We’re just over a month away from the release of "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice," and if you were to look over at Warner Bros.‘ rivals Marvel, this is usually the point in their marketing campaigns where the fans are already totally onboard, and the extra advertising push is there to stoke that anticipation further, ensuring the excitement starts really resonating with more casual moviegoers as well. But things couldn’t be more different for Warner Bros. After three trailers for ‘Batman v Superman,’ there are generally still plenty of mixed feelings about what Zack Snyder has cooked up for the movie, and in recent days, rumors have started floating that the studio has serious concerns about the picture and how it will perform.
Hitfix‘s Drew McWeeny really got the chatter going recently when he shared some of the word that he had been hearing that ‘Batman v Superman’ was not the slam dunk Warner Bros. had hoped, and he predicted that the studio might even change up their slate of DC Films as a result. Here’s an excerpt of what he said:
"Warner is a little bit worried. This movie is starting to scare them. It’s scaring them because they’re showing it to people now, people are actually laying eyes on the film now, and the response has not been what I think they wanted. If I were going to lay a bat on how it may happen, ‘Suicide Squad,’ they’ll go all-in on. They’ll push all their chips in on that and I think ‘Suicide Squad”s going to be a hit for them. I think ‘Wonder Woman’ will be finished the way they’re working on it right now and they’ll release it. I would be surprised if ‘Justice League’ starts shooting when they say it’s going to, and I would be equally surprised if Zack Snyder directed it.
"My guess is what’s going to happen is based on what I’m hearing…I’ve talked to enough people who have seen the film now that I’m starting to sweat a little, 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."
Again, this is conjecture at this point, and Latino Review is taking a slightly different angle on McWeeny’s report that WB is "worried" by saying the studio is "nervous." According to their intel, the budget on Zack Snyder’s film is now around $400 million including marketing, which means it needs to make about $1 billion to be considered a success (both "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises" managed to hit that benchmark, but "Man Of Steel" didn’t). Moreover, the bigger concern is that movie is apparently more "polarizing" than "Man Of Steel" was, though in what way isn’t exactly clear.
Needless to say, this is not the kind of talk Warner Bros. wants floating before their film opens, and it’ll be interesting to see how things play out in the weeks ahead. For now, the cast members are sticking to their talking points. Ben Affleck recently hit "Good Morning, America" and declared “I really care about it and I want it to do well. I got to work with some really talented people and I’m really proud of what we were able to do.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with Playboy, Jesse Eisenberg said his villain "is in line with what audiences want to see now, which is a more modern, psychologically realistic concept of Lex Luthor. His motivations are multifaceted; he has a way of using language that’s specific to the way his mind works; he struggles with interesting philosophical dilemmas like that of the individual having too much power, even if that individual is using that power for good. For instance, Superman has so far been using his powers to do some good, but is it safe to have someone like that walking the streets? It’s great that all of this happens in the context of a very exciting superhero movie.”
Will WB still aim to start shooting "Justice League" in April? Can they turn around the narrative on ‘Batman v Superman’? It will be fascinating to watch unfold, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with the movie, and audiences will have their say on March 25th.