Zack Snyder’s Justice League landed last week and has become one of the biggest hits of the year so far. Some of the director’s most ardent critics have eaten crow, there was so much interest that it crashed HBO Max, and it’s also shot to the top of the streaming charts around the world. This is supreme vindication for those who campaigned to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut, who can now rightly celebrate their achievement.
But the film’s success leaves Warner Bros. in a difficult position. They’ve spent the last few years moving away from Zack Snyder’s plans for the DCEU, with The Batman heading to screens next year and a J.J. Abrams-produced Superman movie in the pipeline. But, after the cliffhanger ending of Justice League, audiences are clamoring to see these plot lines resolved and the SnyderVerse restored.
What’ll ultimately happen remains to be seen, but gossip hound Mikey Sutton is claiming that WB are so resentful of the Snyder Cut that they actively tried to undermine it. He says the announcement of the Abrams Superman movie was timed to cut the legs out from under Justice League and, in a bold assertion, that they intentionally leaked it on HBO Max and made it available to viewers of Tom & Jerry in an attempt to “quash momentum.”
While I’m sure Warner Bros. likely didn’t foresee the Snyder Cut becoming such a big hit, this still doesn’t pass the sniff test. After all, if the studio hated it to the degree that they’d leak their own tentpole movie, why would they have agreed to release it in the first place? And even if they did set out on this unlikely course of events, why would they do it via Tom & Jerry and pull it down after just an hour? Surely if they were seeking to spoil the hype for the pic they’d at least leave the whole thing up long enough for it to be pirated in advance of its premiere, right?
Like most conspiracy theories, I’m putting the leak down to incompetence rather than malice. I agree with Sutton that Warner Bros. upper management regularly make terrible decisions and would rather Snyder’s DCEU be in the rearview mirror, but at the same time, I doubt they’re that upset that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is doing great numbers and boosting subscriptions to HBO Max. After all, as far as potential problems for a movie studio go, one of their films being a big hit isn’t the end of the world.