Geoff Johns And Jon Berg Discuss Warner Bros.’ New DC Movie Strategy

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DC and Warner Bros. have had a paradox of a year. The box office returns of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and especially Suicide Squad have been excellent by current superhero movie standards, grossing over $1.5 billion worldwide combined.

But they’ve been met with increasingly negative reviews with every installment since Man of Steel, likely hindering better box office returns, especially for future films. And if you hold these DC movies up to the box office totals of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy post-Batman Begins, you get a more pessimistic view of the movies at large.

Still, they’re certainly successful movies. And though Warner Bros. is at a critical crossroads, no one can call them a slouch. The studio is continuing their plans for an expanding DCEU, with no indication yet that future projects will be canceled or reset, aside from Part 2 of Justice League. And even some of the harshest critics of DC’s latest films, myself included, think that’s for the best at this point.

We’ve known for some time that Warner Bros. is changing course slightly with the tone and humor of Justice League. If you ask Zack Snyder, director of Man of SteelBatman v Superman, and the upcoming Justice League, he’ll tell you that this was really the plan and process all along, and critical backlash is supposedly a very small factor.

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And that’s somewhat in line with the opinion of Geoff Johns and John Berg, the DCEU’s appointed senior creatives who are co-producing Justice League.

In an interview with WSJ, Geoff Johns had this to say about the future of DC movies:

“Mistakenly in the past I think the studio has said, ‘Oh, DC films are gritty and dark and that’s what makes them different.’ That couldn’t be more wrong. It’s a hopeful and optimistic view of life. Even Batman has a glimmer of that in him. If he didn’t think he’d make tomorrow better, he’d stop.”

Keep in mind that Johns was an executive producer on Batman v Superman, and he’s been Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics since 2010. It’s likely Johns believed this all along and had less sway in the decision-making process (he was really only a consultant on BvS). He and Berg have recently been given more authority to help guide future DC films, similar to Kevin Feige’s role in the MCU.

And that makes sense considering no one else filled these roles prior to the release of BvS, and Warner Bros. essentially adapted the filmmaker-first strategy utilized to good effect by Christopher Nolan for reasons you can pick.

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Jon Berg definitely had a hopeful viewpoint on all this, mostly because he sees a lot of potential in how audiences are connecting with the characters, arguably more than the narrative.

In the interview, Berg said:

“To have these characters be part of the fabric of pop culture is so rewarding, though of course we’re disappointed the movies weren’t better reviewed.”

He went on to support the claim that Justice League was always meant to be less “depressing” than BvS, but they have made small changes:

“We accelerated the story to get to the hope and optimism a little faster.”

We also know that Justice League will explore Batman’s growth and change of heart since BvS. This, of course, includes his intent to murder Superman and somewhat flippant violence toward criminals. There will also be fewer dream sequences.

When speaking on the sales of “Rebirth,” the new DC Comics special, Johns spoke on how DC as a whole is approaching the characters across the comics and movies:

“We’re trying to take a really hard look at everything to make sure we stay true to the characters and tell stories that celebrate them.”

No matter what you think of the current DC movies or their lineup, it’s easy to see that Warner Bros. is taking real, actionable steps to make their movies more appealing to even more fans. And we’ll find out the fruits of their labor or otherwise soon enough.

Wonder Woman releases on June 2, 2017, and Justice League opens on November 16, 2017.

Source: WSJ

Jon Negroni

Jon Negroni

I write and I know things.

  • Vegas82

    They’re saying all the right words. I hope it translates into quality films as we move forward.

  • Tavo Borrego

    No word on Wonder Woman. How much influence could they have had in the process? And yes, I loved the trailer!!!

    • Maximillian Pegasus

      Jonhs co-wrote the script if i’m not wrong.

    • Jon Negroni

      They weren’t really asked about Wonder Woman, and for good reason, I think. For one thing, it’s directed by Patty Jenkins, and it doesn’t hurt that the trailer makes the movie look promising and tonally different. Johns and Berg seem more concerned (and probably rightly so) with setting the record straight on Justice League, because a huge number of people are worried about Snyder’s involvement. Makes sense they’d speak more to that movie for now.

  • 12stepCornelius

    I loved MoS and BvS. Had no issue with the darker story and more drama-driven narrative. I’m a bit disappointed that they’re reigning in Zack’s vision of the characters, including what I believe, to be his incredibly interesting introspective looks into the characters’ psyches through the dream sequences/visions. They didn’t confuse me one bit as they did so many others.

    I knew JL would be lighter in tone, etc., for the past year or so, since the filmmakers have stated that well before the negative backlash of BvS. Having said that, if they’re needing to hurry the lighthearted narrative along for the sake of those who have no sense of patience, fine. As long as they do it well and we all of sudden don’t end up with an action comedy, I’m OK with it.

    My biggest disappointment comes from the moviegoers themselves, who are so caught up with this modern instant gratification mindset, that they can’t just sit back and enjoy a ride for what it is and retain some respectable patience instead of getting online and tagging all of these professionals in what amounts to nothing more than hate mail and temper tantrums as if they’re all a bunch of children.

    *Sigh* Such is the state of mainstream cinema in #2016.

    • Axxell

      Please…You’re the 4th commenter today repeating the canned complaint accusing audiences of wanting “instant gratification”…when it was DC fans who defended them RUSHING the Dark Knight and Death of Superman stories into their second DCCU film, and cramming as many Justice Leaguers as they could short of making people’s head spin. The only hero who got an origin story 3 movies in has been Superman, and only because MoS was retroactively added to the DCCU.

      But noooo! We need to see the DC trinity NOW!…

      • Rob

        Yeah, I never got the intellectual superiority complexes people have over a summer blockbuster movie. When people don’t like a movie they did, it is because they are too stupid, impatient, or whatever and not that the movie might not have been for everyone.

        We are talking about BvS, not Citizen Kane.

        • SAMURAI36

          You mean, the way you like to prattle on about the superiority of Marvel?

          • Rob

            Ummm…. Talk about a red herring. Saying I think Marvel makes better movies than WB/DC is absolutely nothing like saying a movie goer doesn’t like a movie because they need instant gratification and can’t appreciate a movie that doesn’t provide it.

          • SAMURAI36

            None of what you’re saying adds to a hill of beans. You’re so all over the place, it’s not even funny. But good luck with that, you’ll need it.

        • SAMURAI36

          BTW, BVS is not a “summer blockbuster movie”. I’ll leave it to you, to figure out why it’s not.

          • Rob

            It may have been released at the end of March, but it is considered a summer blockbuster. In movies release terms, summer starts long before actual summer.

          • SAMURAI36

            Yeeeahhh, that’s right. Summer starts in the Spring. Perhaps on Mars, where you’re apparently from.

      • rogbngp

        You said “cramming as many Justice Leaguers as they could short of making people’s head spin” This is a laughable exagerration. There were seconds long cameos for the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Best I can see most viewers–even most of BvS’s detractors–seem to have really enjoyed the small introduction of Wonder Woman as one of the highlights of the film. “Dawn of Justice” is in the title for a reason (which you clearly disagree with). As we know, it refers to the formation of the JL trinity, which honestly is half of what this film is about even if it is more subtle than the conflict between Batman and Superman. Here a fight between Batman and Superman simply sets up formation of the trinity.

        Those of us who enjoy BvS (as the ~middle~ film of a ~trilogy~ that tells a larger story resolving with JL) liked seeing the trinity formed at this stage. I’ve really enjoyed the DCEU’s approach thus far. Bats, Supes, and Wondy are hugely familiar characters–unlike the MCU’s characters that comprise the Avengers for the GA when they were introduced. The GA basically had no idea who any of those characters were. (Which is a byproduct of Marvel having sold the rights to their most popular characters to avoid bankruptcy.) Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are waaay more recognizable superheroes. We know who these characters are already. But MoS and BvS are showing us what these archetypes might look like in our present world today if they actually existed–and it is a departure from their more idealized forms from the Silver Age comics which was also the basis of their adaptations to film and TV to date. That is the DCEU experiment in a nutshell. And I love it so far, because it is artistically much more sophisticated than what the MCU does (although I also enjoy the MCU tremendously also for what it is).

        That said, it makes sense for WW to get an origin story. She only just first appeared in a modern blockbuster this year, and we’re not sure yet how her character is being reimagined in this more reality based approach. Younger GA viewers likely never have watched any episodes of the 70s Linda Carter TV series. But because of the nostalgia for that TV series on their parents’ part they’re mostly familiar with her basic concept as an Amazonian. Also a lot of millennials grew up watching Xena: Warrior Princess, and have that as a frame of reference, with its obvious archetypal similarities.

        Anyway, you dislike the DCEU film approach thus far, and that’s fine, that is your taste and your right. But by exactly the same token supporters of the MoS/BvS/JL trilogy will decide what we like, and why, for ourselves.

        • Axxell

          You’re free to like whatever. That’s not the problem. The issue lies in the hypocrisy of pretending the DCCU was intended to be this drawn out story of characters transitioning from joyless, serious characters into optimistic, inspirational ones (it wasn’t; the CEO of WB clearly declared the DCCU’s defining trait was being dark and somber), and then accusing any critics of being impatient, ADHD addled children. Not only is the accusation false, but it is ironic for the reasons I described. I can’t believe so many DC fanboys are seriously accusing DCCU detractors of wanting “instant gratification”, when in reality most people were asking WB to DELAY the Justice League movie until they had developed the characters in their solo movies.

          • rogbngp

            I have no idea what the reality is to be honest. That is, about 1) what Snyder’s plans were when he started the trilogy and designing the entire DCEU master plan (which as we know he is no longer in charge of), or 2) what “most DC fans wanted” as you put it. I can only make my best guesses about those questions. When we’re talking about “what most DC fans wanted” I think that has to differentiate between film fans that don’t all that care about comic books (like me) and therefore may resemble the GA a little more, and hard core comic book fans that typically like for the films to reflect their own personal favorite version of a given character or superhero team. How do we really measure that? As to WB’s intentions, IIRC, prior to the release of BvS Keven Tsujihara said something to the effect that DC intends to be darker themed and more reality based (which is basically also what Snyder, Affleck, and Cavill all said as well in pre-BvS interviews). I think you’re right about that, i.e,, that they had faith that there was a CBM market waiting to be exploited that differentiated itself from the MCU as such, and might well compete with it toe-to-toe. They were wrong–at least with the current execution of the concept–and consequently WB has ‘course corrected’ (in a typical studio overreaction, imo). But even prior to the release of BvS Chris Terrio said in a WSJ interview that BvS was intended to be the darkest of the MoS/BvS/JL trilogy (identifying the saga as a trilogy), similar to the way the The Two Towers was in LoTR. LoTR is not what we would call a ‘happy’ tale, btw. It has a very elegiac ending. But at any rate Terrio did say that JL would be much more upbeat by comparison to BvS and MoS.

          • Axxell

            When you have the CEO and the producer of the entire franchise saying what the tone is gonna be like, what Terrio said doesn’t matter. They were very straightforward about what they wanted the DCCU to be like, so this feigned ignorance by WB apologists is very transparent.

            And it is a well known fact by anyone other than these apologists, that the general audience always wanted WB to take their time developing these characters first before having them join in a team up film, whereas the DC hardcores defended this decision as an attempt by WB to do their own thing. To come back now and accuse the GA of wanting to rush things is really disingenuous.

    • Rob

      Why is it when someone likes a movie that a lot of people hate, they don’t just accept that it may be a flawed movie or just not a movie for everyone and immediately insult the people who didn’t like the movie?

      People didn’t like this movie for a number of reasons, but the lack of instant gratification isn’t one of them. BvS was a movie that served instant gratification on silver platter. You want Batman and Superman to fight? We got it! You want iconic scenes and images from The Dark Knight Returns? We got it? You want a Death of Superman storyline? We got it! You want Wonder Woman? We have her! You want other Justice League members? We got them too.

      This movie tried to accomplish in one movie that Marvel would have done in 3-4.

      • 12stepCornelius

        No movie is perfect. Neither is BvS. But I in no way see it as the absolute train wreck people make it out to be. From a movie standpoint, it’s a solid film, the Ultimate Edition that is. From a comic book movie standpoint, it’s fantastic IMO. People can dislike it all they want. Won’t change the experience I had with it. But when people tell others they are wrong for liking a movie they didn’t, attempting to force them to change their opinion just to follow the herd (as you just did) is extremely deplorable. There’s no superiority complex here. You’re delusional if you believe as much. The instant gratification phenomenon is a real issue amongst the contemporary movie going audience. Look it up.

        • Rob

          First, I still don’t get why people’s need for instant gratification would have been an issue in BvS. If anything, they gave too much instant gratification because they kept on throwing things at the audience. Heck, the Batman vs Superman thing was resolved mid film and everything after that was pretty much a 40 plus minute fight scene. It isn’t like this movie spent the first two hours introducing the history Batman (his backstory was given in a few minute montage at the opening of the film which is the definition of instant gratification) and a lot of long talking scenes setting up all the action to happen at the end of the movie.

          Second, when did I try to force you to follow the herd? I couldn’t care less if you liked or hated the movie. All I did was comment on how you insulted people who didn’t agree with your opinion of this movie. Go ahead and love the movie. I really don’t care,

          Third, your opinion of the movie is your OPINION. It doesn’t make it fact. People love and hate movies for many reasons. It doesn’t make them any more or less mentally capable of digesting a movie. Just because you liked the movie doesn’t make you have more self control and overcome your need for instant gratification than someone who hated the film.

          Fourth, I didn’t like the film because they tried to do too much. I felt the film suffered from too much bloat. Too many subplots, trying to cram in too many characters and iconic comic book moments, scenes there just to set up opportunities for Snyder to film iconic scenes from the comic book (for example, I thought the nuclear bomb scene was totally unnecessary and only there so Snyder could film Superman floating in space post explosion to call back to The Dark Knight returns).

          But this is my opinion and you don’t have to share it with me. I don’t care. But I wasn’t suffering from a need for instant gratification. In fact, I wanted less gratification and a stronger and tighter plot.

          • 12stepCornelius

            Didn’t say you were dude, so quit trying to twist my words into insults. They’re not. I’m just pointing out people who have problems with the characterizations of Superman, Batman, etc., in the movie as just wanting them to be the epitome of the characters’ qualities right off the bat, whereas its obvious they’re taking the characters on a journey to becoming the classic characterizations from the comics: Superman – the boy scout, Batman – The Dark Knight

            The instant gratification bit fits in here.

            Cool, thanks for letting me know you don’t care about my opinions, as if that weren’t obvious already.

            You sit there and say, “Oh you think the movie’s perfect?” Which I didn’t say, and then, “Why can’t you just admit like the rest of us that the movie is heavily flawed and basically sucks.” That’s an attempt at forcing me to change my opinion. Because I didn’t think the movie sucked and I had my own personal and positive experience with it. Get over it.

          • Rob

            First, I never accused you of saying the movie is perfect. In fact, I never commented on your actual opinion of the movie other than it is YOUR OPINION, you are entitled to it, and I really don’t care what it is.

            Second, I never wrote anything close to “Why can’t you just admit like the rest of us that the movie is heavily flawed and basically sucks.” I defy you to provide a direct quote where I wrote anything like that. I believe movies are personal experiences and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But unlike you, I don’t blame the fact people don’t like a movie I like or some deficiency in their ability to watch a movie.

            Third, I don’t know how wanting Superman to be a boy scout and he isn’t portrayed that way in Snyder’s movies as an example of a need for instant gratification unless you know something we don’t and know he will become a boy scout in later films. That has nothing to do with instant gratification otherwise. The need for instant gratification means a movie goer won’t wait an hour of character building and plot set up before they get to the action. I wonder if you understand the definition of instant gratification.

          • 12stepCornelius

            I understand instant gratification perfectly. For instance, I feel instantly gratified by not continuing this roundabout one-sided argument with you lol.

          • Rob

            At least we can agree it was an one sided argument. I would write something, you would ignore what I wrote and make up stuff you thought I said and argue against it. We might have had a decent debate if you actually argued with me and not yourself.

          • 12stepCornelius

            Whatever helps you sleep at night babe 😉

          • Rob

            Still waiting for you to provide me a quote from any of my posts where I told you that you should just be like the rest of us and admit that BvS was heavily flawed and sucks. Apparently, it is hard to get that quote out of your head through your tin foil hat.

          • 12stepCornelius

            “tin foil hat”

            Lol, we’re done here.

          • Rob

            I thought you were done two posts ago. You were done about six posts ago when you decided to ignore what I wrote and just made up stuff to argue against. Still waiting for my quote.

          • 12stepCornelius

            Keep waiting.

          • Rob

            You could just apologize for misquoting me, but you can go in your “I’m taking my ball and going home” route.

          • SAMURAI36

            First, I still don’t get why people’s need for instant gratification would have been an issue in BvS. If anything, they gave too much instant gratification because they kept on throwing things at the audience.

            What “things” did they throw at the audience? The film stuck to the premise of an alien among us, and the ramificiations of his presence, as well as those with similar abilities.

            That’s what they promised, and that’s what they delivered.

            Heck, the Batman vs Superman thing was resolved mid film and everything after that was pretty much a 40 plus minute fight scene.

            And how is that a bad thing, when they spent the first 2 hours developing what you’d call a “tight plot”?

            It isn’t like this movie spent the first two hours introducing the history Batman (his backstory was given in a few minute montage at the opening of the film which is the definition of instant gratification)….

            Ahh, so we needed yet ANOTHER Batman historical journey, because…. Why, exactly? Perhaps for the same reason that Marvel gave us the very same thing for Spiderman? Funny, I didn’t see you complaining about how they “rushed” that though.

            ….and a lot of long talking scenes setting up all the action to happen at the end of the movie.

            LOL, you sound really low-brow with that statement. Those “talking scenes” set up the plot, not only for this film, but for the rest of the DCEU.

            Second, when did I try to force you to follow the herd? I couldn’t care less if you liked or hated the movie. All I did was comment on how you insulted people who didn’t agree with your opinion of this movie. Go ahead and love the movie. I really don’t care,

            You’re lying. You do care. It shouldn’t matter what he thinks, but clearly it does.

            Third, your opinion of the movie is your OPINION. It doesn’t make it fact. People love and hate movies for many reasons. It doesn’t make them any more or less mentally capable of digesting a movie. Just because you liked the movie doesn’t make you have more self control and overcome your need for instant gratification than someone who hated the film.

            The fact that you need to re-iterate this point, shows just how emotionally invested you are in this. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the fact that you are feigning ambivalence is disingenuous.

            Fourth, I didn’t like the film because they tried to do too much. I felt the film suffered from too much bloat. Too many subplots,….

            Haven’t you shared this before? Why do you feel the need to share it again, everytime someone else says they love the movie?

            And exactly how many subplots do you feel like this film had? And how many is a film of this type supposed to have?

            …..trying to cram in too many characters….

            There were 5 main characters in the film. Just FIVE. Compared to Silly War, which had DOZENS of characters, yet you think that was such a great film.

            How dissonant is your cognition?

            …and iconic comic book moments, scenes there just to set up opportunities for Snyder to film iconic scenes from the comic book (for example, I thought the nuclear bomb scene was totally unnecessary and only there so Snyder could film Superman floating in space post explosion to call back to The Dark Knight returns).

            This is a bad thing…. Why, exactly?? Because the dumb scene in Silly War, where Cap and Tony are fighting, and Tony is blasting the shield for no reason at all, aside from the fact that it’s an “iconic moment”, doesn’t seem to bother you that much.

            http://www.media2.hw-static.com/media/2016/05/chris-evans-robert-downey-jr-captain-america-civil-war-marvel-05216.jpg

            VS:

            http://www.moviesoldnew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/8f8f547d9729-600×400.jpg

            This is the cognitive dissonance that I continue to talk about. When one does it, it’s great!! When the other does it, it sucks.

            But this is my opinion and you don’t have to share it with me. I don’t care. But I wasn’t suffering from a need for instant gratification. In fact, I wanted less gratification and a stronger and tighter plot.

            Yes, because “alot of long talking scenes” somehow translates into “instant gratification”. I really don’t think you actually know what that term means.

          • Rob

            LOL! You are too cute. Yes, I am emotionally invested, but not as you think. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone likes a a movie that others don’t and blame the audience for not being smart enough to get it or , in this case, are too needy for instant gratification. It is such a douchey way to look at things.

            As for iconic scenes in the movie, again you missed my point. Yes, Marvel puts iconic comic book scenes in the movie, but they don’t include scenes just to show those images. The image you posted was just one moment in an overall scene and that scene was not set up to show that scene. In BvS, there was no reason to show the nuclear warhead scene. They didn’t need to show Superman was weakened because we already saw that because he was sprayed with Kryptonite mist. It was just there to show a shriveled Superman floating in space from TDKR.

            As for the things they threw at the audience. They kept on throwing more and more action and subplots at the audience. It wasn’t like BvS was a slow burn which would be why people would hate it needing instant gratification.

            My point about the fight scene is that it was over by the third act. People who need instant gratification would love that point, not hate it. They didn’t have to wait until the end of the movie to see it.

            BTW, with your unhealthy, obsessive hate for all things Marvel, you shouldn’t be talking about anyone else being obsessed about anything.

          • SAMURAI36

            LOL! You are too cute. Yes, I am emotionally invested, but not as you think. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone likes a a movie that others don’t and blame the audience for not being smart enough to get it or , in this case, are too needy for instant gratification. It is such a douchey way to look at things.

            Then you are in fact emotionally invested, and precisely in the way I figured you were.

            I love discussing/debating this stuff as much as the next guy, but for you to feel offended because someone doesn’t agree with you, is the pinnacle of immaturity.

            Just sayin’.

            As for iconic scenes in the movie, again you missed my point. Yes, Marvel puts iconic comic book scenes in the movie, but they don’t include scenes just to show those images.The image you posted was just one moment in an overall scene and that scene was not set up to show that scene.

            This is just you being biased. That entire fight between Cap and Tony in Silly War was not only pointless, but was totally untrue to each character’s powersets.

            For one thing, barring the fact that they’d made Cap WAY too powerful in this film (his max strength is only 1200lbs, which, when you consider the fact that Batman’s–as a regular human– max strength is 1000lbs, it really makes the “super soldier serum” seem really impotent, but I digress), it’s totally senseless that he can go toe to toe with Iron Man. This is a man that was seen pushing a bus in the first IM film. Why is Cap punching him silly?

            Also, Tony told Spidey to aim for Cap’s legs earlier in the film (it’s dumb as all h&ll, that everybody always shoots directly at Cap’s shield, when 40% of his body is always exposed), but he falls for the exact same trap of shooting at the shield. Even though part of me gets why that scene is so “iconic”, but OTOH, it’s also DUMB from a tactical perspective.

            Why did he wait till halfway thru the fight, to download Cap’s fighting style? He told Cap back in AOU that “he doesn’t trust anyone without a dark side”, so by that same “logic”, he should’ve already had EVERYONE’s fighting style downloaded, way back in the first Avengers film.

            That fight should NEVER have taken as long as it did. Even without the downloaded advantage, the fight should’ve been over with one punch from Tony. His gauntlet was strong enough to stop a bullet from Bucky at PBR, but it’s not strong enough to knock Cap out with one punch?

            That entire fight was pointless. It was meant to look good, and draw out the story.

            In BvS, there was no reason to show the nuclear warhead scene. They didn’t need to show Superman was weakened because we already saw that because he was sprayed with Kryptonite mist. It was just there to show a shriveled Superman floating in space from TDKR.

            Soooo, he was hit with a nuke. What should have happened next, oh armchair screenwriter? It’s clear that Supes wouldn’t die, as a nuke will weaken him, but not kill him. Should they have just shown hims flying back, healthy as a horse?

            Go ahead, rewrite the story for me. I wanna see where this goes….

            As for the things they threw at the audience. They kept on throwing more and more action and subplots at the audience. It wasn’t like BvS was a slow burn which would be why people would hate it needing instant gratification.

            What “subplots”??? You’re just repeating yourself right now. For someone that’s so emotionally invested in this, you seem incapable of formulating an intellectual argument against it.

            My point about the fight scene is that it was over by the third act. People who need instant gratification would love that point, not hate it. They didn’t have to wait until the end of the movie to see it.

            And that’s precisely what the other guy stated. Just because you have ADHD, a weak bladder, or whatever else that makes you incapable of sitting still thru a long movie, doesn’t make the film bad, by any stretch.

            BTW, with your unhealthy, obsessive hate for all things Marvel, you shouldn’t be talking about anyone else being obsessed about anything.

            LOL, you folks keep trying to throw my dislike for Marvel in my face, as if it’s a disadvantage. It’s not. I’m far more crystal clear about this stuff, than you’ll ever be.

      • SAMURAI36

        You sound so ridiculous. First of all, you (& others) try so desperately to put yourselves in the “majority” category, when it’s clear that you’re not. You’re in the minority, of people who didn’t like SS, BVS, & the DCEU as a who, for that matter.
        And so, what, if Marvel would’ve taken 3-4 movies? They took 3 films to “introduce” Black Widow, & how has that turned out? No movie of her own, & not one on the horizon, either. And her character has been reduced to that of the team hooker.
        Meanwhile, WW got Intro’d in one film, & she’s getting her own film right after.
        Besides, how many films did it take for them to introduce Black Panther? Or Spiderman? So, DC should do exactly what Marvel does, except when Marvel doesn’t do it themselves?
        Yet another fine example of the bias, hypocrisy, & cognitive dissonance that I’ve been talking about.

        • Rob

          First, I never tried to say I was in the majority. No one knows for sure what percentage of the people who saw these movies love, hate, just liked, etc. these movies. One thing is for sure, is that they have gotten below average (for superhero movies) audience scores from Cinemascore, Rotten Tomatoes, etc. and are polarizing movies.

          Second, this Black Widow this is another red herring. She is a supporting character. They didn’t take 3 films to introduce her. She was just a supporting actor in four or five films. She was introduced in Iron Man 2. And not every character needs their own movie.

          Third, comparing Wonder Woman to Black Widow is another red herring. Wonder Woman is arguably the third largest name in the DC universe. She is more on par with Captain America or Thor than Black Widow. The only thing Wonder Woman and Black Widow have in common is that they both pee sitting down.

          Third, although Civil War was a bit overpacked and the Spider-Man scenes were shoehorned in, the overall plot was tight and there weren’t too many subplots. That movie only addressed one comic book storyline unlike BvS. You can hate Marvel movies for whatever reason, but one is not that they have way too many plots and subplots.

          • SAMURAI36

            First, I never tried to say I was in the majority. No one knows for sure what percentage of the people who saw these movies love, hate, just liked, etc. these movies. One thing is for sure, is that they have gotten below average (for superhero movies) audience scores from Cinemascore, Rotten Tomatoes, etc. And they are polarizing movies.

            Ahh, so we’re right back to what these websites say. You really need to come up with a better argument.

            Second, this Black Widow this is another red herring. She is a supporting character. They didn’t take 3 films to introduce her. She was just a supporting actor in four or five films. She was introduced in Iron Man 2. And not every character needs their own movie.

            Since when did BW become a “supporting character”? When did that happen? I coulda sworn she was an actual Avenger. Maria Hill is a supporting character. Agent Coulson is a supporting character. I’d even go as far as to say even Fury is a supporting character.

            But when you’re on the marquis, such as this:

            http://blogs-images.forbes.com/larissafaw/files/2012/04/Marvels-The-Avengers.jpg

            Then you’re definitely a main character.

            Third, comparing Wonder Woman to Black Widow is another red herring. Wonder Woman is arguably the third largest name in the DC universe. She is more on par with Captain America or Thor than Black Widow. The only thing Wonder Woman and Black Widow have in common is that they both pee sitting down.

            LOL, you and these “red herrings”.

            Marvel had the chance to create interest in BW, but we all know that Marvel doesn’t like girls. Remember when their/your boss Perlmutter said that they didn’t want to make a female movie, because “girls don’t sell”?

            Nah, of course you don’t, because folks like you never remember all the bad things Marvel does/says.

            But regardless, by that logic, then Marvel shouldn’t bother with making a female film at all, even with Captain Marvel, because she doesn’t compare to WW either.

            Or better yet, why bother with Ant-Man? He wasn’t popular. Or GOTG, for that matter. Your argument is crumbling all around you.

            Third, although Civil War was a bit overpacked and the Spider-Man scenes were shoehorned in, the overall plot was tight and there weren’t too many subplots. That movie only addressed one comic book storyline unlike BvS. You can hate Marvel movies for whatever reason, but one is not that they have way too many plots and subplots.

            How many “thirds” are you going to list? Whatevs.

            Wait, which story line was that? The one where they shoe horned in that phoned-in romantic relationship that everybody knows is gonna go nowhere? Or perhaps you mean the one where Black Panther story? Or maybe you mean the story about Bucky killing Tony’s parents? Or perhaps it was the abandoned storyline regarding Gen. Ross from 10 movies ago, that they are pretending didn’t happen? Or what about the storyline of Vision trying to be “human”, by sitting around looking/dressing like Bill Cosby?

            Which one of these “tight plots” are you referring to?

  • SAMURAI36

    I signed up for WSJ just for this article (BTW, I hate how they made their articles exclusive). That said, I was disappointed in the poor writing of the article in question.
    It’s clear that the writer was far more concerned with perpetuating the anti-DC narrative that the media has always locked into, than having an actual open dialogue with the people who were the subject of the article.

    Needless to say, i will definitely be canceling my first and only subscription to WSJ. I expected far better.

    • Steve Steve

      You’re just mad that your narrative is being contradicted by this interview.

    • Rob

      Critics are out to get WB/DC. Marvel fans are out to get WB/DC. Anyone who didn’t like BvS and/or Suicide Squad are just Marvel fanboys and are out to get WB/DC. The WSJ is out to get WB/DC.

      Seriously, I am beginning to think you are just trolling people with a faux DC fanboy character.

      • SAMURAI36

        As opposed to you, who trolls with a faux human character?

        Let me know when you have something relevant to say. Or, didn’t I own that &$$ last time, when you ran away from my responses?

      • Carl

        Ha ha ha, loved that!

  • rogbngp

    They just need to find the sweet spot, imho. I love Snyder’s darker edge, although that said I also want to see the arc from MoS and BvS resolve in something a bit more upbeat in JL, with moments of real exuberance. What I do NOT want from the DCEU is something closely resembling Marvel! Marvel already does that–and they do a fantastic job at it. DCEU should not try to ape the MCU. That would be a fatal mistake (and a typical studio overreaction). The DCEU should keep a bit darker tone, but just manage to season it with a wider range of moods.

  • Dan McCarney

    Johns couldn’t have been more clear. In so many words, they’ve been doing it wrong.

  • Axxell

    The box office returns of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and especially Suicide Squad have been excellent by regular movie standards, grossing over $1.5 billion worldwide combined.

    Fixed. There’s already plenty of comic book movies that have reached $1.5B individually by themselves.

    • Jon Negroni

      Not fixed. I chose my words carefully for a reason. “Regular movie standards” is too broad a term and far less useful than defining these movies by their genre and market share.

      And no, most current comic book movies average between $500 and $700 million. No comic book film since Avengers (2012) has hit over $1.5 billion. Some have gone over $1b, like Civil War, Age of Ultron, and Iron Man 3, but most other comic book films like Guardians, Ant-Man, the X-Men movies, even Deadpool, all have grosses far lower.

      So yes, BvS and Suicide Squad did very well by current superhero movie standards. Suicide Squad will probably finish between $800 and $900 million like BvS, though with better returns because it’s performing better domestically. Either way, both films are above the average.

      • Rob

        No way does Suicide Squad finish at $800-900 million. It is currently at $680 million. The summer is over and it has been out for over a month. It should hit the $700 million mark, but has absolutely no chance to make the $800 million mark. No way is this movie going to gross another $120 million at the box office.

        • Jon Negroni

          Suicide Squad could absolutely hit $800 million. Look at the numbers again. Yes, summer is over, but these days that just means SS doesn’t have real blockbuster competition until November. Right now its numbers are tracking with BvS domestically, which managed to pull out more money over April, a school month. If you look at your local theater’s showtimes, you’ll almost undoubtedly see that SS is still getting a lot of play, and that’s because it’s still in over 4000 theaters in the U.S. alone.

          Is it a sure thing? Not necessarily. Guardians was in about the same spot two years ago and only just came short of $800 million. That said, most movies make the bulk of their box office in the first month, so $120 million after $680 million with probably 4-5 more weeks to go is completely plausible.

          • Rob

            You really think Suicide Squad can do another $120 million? Are you crazy?!? No way does it come close to $800 miliion.

            Guardians of the Galaxy did an unprecident amount of money the fall during its run, but from September 9, 2014 until it exited the theaters at the end of October it only grossed about $32 million domestically during that time.

            According to Box Office Mojo, it is only playing on a little under 3,300 screens. It hasn’t been on IMAX forever. And it is now grossing well under a million a day during the week. We will see what it will do on the weekends post Labor Day. But for the long 4 day Labor Day weekend, it only did $12.6 million ($9.8 million over the three day weekend). Those type of numbers pretty much guarantee that this movie won’t hit $800 million.

            And unlike GOTG, Suicide Squad isn’t getting an October China release.

          • Jon Negroni

            It’s seriously not that unlikely, and for the record, SS has pulled in way more than a million per day just domestically. Also, it still has Japanese markets getting their release, and a handful of European markets have only had the film for about a week, which is why I think it can pull in a lot more.

            Again, you could be totally right and the film finishes at around $750m (I’m not saying it’s a sure thing). I’m just speculating on top of a more important point, which is that the film is doing really well against current superhero movie standards.

          • Rob

            If Suicide Squad pulls in $800 million, it will make major industry news because it pulled off the impossible. There is no way it will happen.

            Personally, I don’t know if $750 million is realistic at this point because it is losing steam faster than GOTG did.

            And there are no international market that does remotely that type of business other than China and Suicide Squad isn’t getting released there. Japan is the only country it hasn’t been released in and every other country besides Greece released this movie 3 weeks or longer ago. Japan, I think is the third biggest movie market, but I also think it typically only generates something like 3-5% of a movie like this’ overall revenues. Which means that it might generate $20-35 million. Not nearly enough to get this movie to $800 million.

          • Jon Negroni

            Fair enough, I’m not saying you’re wrong or should be wrong or anything like that. I just have a different interpretation of its trajectory, which so far has made industry news for performing far better than expected.

        • SAMURAI36

          Wow, you sound like you are on your knees praying that it doesn’t.
          FTR, I don’t think it will hot $800M either, but bear in mind, it very well could have, had it opened in China.

        • SAMURAI36

          Also, it’ll likely be at $700M, or very close, by the end of the weekend.
          But the question is, what will YOU do/say, if it does make close to $800M?

          • Rob

            It made $9.8 million last weekend and it was a holiday weekend. I am guessing it will make about $6-7 million this weekend. It is likely to hit $700 million by the end of September. It will never hit $800 million.

            If I am wrong I will admit it. I said before that I thought it would cap out at $600-650 million and obviously I was wrong. Unlike you, I can admit when I am wrong.

      • SAMURAI36

        Nice retort. And BTW, this was a very well written article. You did a far better job presenting a balanced view of the DCEU, than the original writer of the WSJ article did.

        • Jon Negroni

          That’s probably because Ben Fritz typically writes more objective analyst pieces on the box office at large for WSJ. And he almost always weighs his pieces with the pessimistic viewpoint. You can definitely argue that he’s slanted against a film so widely panned by other industry professionals around him.

          • SAMURAI36

            I haven’t read Fritz’s other articles, but this one was enough to make me cancel my sub with WSJ. This was the kind of stuff that I’d expect from the likes of BMD, or even THR. But I expect far superlative writing from publishers like Forbes and WSJ.

    • Darthmanwe

      Uh… Only 2 of them?

  • Matches Malone

    Well written and fair article.

    • SAMURAI36

      Did you read the ENTIRE article from WSJ?

      • Matches Malone

        I in fact did.

        • SAMURAI36

          And which one was the more well written, IYO?

          • Matches Malone

            Kind of a ridiculous question as one was based on an entire interview being done first hand by the author/publication and this was just a re-presentation of a few excerpts to the sites audience.

            Obviously the WSJ piece is better based on being the genesis of the information and speaking to Johns firsthand but this piece was just fine for what it was.

          • SAMURAI36

            Kind of a ridiculous question as one was based on an entire interview being done first hand by the author/publication and this was just a re-presentation of a few excerpts to the sites audience.

            This is faulty logic; one being the derivative of another, does not make the original superior by default. It’s like saying the Model-T Ford is somehow superior over a Lamborghini. Especially considering that all the original article did, was rehash sentiments that have been discussed/covered/reported for months.

            Obviously the WSJ piece is better based on being the genesis of the information and speaking to Johns firsthand but this piece was just fine for what it was.

            Did you just arrive on the internet yesterday? WSJ’s article was by no means the “genesis of the information”. The only thing they provided that was original, was the quotes from Berg and Johns. And even those weren’t completely original.

            All the original WSJ article did, was perpetuate the bias that has already been spread around the internet. The author had the opportunity to do a “Q&A” style article, but instead peppered the anti-DC article with less than half a dozen quotes from the persons in question.

            Not to mention, the article is grossly redundant. For instance, the article opens with:

            “The studio has reworked the 2017-slated “Justice League” in hopes of making it less grim and depressing than March’s “Batman v Superman.” And it has put fan-favorite comic book and TV writer Geoff Johns in a senior position overseeing the next wave of movies, along with veteran production executive Jon Berg.

            Then, after a couple of quotes that seemingly fall out of nowhere, the author continues:

            The shuffle that made DC movies a full-time job for Messrs. Berg and Johns came soon after the public reaction to “Batman v Superman.”

            The article is rife with vitriol and bias. They used the word “negative” 3 times, “disappointment” twice and similarly redundant words and phrases.

            And even the quotes seemingly come out of nowhere, with no context. The author calls it an “interview”, but no Q’s were asked, and if they were, he didn’t print them. He had the opportunity to ask some hard-hitting questions, but instead, he opted for the group-think route.

            This is ambush journalism at its finest (worst). It’s the very reason WB/DC people don’t do alot of interviews.

            But the fact that you liked it, says more about you, than it does about the article.

          • Matches Malone

            I simply read the WSJ’s article as being positive on the DCEU’s future.

            Sorry if you feel that nothing but platitudes are acceptable in discussion of the DCEU films. I liked all three to varying degrees but your zealot like approach to defending the DCEU gives all us DC fans a bad name.

          • SAMURAI36

            So, it’s platitudes, or it’s vitriol? No middle ground? You don’t need to be positive about the future, while being completely negative about the past.

            I like how you didn’t really address any of the things I said though. You made more erroneous statements that the article did, and that’s what gives DC fans a bad name, more than my “zealotry” ever could.

          • SAMURAI36

            Since you & other acted like I didn’t know what I was talking about:
            http://capelesscrusader.org/discourse-dish-justice-league-tone/
            This article highlights the exact same issues with the WSJ article as I did.

  • Darthmanwe

    Anyone with a grain of common sense already knew Justice League would be the “lightest” of DC movies up to that point. Anyone with a grain of common sense, because a little brainpower is enough to figure out that putting characters like Barry Allen and Victor Stone into a movie is nowhere near the ambience as Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent.

    That being said, the question was always “how much lighter” it would be, not if it would be light or dark. I totally believe the critical backlash pushed that “how much” scale a bit on Geoff Johns’ favor, because he had been revitalizing titles in comics left and right by reinventing storylines with a hopeful glimmer.

    He single handedly remade the Flash legacy, making the origin story darker, but the character into a much more likeable, fun loving nerdy nice guy. He did the same to Hal Jordan to some extent.

  • Carl

    This is the important quote;

    “We’re trying to take a really hard look at everything to make sure we stay true to the characters and tell stories that celebrate them.”

    That’s what we’ve wanted from the beginning. Please hold true to this.

  • MaDNaD

    Fan boys are ruining the comic book movie franchise single handedly!

    ‘ ah he’s a crap casting, he hasn’t even got blonde hair’

    ‘ oh when this comic was published in the 60’s this character was white, how can you cast someone of colour’

    Wonder How accomplished film makers like Tarentino and Oliver stone would take to this kind of bullshit!

  • Fr. Ond

    This is like somebody who owes you $90,000 offering 29-cents. “Fewer of Zack Snyder’s ‘controversial flourishes'” is nowhere near good enough. You cannot see ‘good enough’ from there with a telescope. Everything in Snyder’s continuity must go, including his cast. There can be no room for doubt, nothing is built on that foundation. Johns is tragically out of touch if he believes anything based on BvS can be fixed.

    • SAMURAI36

      WTF are you even talking about? Which nurse forgot to give you your meds this morning??