It seems, with increasing certainty, that Warner Bros has a devil may care attitude when it comes to making superhero movies, emboldened by the fact these properties are too big to fail, that fans are going to see them no matter how good or bad they are. If a succession of critically flawed movies wasn’t proof enough, there may some actual evidence of this thanks to an off the record Hollywood dinner where execs were heard talking Ben Afflecks’s solo Batman movie, what a mess it is, and how they blatantly don’t care.
Recently, The Ringer published a piece called “Movies Aren’t Dead, but They’ll Never Be the Same” about the current state of the movie industry. In it, American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis revealed that, according to some executives he’s talked to, The Batman script currently has some major issues, to whit, no one at Warner Bros seems too concerned about.
“[They] were just telling me that there are serious problems with the script. And that the executives I was having dinner with were complaining about people who work on the Batman movie. And they just said they went to the studio and they said, ‘Look, the script is … Here’s 30 things that are wrong with it that we can fix.’ And [the executives] said, ‘We don’t care. We don’t really care. The amount of money we’re going to make globally, I mean 70 percent of our audience is not going to be seeing this in English. And it doesn’t really matter, these things that you’re bringing up about the flaws of the script.’ So I do think global concerns play a big part in how movies, and what movies, are being made, obviously.”
Keep in mind before reacting, this information has, of course, come from an unexpected source – one that cannot be verified at this time. Add to that, Warner Bros has offered no commentary in response. Also, it’s important to remember, this movie is being not only directed by Ben Affleck but he’s also penning the script. Affleck himself has said he’s feverishly working on the script and that it won’t get made until it’s right. Give the guy some credit, he’s won an Oscar for screenwriting, as well as Best Picture for ARGO. So it’s tough to determine the timeline of this supposed meeting, whether these “problems” were before Affleck or current, if they the meeting happened at all.
The solo Batman movie is, theoretically, in good hands with Affleck. However, that doesn’t change the apparent systemic issue from the Studio.
When reflecting on Batman V Superman, the conversation is always met with opposing opinions – both bitter and sweet. The bitter, being those who found the film’s story being most haphazard, along with the irrevocable treatment of the film’s titular heroes – specifically being just how fundamentally off-center Batman and Superman are from the very ideology that defines them (IE Batman doesn’t kill and Superman is supposed to be a symbol of hope, caring more for people than he does himself). The sweet, are the from the more forgiving fans. The people who were taken by the action scenes, the splashy cinematics, and just awed at the sheer fact these characters are on screen in the first place. Whatever side of the argument fans are finding themselves in, most can agree the film could have been much better.
Now, here’s the thing. Warner Bros didn’t just under deliver that one time and plan to get it right the next go around. The very same thing just happened with the release of Suicide Squad. While that film actually performed better at the Box office than Batman V Superman, it was met with almost the same divisions of criticism – coming under the annihilation of annotators for being, what can only be described as a “cobbled together music video”, whilst at the same time, completely winning over an entire subgroup (a large one) of fans who loved it. Fans who were taken by the action, bought the totally bitchin’ soundtrack and fantasized about having the kind of relationship The Joker and Harley Quinn had.
So… that’s two very clear examples (and the same by way could be said about Man of Steel) that Warner Bros put out movies made, seemingly, for money not for merit. This coming off a recent incident where an alleged former employee at the Warner Br released an open letter to studio head Kevin Tsujihara, accusing him of recklessly steering the movie studio directly into oncoming icebergs (READ HERE)
Add, a top of that, if this dinner meeting between some Hollywood producers is to believed, the intentional recklessness will continue. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. It just proves (totally sounding like a Marvel fanboy in 3…2..1) why Marvel/Disney generally does it better. Their movies are held to a higher standard because Disney holds themselves to a higher standard
UPDATE! Bret Easton has come out clarifying his comments from his Interview with The Ringer. It calls attention to some misinformation and how the Internet turned it into something it wasn’t. What he doesn’t do, however, is correct Batman script being a mess. here’s what he had to say:
“During a long interview with The Ringer’s Sean Fennessey we talked about reasons why studio movies are so bad now and touched on the global needs of the marketplace. I told him something I had heard about the new Batman movie as an example of what might be the problem: I was talking with two executives who have NOTHING to do with the Batman movie and who KNEW people who were involved with the production. The two executives I was having dinner with were relating the problems they had heard about the script from people working on the Batman project–that’s all. I know no one involved with the Batman movie and I didn’t realize that my comments would make it into The Ringer piece or else I wouldn’t have cited that particular movie–I have no idea what the Batman script is like and I regret that it came off as if I was disparaging the project. Another reason to be careful giving interviews.”