Day by day, Entertainment Weekly has peeled back the many layers of Aquaman to reveal a bold and brash standalone movie that’s best described as a “sci-fi fantasy film” that just so happens to inhabit the DC Extended Universe.
But whereas previous installments in Warner’s superhero franchise have been smothered by darkness and po-faced humor, Aquaman is seemingly much lighter in tone. And that seismic shift is something Warner Bros. film chairman Toby Emmerich acknowledged during a recent chat with Entertainment Weekly.
The executive was also quizzed about Justice League‘s failings, and why it’s now all the more important that Aquaman succeeds and helps course-correct the fledgling DCEU.
It’s important. It’s important that it works. I think everybody really worked very hard to make a really good movie. It’s an expensive movie. We believe this movie can work and we’re going to do everything we can as a company — distribution, marketing everything — to make sure it’s successful around the world
Despite a global haul in excess of $650 million, critics didn’t take too kindly to Justice League, and the movie’s less-than-stellar performance prompted a pretty major shake-up at Warner Bros. and DC Films, with Walter Hamada coming in as the latter’s newfound president.
But when Toby Emmerich was asked to elaborate on those backroom changes, the executive kept the focus solely on Aquaman, which he describes as a “bridge movie” in that it connects to the wider DC movie universe while still being its own separate beast.
I want to focus on Aquaman. Aquaman is a bit of a bridge movie yet there is still the connective tissue to the DC movies. But just like how [director Patty Jenkins] brought her own sensibility to Wonder Woman — yet it was very connected [to Justice League] — that movie was very much a Patty Jenkins movie this is very much a James Wan movie.
Plus, the fact that Aquaman was already in development by the time Justice League flopped meant that James Wan’s decision to lighten things up was his way of staying true to the character, rather than being a knee-jerk reaction to the DCEU’s biggest dud.
If you spend time with James and [Aquaman star Jason Momoa], they brought themselves to the party. They very instinctively were who they were when making this movie. And that comes through in the tone of this movie. But I don’t think it was a reaction to what had come before. I think it was them being true to themselves. … I’ll tell you this: I have two girls, 10 and 14, and they’re so quick to tell me what movies are going to bomb — my movies, other people’s movies…
But what say you? Do you believe Aquaman will sink or swim? You can, as always, drop your own thoughts and box office predictions in the usual place below.