that you a) did indeed miss my point, and b) place way too much stock in the suits and figureheads who run these companies.

Dev's Media Reviews said...

Why can't WB use the actors they already have in the DC Comics films such as the Nolasn-verse and this summer's 'Green Lantern'? All the company has to do is develop films for Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Martian Manhunter to name a few members of the Justice League, take time out to plan a great script for the JL movie, and BAM! Justic League fans will rejoice for having seen another great comic book crossover on the silver screen.