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Superheroes Assemble: The Quest For More Money
The Hub That I Never Thought I'd Write
For those of you who read my five part hub series on upcoming superhero films, then you should know that I pretty much covered anything and everything to do with superhero films that could potentially come down the pipeline; along with a lot of rumors. However, it seems I might've written them way too soon. Granted, I know some of you may know I could've just updated my original hubs on this topic, like I have been doing for every new superhero news that's coming out. However, those changes usually generate marginal increase, in traffic, at best. Plus, this new bit of information deserves as much attention as possible. Therefore, I decided to do the unthinkable. Something that I told myself I wouldn't do after the "Superheroes Assemble" series....which is write another one based on the same topic. I told myself I wouldn't do this again, but I feel I have to.
Therefore, without further delay, lets get down to brass taxes. In recent news, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment industries has quickly changed it's tune about a possible "Justice League" film. At first, many of their top executives were often quoted as saying that they would not follow in Disney/Marvel Studios footsteps; in a petty attempt to match their "Avengers" film. However, that must've been giant lie, as it seems they're are going to do it after all. Unlike Marvel Studios/Disney planned out cross over film, where audiences would come to expect that the characters all exist within the same universe, Warner Bros. hasn't made any plans to cross pollinate their superhero solo films to prepare audiences for the inevitable "Justice League" crossover.
As Zack Snyder said about his upcoming "Superman Reboot", Superman will be treated as existing solely within his own perspective world; with no reference to any other DC character. Same thing for Batman, as Christopher Nolan has adamantly said that his Batman exists within his own confined continuity. Plus, Christian Bale has rejected the idea of doing a "Justice League" film before, so it looks like he won't be in the planned crossover movie by DC Entertainment. To make matters even more interesting, the upcoming "Green Lantern" film also plans on making no references to any other DC characters as well. Although it was originally planned that Clark Kent would make a cameo in it, to establish some continuity between the franchises, but it was later debunked when DC execs said they wouldn't be following Marvel's plans. However, with this new change in strategy, does this mean we'll see Clark Kent in the new Green Lantern film after all? They did just cast Henry Cavill as Superman, in the new reboot of Superman, so you know they have a Clark Kent. I guess we'll have to wait and see on that one.
Another interesting prospect to all this is that DC Entertainment also mentioned that after the "Justice League" premiers in 2013, they would release two spin off films of Wonder Woman and the Flash. Although it's still too early to know if the new Wonder Woman TV series, on NBC, will do well or not. However, assuming it does, and it's still running during 2013, then WB did say they wouldn't be opposed to both the live action spin off film and the TV series existing alongside each other. Citing how "Superman Returns" existed while "Smallville" was still on the air for CW.
Another interesting note to consider here is that they mentioned how Batman would be reinvented a bit after Nolan finishes up his trilogy. Say what? Unfortunately, Warner Bros. executive, Jeff Robinov wouldn't say exactly what he meant by "reinventing" Batman after the trilogy, but he did say it would be taken in a different direction; with Christopher Nolan supervising as a producer.
Of course, lets not leave Marvel characters out of this discussion, as it seems there's been a lot of recurring developments involving some of franchises. In even more surprising turn of events, Darren Aronofsky has walked away from doing the planned "Wolverine" sequel, as he cites that the schedule of the film would keep him away from his family for way too long than he cared for. Naturally, this isn't stopping adolescent fans from foaming at the mouth about how Fox Studios might be the real culprit to blame. However, it's amazing most fans aren't looking at the prospect "Wolverine" was supposed to be shot in Japan, so one has to wonder if all the troubles over there don't also play a key factor in Darren's decision as well.
During the rest of this hub, I'll be over some of the pros and cons of each bit of news I've just mentioned, as well as conclude my final thoughts on each subject matter.
This looks like a job for the Justice League!
Although the film was originally scrapped because it was projected to cost Warner Bros. at least three hundred million dollars just to produce the movie; which doesn't include marketing. Therefore, that would've put "Justice League" up there as one of the most expensive films of all time. Hence, why the whole project was scrapped; in spite of former cast member, Jay Baruschel, commenting saying it would've been great. However, after Marvel Studios/Disney has been generating buzz over their long anticipated "Avengers" film, it seems DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. is now prepared to throw it's hat into the ring as well.
However, unlike Marvel Studios where the whole crossover was planned from the start, it seems DC Entertainment is scrambling, at the last minute, in attempt to match the "Avengers" film. Will it work? Or will it blow up in their face? Only time will tell. However, I will have this to say before I get into my pros and cons about this subject. Originally, Robinov did mention the possibility of doing a Justice League film without Superman and Batman. However, in light of many online scrutiny from fans, it seems he changed his tune on that to where he was quoted as saying, "The Batman and Superman that exists in their own films are their own characters. The Justice League Batman and Superman won't be a part of that same continuity." Um...let me get this straight, you're saying the live action Batman and Superman, in "Justice League", will have nothing to do with the continuity of the solo films? Won't that be confusing as hell? Granted, that may work in a comic book, but I doubt that would bode well in a movie series. Oh well. Why don't we just get into the pros and cons of this.
Pros: Well Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are more prominently known throughout our culture than Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor. Therefore, there would be a lot more hype for Warner Bros. to be able to sell the idea of the "Justice League" crossover film to audiences. There's no doubt about that. After all, who wouldn't want to see Superman fighting alongside the Green Lantern, as they take on Sinestro, or any other baddie the DC universe could generate. Or perhaps, we could see Wonder Woman fighting alongside the Flash and Superman, as they rush to take on Lex Luther. Indeed, there's no end to the possibilities here.
Cons: Well unless they figured out how to come up with a story that would cost them less than three hundred million dollars, then I doubt this is going to bode well for DC Entertainment. Plus, although some might remember my criticism about the "Avengers" film, I did say that the main problem with the movie is that they have a helluva a lot more to lose than they do to gain. Sure, it's easy to speculate what will happen if the film does well at the box office, and fans are happy with it. As we all know it will lead to spin-offs, sequels, prequels and whatnot. However, what if it bombs? Then what?
They'll be ineffectively killing off any possibility to establish legitimate solo franchises with their characters. Would it be wise to take such a gamble on one film? After all, doing solo films is a less riskier approach. For example if "The Flash" movie bombs, but the "Green Lantern" becomes a hit, then technically Warner Bros. will still suffer a loss. However, it won't be as huge if "Justice League" bombs.
Another thing that works against this film is the fact that it was never planned out. Sure, I'll be the first to admit that I'm completely against the idea of the "Avengers" film, but you have to give Marvel Studios credit for planning it out first. They not only had this planned from the start, but they also made sure to include cameos of each Marvel Studios made film, so viewers would expect it. Establishing the origins of the key characters in solo flicks first, then having each film lead up into the crossover movie. Whereas DC, the only characters they're going to have established is Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman ( assuming her TV series doesn't bomb). Therefore, they'll not only have the daunting task having to explain who "The Flash" is along with any other key member they'll introduce, but they'll also have the task of explaining why the hell are all these characters teaming up. What reason would Batman need to answer to Superman? If Batman is known as a outlaw vigilante, then why don't the rest of the Justice League try to throw him in jail? Why does Green Lantern, a member of the intergalactic space police, need to be a part of the Justice League for? There's too many variables working against this film that it's not even funny.
Personally, I'm all for crossover films if idea of it makes sense, and there's a valid reason for it, but this moves just seems too much like a selfish one. Where at best, we'll be treated to a rush hack job.
Final Thoughts: Unless Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan agree to work on this film, then I don't see how in the hell this movie will work out. Seriously, in the upcoming solo superhero films, DC Entertainment made no plans to at least include cameos, so people would know their characters exist within the same universe. Plus, it seems like they're only doing this in a petty attempt to make money rather than trying to tell a effective story.
The Flash is going through another identity crisis...AGAIN!
Okay, I'll have to admit. From everything I was reading about the Flash's potential solo film, I found a lot of it quite promising. Seriously, combining the elements of CSI into a superhero film starring Barry Allen's version of the Flash, who was already a top scientist within the police department of the comics. Therefore, the only skepticism that I really had was the villain. Seriously, if you look at all his villains, there really aren't that many that would translate well into a live action film format; without coming off as silly and/or just plain stupid. However, it seems they're changing the Flash...AGAIN, in effort to make it a spin off of the upcoming "Justice League" film.
Pros: Although this film was set to be released in 2013, it looks like that plan might change if WB goes through with making the "Flash" a spin off of "Justice League." On the bright side, lets face it. The Flash has never been that popular. Sure, he's had a strong cult following for years, since his initial creation. However, I doubt seriously one could say he's as popular as Superman or Batman. This is where the "Justice League" film could help the Flash. Assuming "Justice League" is a hit of course. They can always use the spin off as a way to explain Flash's origins; similar to how "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was used as a spin off to explain the history of the character, after he was established in the previous "X-Men" movies.
Cons: As I said earlier, if the "Justice League" film bombs, then you're basically killing any and all potential Flash could've had as a solo franchise. After all, Geoff Johns even said the script was very good, and on par with some of the recent DC successes. Granted, it's coming from an obvious biased source, but the idea of Barry Allen, who works in CSI, becoming a superhero is all but too intriguing. Plus, there's the elements of Flash's powers that allow him to travel through dimensions and time barriers that could be explored. Something that even top executives at DC Entertainment acknowledged could be a interesting story point to use for the Flash in live action films. However, if his origin is linked to the "Justice League" film, and it bombs, then what? Make the film anyway? Didn't Fox make a spin off of "Elektra", after "Daredevil" bombed too? By the way, how did that work out? Don't answer that, as that's a rhetorical question.
Final Thoughts: I still don't see why this film needs to be a spin off, as most spin off films rarely do that well. Particularly ones involving the superhero genre. However, I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. Then again, they could always take a note from Fox, and just reboot the character in a solo film, as that's seems to be plan with Deadpool. Where Fox just plans on rebooting the character, while ignoring the events that happened in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
Wonder Woman Is Finally Being Talked About As A Movie!
As part of Warner Bros. planned "Justice League" film for 2013, they plan on releasing a spin off film of Wonder Woman as well. Although there's no clear definition, at this point, on whether or not the continuity of the newly planned TV series, on NBC, will flow into the same universe as the films, or if they'll just exist within their own separate worlds ala "Smallville." However, it should be interesting to see how it plays out. I do know that the President of Warner Bros. Studios, Jeff Robinov, was quoted as saying he feels that there should be no issue if the TV series is on during the time, the film premieres; citing how "Superman Returns" existed around the same time that "Smallville" was still running on CW.
However, will this really work? After all, this kind of seems like a huge gamble if you ask me. For one, we really don't know how well "Justice League" film and/or the new TV series of Wonder Woman will do, so isn't planning a solo film this quickly a bit of a stretch? Or perhaps, I'm just being paranoid?
Pros: On the one hand, I can see this working out providing that "Justice League" is a huge hit. Even if the TV series doesn't do well, the film version of Wonder Woman could do the character far more justice that would cause a lot of fans to demand her own solo film anyway. After all, Warner Bros. did listen to the fans when they cried foul over her new TV series costume, so it's not much of a stretch to fathom they would listen to them again if the demands were high for a solo movie; providing the "Justice League" pays her justice. Plus, they can use the planned solo film to explain Wonder Woman's origin; thus whoever gets to write and direct her movie won't have to worry about what the story will be about, as it'll already be established. Just tell a adequate origin that leads up to the events of "Justice League." After all, prequels are the going rage in Hollywood anyway, and it would erase the foul smell of NBC's recent portrayal; assuming it bombs of course.
However, on the other hand, if the show becomes a hit, then it could still work. Granted, in a obviously different way, but it could still work. For one, if the series becomes a hit, and continues to bring in high ratings by the time "Justice League" and "Wonder Woman" roll around in theaters, then we know that they can always make a "Wonder Woman" film that would allow for any director to take her character in any direction they chose. For example, if the director decides to have Wonder Woman's solo film take place AFTER the "Justice League", then that would be feasible considering they can just use the TV series; as a way to explain her early history.
Cons: Assuming both the TV series on NBC and "Justice League" go according to plan for WB, then it could inherently ruin the TV series' potential of standing on it's own feet. For those that remember when "Superman Returns" came out, it didn't exactly help "Smallville" at all. If anything, it hindered most of it's creativity to line up with the films. As it forced many "Smallville" writers to tailor to show to lead into Christopher Reeves' "Superman" franchise, as that's what Bryan Singer wanted for his reboot; which was a quasi-sequel to "Superman II." Fortunately, due to some rather creative writing, the "Smallville" writers were able to not only tailor the show going towards Bryan Singer's initial vision, to suddenly away from it, as soon as things went foul with "Superman Returns."
Another thing worth worrying about here is what if both, "Justice League" and the new "Wonder Woman" tv show, bomb horrendously before the "Wonder Woman" movie even gets off the ground? What then? After all, Warner Bros. already claimed they wouldn't be making anymore animated movies starring female characters, unless it was in a team format ala "Teen Titans" or "Justice League", due to the poor sales of Wonder Woman's animated movie. Therefore, logic would dictate that if "Justice League" and the new "Wonder Woman" TV series fails, then we may not even get to ever see a new Wonder Woman on the big screen. Something that has to be really sad if you're a comic book fan, as she certainly deserves one.
Final Thoughts: It'll be interesting to see what transpires from this. I personally, hope there will be a Wonder Woman film someday, as I always felt she would make an awesome character to be portrayed on the big screen. However, only time will tell if that ever happens..
Batman...reinvented? What the f***?!?
According to Jeff Robinov, the President of Warner Bros. studios, they're going to take Batman in an entirely different direction; once Nolan finishes up his trilogy with "The Dark Knight Rises." To be fair, he didn't imply or say that the franchise would be rebooted, as some fans have speculated, but he did say that the character would be reinvented a bit. What that exactly means is really anyone's guess. However, lets go over the possibilities shall we.
Pros: If by reinvent the character, he means taking it in a different direction; similar to how the tone in Batman changed from "Batman Returns" to "Batman Forever", then I could see it working. Now before anyone judges me, I'm not saying the franchise should immediately go back to rubber bat suits with nipples on them. No, no, no, that's not what I mean at all. What I mean by that is fairly simple.
Although I'll be the first to admit that Nolan's new Batman universe is by far the best we've seen on film, but there were a few things wrong with it. One, it's too realistic. The problem with Nolan's Batman continuity is that it's so grounded in the concepts of reality, that it makes it almost impossible to imagine any of his more super powered villains to make a movie appearance. After all, could you imagine a shape shifter like Clay Face making his debut within Nolan's grounded realistic Batman universe? I certainly couldn't, and that's part of the problem.
However, if "The Dark Knight Rises" ends with Batman retiring from being a superhero, then comes back in another Batman film helmed by another director. That would be okay, as they wouldn't have to reboot the franchise again with another origin story, and they could easily sell it as a quasi-sequel to "The Dark Knight Rises." During this reinvention of Batman they can keep the elements of the previous films grounded in a dark sinister society; while introducing supernatural elements into the mix. This would not only allow for audiences to easier to buy into the idea of super powered beings in Gotham City, it would also make way for such sinister characters like Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Killer Croc, to name a few.
Another thing this could potentially mean is that the new director could, in theory, take on a "James Bond" approach to Batman. Where every time a new actor is cast in the lead, it doesn't mean reboot per say. No, it just means a change in tone, and a continuation of the mythology of the character, himself. After all, would you really consider the first "James Bond" that Roger Moore did to be a reboot? Or would you classify it as a continuation of the character? I don't know about most fans, but I think it's more of that later. Therefore, if either one of these scenarios turns out to be true, or a bit of both, then I can see how reinventing Batman could potentially work. Plus, who knows? Maybe, the next director will be more open to the possibility of Robin or Batgirl down the road; unlike Christopher Nolan was.
Cons: If by reinventing, they're talking about rebooting the character then that could spell problems. One, it could mean that either Batman dies, or becomes physically disabled in the upcoming "The Dark Knight Rises", so audiences will be forced to go through another retelling of Bat's origin; within less than even ten years of "Batman Begins." Or it could just mean that they're just going to reboot it for the sake of rebooting it, so they can make even more money off the character. Look, I'm all for rebooting a franchise if the character becomes so commercially dead that you basically don't have any other choice, AND it's been at least ten years or more since the original made it's release. If those things are met, or at least one of them, then I certainly don't see a problem with rebooting something. However, this is just freaking ridiculous.
How do you improve on perfection? Nolan did an excellent job retelling Batman's origin on the big screen so well that it's going to be hard for any director to beat it. Therefore, why not make it a continuation of that same universe? Why is it suddenly necessary to tell audiences Batman's origin again within less than ten years since "Batman Begins" already covered it? It just doesn't make any sense if you ask me.
Final Thoughts: I don't know exactly what Jeff Robinov means by "reinventing" Batman, but I hope it doesn't mean a reboot. Seriously, that has got to be the most lame idea that I ever heard of if you ask me. However, if he means taking it in a different direction, ala how things changed from "Batman Returns" to "Batman Forever", then that would be okay, as far as I'm concerned. However, I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens.
The Wolverine film is DOOMED!
Okay, maybe saying the new "Wolverine" film is doomed is a bit of a stretch. However, it certainly looks that way from where the film is right now. Originally set to be directed by Bryan Singer, then when it turned out that he would be too busy producing "X-Men: First Class" and directing "Jack the Giant Killer", he was moved over to producer of this film instead. Then came along Darren Aronofski, who just came off his success of directing "Black Swan"; arguably one of the best films of last year. Naturally, this instantly gave the new "Wolverine" film credibility, and promise to right the wrongs of the previous abomination known only as "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
As both, Fox studios and Aronofski, claimed that this film would not only be based on the infamous Jim Lee storyline, where Wolverine takes on ninjas in Japan, it would also be a complete reboot of the character. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it was meant to be. In light of the recent production delays, due to the recent series of unfortunate events in Japan; where the film was set to be filmed. Now, it seems Darren has pulled out of the directors chair, due to family issues. He claims that the production schedule would cause him to be away from his family for a whole year; which is way more time than he would want to be away from his kids, in light of his recent divorce issues.
Now, I know some parents out there might understand this reasoning, as I don't think any sane father would want their kids traveling to Japan with them; in light of recent events. However, this hasn't stopped enraged fan boys from coming up with their own theories of how Fox Studios allegedly had creative differences with Aronofski, and laying claims on how the whole "family issues" excuse was just a politically correct way of saying, "Screw you, Fox!" Of course, as amusing as some of these fans' complaints are, it's also a bit absurd, as I was surprised to know how most fans really don't know what they're even talking about. Seriously, some fans came up with the theory of how Fox wanted the new "Wolverine" film to be "PG" just like "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", and Aronofski doesn't do "PG" films, so he walked away. The only problem with that theory though is that "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is rated "PG-13" according to various sites like yahoo, imdb, and others. Therefore, I don't know where most of these fans get their information from, but some of them really need to brush up on their knowledge before complaining here. Not to sound like a smart a**, but I'm just saying, as it gets kind of annoying after a while.
However, everyone has a right to complain; I suppose. Anyways, I'm not here to get into any type of conspiracy theories on why Darren Arrenofski quit, as that's really not my business here. No, I'm merely here to discuss what this could possibly mean to the "Wolverine" franchise. Now, lets go over the pros and cons of this subject shall we.
Pros: Well Hugh Jackman is still under contract to play this character, and the Japanese storyline could still be done; providing precautions are made during shooting in Japan. Or who says that it has to be shot in Japan? After all, just because the storyline takes place in Japan, it doesn't mean the film itself has to be. Just take a look at the new "Spider-Man" reboot. The story takes place in New York, but they shot several scenes in Chicago too. Therefore, they could still find other locations, or just shoot it in front of a blue screen. Granted, it'll suck for Japan, as I'm sure they need the money, so they can start to rebuild. However, it is an option to be explored here by Fox Studios. Although personally, I'd rather see this film be shot in Japan, as intended. After all, it wouldn't be right to shoot this film anywhere else; especially considering how badly the Japanese could use the money to rebuild their country.
Cons: Who else is there? Without Arrenofski, there really aren't too many directors who could do justice to Wolverine. Plus, the film is set to be released by next year. Therefore, does this mean that Fox might have to delay the film until 2013; instead of 2012 as originally planned. Or, will this mean Fox will have to scrap the entire production entirely? Probably not the later, as I'm sure like all other Sony and Fox properties of Marvel characters, they do have to release films of these characters every so often to retain the rights. Therefore, I doubt that would happen.
Final Thoughts: Although, it's hard to speculate at this point. However, from what I could gather, it doesn't look like Fox is in too big of a hurry to find another director, in order to meet the 2012 deadline release. Which tells me that they're probably going to wait it out for about a year, until things get settled over in Japan, to look for another director. I know many people will say why Japan still, and not move to a location closer to Aronofski's family? Well, it's obviously a PR (Personal Relations) move, as I can imagine it wouldn't look good on Fox to take away any potential revenue from Japan at this point. Plus, we really don't know the specifics of the contracts to shoot in Japan, so Fox could be obligated to shoot there for the "Wolverine" sequel.
Plus, a year would give Aronofski enough time to work things out with his family, during his divorce. Therefore, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we still saw this film in 2013. Of course, I could be wrong on this, but everything that I've researched thus far concludes that Fox isn't opposed to waiting out another year to release "Wolverine" in theaters.
X-Men 4 and 5...the sequels you thought that would never happen
Although Lauren Shuler Donner, one of Fox's head producers, was quoted as saying there would be no more "X-Men" sequels after "X-Men 3"; unless you count prequels and spin offs. However, in light of Marvel Studios/Disney pressuring both Sony and Fox to release so many films of the Marvel properties they own, to retain the rights, it seems Fox has no choice but to make more movies about "X-Men" if they wish to keep the film copyrights. Although very little information is released about the proposed sequels at this point. It is said that "X-Men 4" and "X-Men 5" would be part of two part story arc involving the famous Marvel mutants.
Donner says, "The newer cast members are signed, and the older cast members are not." Considering the older names involved are Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Romijn, Famke Janssen and Anna Paquin--that could run into a huge chunk of money. Another thing worth noting here is that Donner has also claimed that even though "X-Men 4 and 5" are direct sequels to "X-Men 3"; she made no mention of whether or not it'll also include the history of events of "X-Men Origins." Which has led to a lot of speculation that officially speaking,...."X-Men Origins: Wolverine"....never happened. Sure, we may remember it but according to most sources, it seems that this is the route they're going for. Therefore, just erase that abomination of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" out of your heads, as it seems not even Fox's following "X-Men" films will even acknowledge it's existence.
Pros: Well if rumors prove true about Bryan Singer's interest to return to the "X-Men" franchise, then we could finally be in for a treat if it holds true. After all, none of the "X-Men" films thus far has been that great, since his departure. Therefore, who wouldn't want Singer to return? Then again, if he's too busy again, they could always go back to Matthew Vaughn, who looks to blow people away with the surprise hit, "X-Men First Class."
Cons: Well seeing as how they literally killed off half the characters already, including Professor Xavier himself. Or at least, they blew up his body. I don't really see how this can be pulled off without some major rewrites involved.
Final Thoughts: Perhaps they can introduce Bishop, the time traveling mutant, to save Xavier at the last minute. This would explain how Patrick Stewart could be brought back along with Jean Grey and Cyclops. Then again, it'll be interesting to see how this turns out.