Last month, when we told you about a meeting between DC Comics and parent company Warner Brothers, we knew that it would be only a matter of time before we got news regarding Warners plans with DC properties. After weeks of rumors, we finally have an idea of what the studio’s is planning to do.
Warner Brothers Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov spoke with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, and revealed some of his plans for his studio and DC Comics adaptations play a big part of it.
The studio has plans to cut down to about 22 films produced each year, but six to eight each year will be big budget “tentpole” pictures, and two of those will be DC Comics adaptations.
Fans of, say, Sugar and Spike or ‘Mazing Man should rejoice, because, according to Robinov, they have been developing every DC Character they own.
This new dedication to the comic book company that was always under their noses is certainly inspired by the success of the recent spate of Marvel Comics movies. But that isn’t all that Marvel inspired in Warners movie output in the years to come.
Comic fans looking forward to Superman vs. Batman or Justice League of America should get used to waiting. Warners is following Marvel’s lead and producing movies focusing on DC’s solo heroes, with the great big team-up movies to come at some later date.
Two projects have been confirm for Warners’ comic movie offering over the next three years: a sequel to The Dark Knight (Naturally. Look for an article on who we think the Bat-villains for that sequel should be in the next week.) and a revamp of the Superman franchise. Apparently, Bryan Singer’s $215 million Superman Returns wasn’t revampy enough:
“Superman [Returns] didn’t quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to,” says Mr. Robinov. “It didn’t position the character the way he needed to be positioned.” “Had Superman worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009,” he adds. “But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all.”
Yeah, I have to say I was disappointed in Superman Returns, but their efforts to rebuilt the franchise was hampered by the $280 million budget run up by numerous failed attempt leading up to it. Maybe this time they’ll nail a concept down before paying people to do it. And maybe I’ll have to owe Mark Millar an apology.
But its not all good news for comic fans. What is the major stylistic choice for Warners’ upcoming comic book movies? Well, let me allow the article to tell you.
Like the recent Batman sequel — which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far — Mr. Robinov wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as “The Dark Knight.” Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.’ DC properties. “We’re going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it,” he says. That goes for the company’s Superman franchise as well.
Yes, of course. The reason why The Dark Knight became the second highest grossing film in history wasn’t because of the great script or the excellent direction or the Oscar-caliber acting. It was because it was “dark”.
This is kind of a daffy attitude to have towards their comic book properties. Not every comic character can hold up well with the “dark” treatment. Superman wouldn’t. Neither would Wonder Woman. Of the DC characters in development, Jonah Hex and the Green Arrow/Supermax movies are the ones that would benefit from the brooding treatment. But who wants to see a dark Flash film? A brooding Green Lantern flick? Not me.
The DC Comic heroes, outside of Batman of course, aren’t know for being all that dark. For that matter, neither are the Marvel heroes. Marvel’s characters are more angsty than dark.
If Warners wants to follow Marvel’s success in comic book movies, they should get solid scripts, top name directors, and talented actors before they even think about tone.