Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t need a subtitle. The movie promised the first onscreen showdown between two of the most recognizable and iconic characters in popular culture, something fans had been wanting to see for years if not decades, which was more than enough to market the project to the masses.
Not only that, but those following the DCEU already knew that Justice League was on the way, and those that didn’t would have discovered it by the time the credits rolled after seeing Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman play a major supporting role and the rest of the team introduced in a series of short clips to hammer home the notion that there was a whole world of superheroes far beyond the confines of Metropolis and Gotham.
It’s hard to imagine that the movie’s box office returns would have been impacted in any way if it was just called Batman v Superman, making the whole Dawn of Justice thing pretty superfluous. Looking at Hollywood’s other marquee comic book universe, you can at least understand why Chris Evans’ debut as Captain America was dubbed The First Avenger, because it would logically increase its appeal to international audiences who would be more interested in seeing the star-spangled blockbuster knowing it was directly connected to the MCU’s upcoming crossover event, but the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight are much bigger names with casual viewers than Steve Rogers.
In a new interview, Batman v Superman writer Chris Terrio revealed that at no stage did he ever call the movie Dawn of Justice, and he admitted it was a tone-deaf decision on the studio’s part.
“I wrote drafts of the Batman/Superman movie, which wasn’t called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by me. I did not name the script. In fact, I found out what the movie was called along with the rest of the world on the internet. I was not consulted on the title of the film, and I was as surprised as anyone. I would not have named it Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I don’t know exactly who named it, but I suspect it was the studio and I suspect it was marketing, to be honest with you. It might have been the first step toward creating ill will for the film. I suspect that putting the words ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’ into the title had some marketing component to it. I heard it and I thought, It just sounds self-important and clueless in a way. Tone-deaf. The intention of the film was to do something interesting and dark and complex, not quite as Las Vegas, bust ’em up, WWE match as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Indeed, the fallout from the SnyderVerse looks to continue on for a while yet, with Terrio the latest name heavily involved in the early years of the DCEU to criticize Warner Bros.’ approach to the property as the revelations just keep on coming.