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Jul 12, 2012

Is Greed Good?: Marvel’s MO, DC’s Justice League: Strategies and Money

Justice League

DC Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment are two companies at the forefront of high-end box office success due to their plethora of indelible characters given life in the colorful pages of comic books. In recent years, Marvel Entertainment has far exceeded the success of DC Entertainment by getting its films written, made, starring A-listers, and into the hands of fans, all while interconnecting them in the same universe.

This success and the modus operandi employed has not been lost on DC Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. With the uber amount of cash The Avengers has brought in, a Justice League film has been pushed forward and green-lit. Here is the problem with that: its been pushed forward because it can earn money based on what The Avengers brought in, not because there is a long-term plan ending in a Justice League movie (what Marvel did with The Avengers). Greed is the Justice League film’s precipitating factor, not the fact they have a great script for the film and want to get it on screen as quickly as possible.

If The Avengers had tanked or been a ok success, there would be no Justice League movie on the slate right now nor would there be a feeding frenzy to get Marvel sequels (Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, Thor 2) made (in addition to Guardians of the Galaxy making its debut) and other comic book films developed.

DC Entertainment has The Dark Knight Rises about to enter theaters but then that is it for Batman on screen for a long time. No one will be interested in seeing a new incarnation of Batman or The Joker for the immediate future, say ten years or so. “[Christopher Nolan] also doesn’t plan to produce [the Warner Bros. film group President Jeff Robinov]‘s hoped-for Batman reboot” or even touch Justice League in any way, shape, or form.

A Justice League photo:

Justice League

Justice League

After The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel land,

According to sources, [they]’ll likely be the only DC movie[s] for upwards of three years as the company tries to line everything up. Warner Bros. film group President Jeff Robinov revealed, “”My hope is that over the next month or so we’ll be ready to lay out the plan for the next DC movies” and they’re already doing that in video games, comics and more.

DC Entertainment is not down-trodden however. Believe it or not, DC Entertainment is theoretically in a better position than Marvel Entertainment is.

DC has struggled to find the same success on the big screen as its Walt Disney Co.-owned rival Marvel Entertainment — despite having a better known collection of characters.

That collection of better known characters is still within DC Entertainment’s hands. Most of the success Marvel Entertainment has enjoyed has been at the hands of second-tier characters and story arcs. They sold off the rights to many of their top-tier properties (Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.) to companies like 20th Century Fox before Iron Man and the idea for an Avengers movie was sparked.

Speaking of Fantastic Four, a reboot has just been green-lit with Chronicle‘s director Josh Trank at the helm. The Fantastic Four will hit screens for Fox after The Wolverine and X-Men: First Class 2 are released in theaters. A Daredevil reboot is also in the works at Fox.

Hopefully they will be brought to the screen in the right incarnation and not like DC’s film version of Green Lantern and the recent TV version of Wonder Woman. DC Entertainment’s Green Lantern sucked (Green Lantern (2011): 8 Reasons Why this Superhero Movie Failed) and the new Wonder Woman  TV show (TV Review: Wonder Woman (2011), Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot) was a cheesey joke.

Nolan’s Batman movies have been [DC Entertainment's] only hits of the past decade, surrounded by modest flops such as 2006′s “Superman Returns” and 2009′s “Watchmen” and such major money-losers as 2010′s”Jonah Hex” and last year’s “Green Lantern.”

Perhaps the small screen is where DC Entertainment will begin to see success again. The new Arrow TV show looks better (Arrow TV Show Trailer 2) than Green Lantern and Wonder Woman combined. That small spark may start a fire, helping DC Entertainment to RISE. We will have to wait and see. Let’s hope DC Entertainment’s thirst for a $1.5 billion grossing superhero team movie does not cost the Warner Bros. appendage its integrity, its investment in the film, and most importantly, the movie going public’s time.

What are you thoughts on the upcoming Justice League film, DC Entertainment, and the slate of comic-book-to-film movies in the works?

Source: Slashfilm, Latimes

  • antonio dueñas

    Well,Dc has not done any movie in a while,so I don’t think they are “struggling”.And not all Marvel movies are sucsessful:Hulk,anyone?

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    “Dc has not done any movie in a while”
    Exactly.

    “And not all Marvel movies are sucsessful:Hulk,anyone?”
    I never said all Marvel films were successful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1527211672 Charles Storey

    MOST of them are successful. While most of DC’s is not. That’s the facts , my friend. Dc is in deep troubles and they know it.

  • antonio dueñas

    What superheroe movies has DC done,apart from Superman and Batman?

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    They can’t get good scripts together for their other properties. That is why after of Man of Steel, we won’t see a DC movie in theaters for some time.

  • antonio dueñas

    Well,it’s true Green Lantern was no wonder,but I think Justice League is the perfect one to change this trend.Maybe to copy Marvel’s strategy of making the individual movies to get ready for the group movie is not suitable for DC.Perhaps they should make the JL film and later make movies of the characters that people liked more.And by doing so,we could even get a decent Wonder Woman…

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    Green Lantern sucked. The best part of that film were the no human moments at the beginning of the film.

    If DC truly want to make a great JL movie, they should follow all of the MArvel formula, not part of it. They can’t get the other movies going, which is why they are going directly to the JL movie, for the quick cash in.

    If they had a long term plan, JL would be at the end of it, not at the beginning.

    They then expect people to seat through origin films (most-likely) for the characters in JL after watching JL. Their strategy is backwards.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    They need help and time. They should not rush into a JL movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/notldr Notld Reanimated

    DC should embrace it’s past incarnations including the bad ones.Crisis
    on Infinite Screens. Who wouldn’t pay $10 to see Adam West, Linda
    Carter, etc as Earth 2 Heroes? They could test run a few different
    approaches to the Justice League and link it back to their old catalog.
    Then gauge fan response and cherry pick the best incarnation from each set.

    Once they have a successful set of heroes, that movie can serve as a
    gateway for younger viewers to go back and watch the older series on
    home video.

    Marvel is known for patching and changing things as they go. For the
    last few decades, DC’s style has been to have an event where something
    restructures the multiverse itself then they cherry pick whatever
    details they like from the varied incarnations of a given character.

    Marvel has the Marvel method. DC has something else Marvel doesn’t
    have… nearly every past incarnation of their characters within their
    catalog. This may seem like a small thing but if they embrace their
    history… and I’m including not only their successes and failures…
    but also the unaired pilots and productions which were announced ( some
    times even went into production ) and then were cancelled. Embrace it
    all. Then dump all of that unairred and unused material ( scripts,
    designs, etc ) onto the release as bonus features and supplemental. Cash
    in on the flaws… accept that they have the most history… and then
    after that event they’ll have a team cherry picked from the varied teams
    they beta tested in that Crisis movie.

    Think that’s a little too fan-boy centric? Consider this… how many
    people would pay to see Adam West’s Batman *POW* Christopher Bale’s
    Batman in the face then Bale’s Batman through West’s Batman off a
    building only to have him saved by Keaton’s Batman? We’d all be rooting
    for ‘our’ Batman. That’s a good segway for parents to mention the old
    shows/ movies to their kids, swing by Walmart, and pick up the dvds. It
    may not be a smash at the box office but it would consolidate the film/
    tv universe, simultaneously screen test + beta test a number different
    takes on the Justice League characters, and it would push the archive.

    DC isn’t Marvel. DC is DC. DC has always embraced the confusion and
    turned it into an event. They then write their way out of it by
    restarting with characters that draw the best from each past
    manifestation. That’s their signature. That’s what they should bring to
    screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jae.chang.9 Jae Chang

    In all honesty I do not have high expectations for Justice League, given DC’s track excluding Batman (aside from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin).. I’m already on the fence for Man of Steel, solely based on how they’re going try using Nolan’s formula. How do you create a dark gritty background for a character who is clearly opposite of it. Sure Pa Kent dies and that’s about it for darkness, and even then Pa Kent wasn’t murdered.. he had a heart attack…(originally..I haven’t read anything new from the DC universe). With that said I do still plan on watching the hell out of it because I’ve always been a Superman fan and need to wipe Superman Returns out of my memory.

    If they really are making this movie for the money then I think that says everything about it right there. It’s aggravating how much money gets poured into shit films. We’re paying something like $15 to watch whatever trash product that comes out. I wish Hollywood would just put forth the effort and make a decent, watchable movie…in other words, do your fucking job and entertain us. Give us a reason to pay for your overpriced shit storm excuse of a story.

    On a side note… I wish there was some way that Sony and Fox could lose the rights to their marvel characters… I want to see the Marvel Civil War movie! ;-D… I know I know don’t hold my breath.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jae.chang.9 Jae Chang

    Which Hulk are we referring to? I personally thought the Edward Norton version was great, if nothing else it at least redeemed the characters name from the Ang Lee story with Eric Bana.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    I thought Norton’s Hulk was good as well but the CGI battle at the end was corny.

  • antonio dueñas

    The problem is that they don’t have time.Besdes,Nolan said that his version of Batman is not part of any universe.So,they should make another reboot.Even if Man of Steel succedeed and they could make a good Green Lantern sequel,there will be only three franquises.Don’t know if Wonder Woman or Flash could be done.If they want to take profit of the good moment of superheroe movies,they must make a JL movie soon.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    Why don’t they have the time? There is no clock ticking.

    No one wants to see another Batman reboot right now. TDKR has not even premiered yet.

    “If they want to take profit of the good moment of superheroe movies,they must make a JL movie soon.”

    Just because The Avengers was a success is no reason for them to rush a JL movie. That makes no sense.

    Now they know that a superhero team movie can succeed. Good but they are now trying to cash in on what they do not have. They do not have the structure, momentum, or the fan base that Marvel had going into The Avengers.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    I will be seeing Man of Steel in theaters as well, just because Nolan is involved.

    “need to wipe Superman Returns out of my memory.”
    Lol.

    “It’s aggravating how much money gets poured into shit films. We’re paying something like $15 to watch whatever trash product that comes out.”
    I am real selective about what I see in theaters now at the $11-$15 price point. I Redbox at $1.25 per film.

    “I wish there was some way that Sony and Fox could lose the rights to their marvel characters”
    They are not giving up their rights after what The Avengers did in theaters. Fugettaboutit.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    Creative idea but it will never happen. Hollywood is risk-adverse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jae.chang.9 Jae Chang

    Yea I do have a lot of faith in Nolan. If nothing else I think I’ll finally get my “Superman” movie, not “Clark Kent: The Home wrecker that is Superman”.

    I know those rights will never shift. I’m just unhappy about Fox and X=Men. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed First Class but through all the X-men installments (including Wolverine) that entire world/timeline is beyond repair aside from another reboot (ugh). I don’t know if you’re a comic fan bur it seems th… know what I’ll stop there otherwise I’m going to go off on another tangent. ;-)

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    They did screw up the timeline between films. Nothing fits. The whole thing rebooted with a clear plan would be great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/notldr Notld Reanimated

    But where’s the risk? Give 1 ballet with each ticket. There will be actors campaigning and fans dragging people into to the theater to ensure their favorite version is cast. Put up a hotline and have people pay per call. Put additional ballets in the DVD cases of it and the archive titles. There are so many ways that they could make their money back before they even make the movie.

    Hell, why not embrace the modern technology and crowd source the whole thing:
    Which of these actors would you like to see screen tested?
    Which of these screen tests was the best?
    Which of these costumes designs is best?
    Which villain should they face?
    Which of these actors would you like to see screen tested?

    Cast your opinion for only 98 cents per vote or you can get free votes by preforming one of these tasks (sign up for netflix 10 votes, digital subscription to your favorite DC Comics Title 5 votes per subscription, rent one of these movies from amazon prime 2 votes per movie, spend $50 or more at the Warner Store 20 votes… )

    Casting, Costume, Funding…. if they did it right they could make their money before the movie is even out of production. That should help keep the studio’s fingers out of the pot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ej.liwag Ej Liwag

    one thing i want to see in Superman is how exactly he is battling power. for one, he can do anything and nobody can stop him. how he controls or battles himself on not killing anyone. and when the time arrives, how he will choose that sometimes, a darkness must be done to save everybody.

    going to Justice League, they could begin JL with Superman and the others being recruited….. By BATMAN. this could be a new Batman with Superpowered enemies. But it must be that this Batman must be in JL as an established character. he recruits other supes because he saw something fell from the sky that he needs assistance, one would be Martian Manhunter the other could be related to the new gods/dark seid.

    then some basic flashback on batsies etc etc movie closes then BATMAN gets the movie. he starts as BATMAN not as bruce wayne. Like BURTON’s batman, we only get a flashback of who he is not a real reintroduction. Like Del Toro’s Blade, he is already out there fighting crime and gets a peek on his past only.

    well, that’s how i see it. DC can hire me if they see it working :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/ej.liwag Ej Liwag

    First Class could be their reboot since it somehow strayed on how Xavier loss his lower movement etc

  • http://www.facebook.com/ej.liwag Ej Liwag

    saw the movie

    there can be a reboot OR NO REBOOT
    seriously

    watch the movie and you’d think HIDEO KOJIMA was pulled on us all
    if you know what that statement means
    good for you

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    Those deals do expire eventually. They have a lot on their plate untill then anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    And it took up a third of the movie. Marvel keeps casting a doppleganger of the hero as the villain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jae.chang.9 Jae Chang

    For the sake of over analyzing fictitious characters it’s not in Batmans personality or even agenda to try and start a team like that. Maybe Superman? but as you mentioned he can do anything and everything so why would he? Speaking from what I understand to be cannon, it was J’onn Martian Manhunter who started the JLA but i don’t think he has a big enough following to warrant a movie and if he did get his own feature film i can see it going very south. So in terms of publicly known characters it would make the most sense for Superman.
    I certainly don’t think this should be made using the reverse formula of Marvel’s Avengers. I would suggest do what they did. Sure DC may get some flack about using someone elses thought process but at least it’ll work. Besides we’re already poking fun at the fact that DC is only pumping this idea because of The Avengers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jae.chang.9 Jae Chang

    sure, as you mentioned, eventually but there is no way Fox and Hugh Jackman are going to let that happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jae.chang.9 Jae Chang

    It could be, sure. But they’ve tagged it as the prequel to the already set installments. Which apparently they’re creating a sequel to First Class now? I cringe cause there is no way an accurate X-Men story will ever be told…. Marvel and/or Disney should just raid Fox

  • http://twitter.com/gevalher gevalher

    If I were them (DC Entertainment), I would put a few TV series with the “minor characters” (Green Arrow, Black Canary, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, etc.) while we develop the big stars in their own movies with plenty of references between them (the movies and the TV series) that way the road would be paved to a more well developed and fantastic Justice League film…
    To push a JL movie without develop its main and second characters is just a waste of time and money and worse to erode the image of their properties…

  • Adrian Khan (The Soca Warrior)

    The reason BAtman succeeded and Superman can’t is because his nemesis have real identites.Only so many times Superman can face Lex Luthor before it get’s old.

  • John Taylor

    After that total botch job of a Superman film – M.O.S., I maintain that all superhero movies should be full length, animated feature films. Get the characters as we know them from the source material.