Batman V Superman: Why DC's Movie Universe May Be In Trouble

If you needed any proof of how excited people are for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the response to the final trailer that dropped the other day should drive that point home. People got rather psyched, and with good reason—that early sequence where Bats thrashes all those dudes in the warehouse is awesome. It’s likely going to make a ton of money, but according to a new rumor, things might not be all sunshine and lollipops behind the scenes for DC and Warner Bros., and there might be some big changes to DC’s cinematic slate in store.

This is, of course, unsubstantiated rumor from unnamed sources, and you should treat it as such, but it’s an interesting proposition to consider.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is a mouthful of a title, is intended to be the jumping off point for the DC Extended Universe, and lead to the Justice League movies down the road. Not only are the Dark Knight and Man of Steel in this movie, but Wonder Woman plays a substantial role, and we’ve heard that we’ll see Aquaman, the Flash, and others show up in at least some capacity. That’s all well and good, but according to Drew McWeeny at HitFix, and his sources, now that people are finally getting a look at BvS, the reaction hasn’t been quite what the studio hoped and could have a huge impact on DC/WB’s plan moving forward. He said:

My guess is what’s going to happen is based on what I’m hearing…is Justice League is going to get moved back and that Ben Affleck Batman movie, that’s what’s going to end up in that spot. My guess is they’re going to throw whatever money it takes at Ben Affleck to make that Batman film happen sooner rather than later. They’re going to need to rebuild again, they’re going to need to win people over, they’re going to need to lay some different groundwork. I don’t think this is going to be the springboard into the Justice League that they wanted it to be.

He goes on to say that, according to people who have seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the two standouts are Ben Affleck as Batman, who is good, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, who is reportedly "great." Batman has proven, repeatedly, that he’s one of the most popular superheroes in the world—both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises earned more than $1 billion—and if they do require a new blueprint, he’s a reliable base to build upon.

If this pans out, it would represent a titanic shift in DC’s release strategy. McWeeny thinks that both Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman will go off as scheduled. That makes sense since one is finished filming and will hit theaters in a few months, and the other is already in production. He does say elsewhere, however, that he’ll be surprised if Justice League: Part One will begin production when the studio says.

There aren’t any specifics revealed, but it sounds like the studio may not be entirely happy with what’s on film. The latest trailer is super Batman heavy, but earlier ones spent more time with Superman, so I just figured it was the Caped Crusader’s turn. Zack Snyder has been a big part of the architecture of the DCEU thus far, but it also sounds like there may be some issue with the work he’s done, especially if there’s talk that he won’t direct Justice League: Part One, like he’s currently slated to do. And when the report says Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice needs to make a billion dollars for people to keep their jobs, that’s daunting.

Then again, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice could very well top the $1 billion mark. A lot of this is, of course, dependent on how the audience responds. There isn’t much a movie studio won’t forgive in the wake of a massive blockbuster. And like I said, this is all unofficial scuttlebutt, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

We’ll get to see the movie and judge for ourselves in short order as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters March 25.

Brent McKnight