Sunday, October 10, 2010


DC Comics Strives to push forward
According to the, the execs and directors of Warner Brothers [who own DC Comics] are striving to make a leap of faith in the forthcoming years... and this is going to be one hell of a leap...
October 8th, 2010  NEW YORK -- Warner Bros. is likely to release one or two DC Entertainment superhero movies a year to help pick up the slack after the Harry Potter franchise comes to an end, DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns said Friday.

Asked at a crowded session at New York Comic-Con about how many post-Potter DC tentpoles fans should expect, the fanboy-favorite writer said: "You will see at least one, I'd expect two a year."

He didn't mention a specific start time for this release strategy.

Warner executives have previously signalled that the recent DC reorganization will help it better mine the company's catalog of superheroes in the post-Potter age.

Johns on Friday also told the fanboys and fangirls that "Green Lantern" is in post-production, and a trailer for the movie will be part of the upcoming "Harry Potter" release.

Johns, who was warmly and fondly received by the crowd, answered questions without discussing or confirming specific superhero film plans beyond the upcoming June release of "Green Lantern" and announced new Batman and Superman films.

For example, asked if he could confirm that "Green Lantern" is planned as a film trilogy, he replied, "Can't comment."

And asked if he could confirm an expected "Flash" movie that hasn't been formally announced, Johns said he couldn't discuss that. He summarized that "there is a ton of stuff we've talked about," and added
he expects announcements "very, very soon."

All right, Geoff Johns said a whole lot at the convention, but I think he also said too little.
Most of the info that the DC Comics Chief Creative Officer presented was already known. But of course, he's just the mailman for his firm, and we shouldn't shoot the messenger.

So who should we target for the lack of fantastic blockbuster movies based upon DC Comics characters over the past 3 years?
A couple of issues come to mind. Some people are unaware of the effect that the strike instigated by the writers guild over on the West Coast had upon plans for DC Comics to produce a feature film based on the Justice League heroes, a few years ago. The directors were in the process of casting for about 5 to 7 individuals to play the heroes when things literally froze. And the fresh actors tagged for Superman, WonderWoman, Flash etc all had to move on to other dynamic projects, rather than sit and wait for the movie writers to end their strike. Also, with the stretched-out legal wars going on for the Superman character/brand name, Warner Bros have been reluctant to push that project forward hastily [until very recently, as they've now chosen a director for the sequel to Superman Returns]. You can read the article I wrote about this over here: Blog link

A WonderWoman film was also proposed at one point a few years ago, but things fizzled out rapidly like a candle tossed in the snow, based on what could be politely tagged as "creative differences".
Hopefully we'll get into a more detailed discussion about WW and the most recent plans on table for that franchise soon.

Reflections on the Statements from the DC Comics CCO.
During his presentation, Geoff Johns seems to have pointed out the fact that Harry Potter has been the major focus of WB studios. And that's something that we can't really argue with. When a studio rides high on a profitable franchise, they just keep milking that cow for all its worth. Why stop making HP movies when each one brings in over 200 million dollars domestically? And why risk doing a superhero movie in between successful HP releases?

FYI: Back in 1998, author JK Rowling sold the rights to her Harry Potter books to Warner Bros for approximately 1 million pounds [which was approximately 1.9 million dollars]. And the WB have been gaining a LOT of profit from that franchise ever since. I haven't watched all their movies, but I once took a glance at it when the 3rd instalment aired on cable TV. And I quickly realized that it was "a Matrix for little kids" , per the comprehensive nature of the production.

On the other hand, Beyond what a lot of fanboys/girls believe, superhero movies are not always successful ventures. There are a couple of them that have literally struck oil, and others that have bombed [becoming explosive disasters].

Does anyone remember the sci fi film titled Ultraviolet , released in 2006? How about The Spirit , which hit theaters on Christmas day back in 2008?

Neither of those movies did well. 

Ultraviolet starred Mila Jovovich [the main chick in the Resident evil Movies franchises] and it grossed 31 million, earning just 1 million higher than its production budget. I got to see it on Sy Fy Channel, and then I realised that it was just... overdone. The heroine was doing stuff that would best be presented in an epic 3D-animation feature; like riding a motorcycle vertically up the side of a towering office building to escape a combat helicopter, and standing in the center of a gang of 20 black-suited men with handguns drawn at her head on the top of a skyscraper. She survived all those ordeals - and the 20 men surrounding her on the rooftop ended up killing themselves, because she ducked, swerved and dodged ALLLLL their bullets.

And The Spirit just... sucked:

It was based on a comic book by Will Eisner and the directing/screenplay was done by Frank Miller [the guy who produced 300]. It cost about 53 million to make, and ended up grossing 39 million - and that's its world-wide total.
And it was creatively tied to DC Comics...

Events like that present hard lessons to execs and business directors. And Hollywood has realized over the years that not every comic book transitions smoothly into a successful movie.

So exactly what will DC Comics produce in the forthcoming years? A Green Lantern Sequel? A JSA/Justice League feature? Or even a Teen Titans movie? Guess we'll just have to wait and see. And while we wait, Marvel will keep entertaining us with their comic-to-movie features.

I'll leave you with this trailer featuring the DC Universe online video game. If this sort of animated cinematography can be converted into a live action movie, featuring a host of DC comic characters, then Warner Brothers will definitely have a boat-load of profit coming their way...