As we were just mentioning this afternoon, “Green Lantern” is a huge blemish and disappointment for Warner Bros. Launched just as WB were putting the finishing touches on their super lucrative “Harry Potter” series ($7.7 billion worldwide), the studio was hoping “Green Lantern” would be the beginning of a chapter in leveraging DC Comics super hero properties in the manner their competition (Marvel Studios) had already been successfully doing and beyond the likes of flagship characters like Batman and Superman. In fact, “Green Lantern” was very much akin to “Iron Man.” A B-level character far from a household name, Marvel did the unthinkable, and remade the character into their A-list star property. Utilizing a similar, humor-filled approach, not so dark and brooding as Christopher Nolan‘s “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Green Lantern” seemed to take some of its basic cues from “Iron Man,” only missing all marks by miles.
The film was rumored to cost around the $325 million mark (minus P&A domestically and internationally), and its net loss was $105 million making it one of the biggest box-office flops of all time (and certainly one of the biggest in 2011). Not only a creative and financial embarrassment, the series was a blackeye that totally derailed Warner Bros.’ “Beyond The Dark Knight” phase 1 plan.
We’ve already heard that Warner Bros. has considered scrapping the already-written “Green Lantern 2” sequel and starting over from scratch, and it appears they’re serious about a total overhaul. In a Variety piece about this very subject—WB’s next phase and plan to exploit the DC Comics properties they own—the trade says the studio is still “figuring out whether to bring back Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern in a sequel to last year’s actioner or relaunch the character in a completely new way.” For Reynolds, who had a disastrous 2011 in his attempt to be a leading man, this is pretty grim news.
While this news is probably not an outright shock, it’s certainly the first time it’s been reported that WB has considered dropping the star and completely wiping the slate clean. As noted, Warner Bros. recently hired Micheal Goldenberg (ironically one of the writers on “Green Lantern”) to write a new “Wonder Woman” script and revealed that “Gangster Squad” scribe Will Beall had been working on a “Justice League” script for over a year now. The gears are certainly turning a little bit faster than they have been now that the uber-successful Marvel tentpole “The Avengers” has surely been a sore spot over on the competitive WB lot.
It’s interesting to note the emphasis Variety places on Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan, pointing out that the celebrated director does not have a deal at the studio, but clearly his touch with “The Dark Knight” series has not gone unrecognized at Warners, evinced when the studio hired him to godfather in the new iteration of “Superman.” Variety says that Warner Bros. isn’t expected to make any concrete moves on the DC film front until after “The Dark Knight Rises” opens at the end of July, but one has to wonder if they’re going to give Nolan—or some kind of Joss Whedon auteur that they trust—a role where he helps godfather in the next wave of heroes on the horizon, such as long-in-development, “The Flash,” Wonder Woman, “Green Arrow” and more. However, with WB clearly so enamored and impressed with what Joss Whedon accomplished over at Marvel, you’d think they’d at least dust off that old “Wonder Woman” script the man wrote for Joel Silver and WB a half decade ago.