WB Boss Gets Candid About Justice League’s Poor Reception


At the risk of kicking the hornet’s nest, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has outstripped Warner’s superhero efforts in every which way – critically, commercially…you name it.

That’s not to say that the DC Extended Universe is beyond repair – far from it, in fact – simply that it needs to nail down some consistency if it’s to compete with the MCU. So whereas Wonder Woman reached dizzying new heights back in 2017, the likes of Man of SteelSuicide Squad and Justice League all struggled to leave much of a lasting impression, and it’s this lowly performance record that was presented to Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.

And so, after outlining Aquaman‘s raison d’être, the executive circled back to focus on the DCEU’s track record, and attempted to explain why Justice League and its cinematic brethren have missed the mark.

I think the good movies work better. Somebody once said the best business strategy in motion pictures in quality. And I think in a world of Rotten Tomatoes and social media, what’s been proven the better the movie — particularly in the superhero genre — the better it performs. You can’t hide the bacon anymore.

With the exception of Wonder Woman, which is really in a league of its own thanks to that stellar 92 percent score, the only film to break past the halfway mark on Rotten Tomatoes is Man of Steel (55 percent). And while those numbers don’t exactly inspire confidence in the DCEU’s offerings, further in the interview, Emmerich called for caution, stating:

I would say no matter what, the better the movie is the more advantage it is. Now when you’re talking about art, I do believe that it’s tough to judge art at the moment when its presented to the world. My father was very involved in the arts, he was always taking me to museums and galleries and historical buildings. He believed any kind of art — whether it’s fashion or sculpture or architecture or filmmaking or music — it takes 20 years to judge the quality of something. Twenty years after Sgt. Pepper or Born to Run comes out, then you can understand what that album was.

Aquaman EW

He continued:

I guess when I say ‘quality’, I don’t want to judge anybody’s movies completely at the moment of release. But I would say there are movies that are right for their time, that an audience is ready for, that’s in sync with the zeitgeist, and I think you need a movie whose quality is recognized at the moment of release so it’s in touch with the culture of the moment. We’re at a unique moment around the planet and certain types of movies are working better than others at this moment of time. And I do think Aquaman will sync up with the global culture zeitgeist of what’s happening right now.

Next up for the DCEU is the launch of Aquaman on December 21st, before Warner Bros. serves up the one-two punch of Shazam! and the in-development Wonder Woman 1984 next year.

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