When Marvel threw a Samuel L. Jackson cameo after the credits of the first Iron Man movie, it was a gamble. With one sentence, the studio put in motion a plan that nobody had ever tried before. They started slowly so that they could pull back if things weren’t working out so they could cut their losses. If it had failed, it’s unlikely anybody but comic book fans would have noticed. Cut to seven years later and the landscape has changed. Large scale movie continuity is not only possible, it’s a gold mine. DC Comics and their parent company Warner Brothers, are ready to go with their own cinematic universe, but rather than a slow build, they’re going for broke with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This is an even bigger gamble, and Ben Affleck knows it.
The man who will be Batman is very aware of the expectations that Warner has for the film. There’s a lot riding on the film’s success and Affleck isn’t afraid to say so.
I think there is a ton of pressure on it. I mean I would be bullshitting you to say there isn’t...If it doesn’t do well, that will be extremely disappointing.
Extremely disappointing may be the understatement of the year. The ongoing franchise has become the golden ticket for film studios, and DC is the best shot Warner Brothers has at success in that arena. We know that it can work, but we’ve only seen that lighting strike once at this point. With only the single sample, it’s difficult to tell what the secret to the success really was. For his part, Affleck doesn’t seem to be worried about failure. On the contrary he comes right out and tells Variety that next year DC is going to have a "great year," but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still risks.
While Marvel built the MCU by giving several characters individual films, with only minor connections at the start, DC is instead usingDawn of Justice to introduce several major characters, who will see their own movies down the road. Suicide Squad is basically done. Wonder Woman just started filming. If the current plan is held to Justice League: Part One will be filming at the same time this movie is released. By the time Batman and Superman take the screen next year, millions will have already been spent on additional films that will all follow directly from this one. If it turns out Batman v. Superman is bad, it will almost certainly have an effect on the success of the future films. It would be awhile before DC would be able to stop the bleeding.
And trying again will be extremely difficult. While rebooting a franchise shortly after its previous conclusion is not unheard of, you can ask The Amazing Spider-Man how well it works. Rebooting one character wouldn’t be too bad, they’re essentially going to be doing that with Green Lantern anyway, but coming out with new characters for all of the major DC staples only a few years from now would be an entirely new gamble that’s never been tried before.