The Changing Landscape
Warner Bros. has all the stars aligning for a triumphant run. With Aquaman a certified Global success, the studio is anticipating their current success will expel the stigma once associated with their films by changing the landscape. However, simply stating “Aquaman changing the landscape” isn’t a declaration of a reboot of any kind.
Changing landscapes is more of a reorganization to the structure of how this Universe will deliver their content. Some may ask if they will continue to release films with their current set of actors. Will they maintain the integrity that made this franchise the success that it is? Are they really staging the rumored “Soft Reboot”, even though some sites might have you believe it? I believe it’s not part of their plan and though it may be challenging, it is not impossible. But, how can this be achieved?
Warner Bros. has cemented the idea that they, too, can create fun and thought-provoking films, while maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere. Learning from past mistakes is no easy task. The studio saw an opportunity to reach moviegoers outside the US this time around and thus allowed the International market to experience the film for what it was. That meant not being influenced by the critics or archaic system that rates films. One could say that the type of orchestrated manipulation is currently plaguing North American Cinemas for the worse. It seems this strategy not only changed the narrative but also allowed the film to breathe and reach a wider audience by word of mouth.
With the pending release of Shazam (April 4th, 2019), Warner Bros could keep the momentum going strong. Just use the same marketing strategy for Aquaman. This kind of synergistic tactic proved to be the perfect one-two punch overseas. Releasing Internationally appears to be the catalyst to prevent Box Office bias that stems from North American Critics. This should be the new paradigm when the studio releases their films hench forth. That way, enough impact is generated to sustain the critical backlash for DC, simply because it’s not another studios film.
Generating Star Power
Zachary Levi, a self-professed geek, loves to connect with his fans in the same manner Henry Cavill does. He’s already displayed his love for the character and the idea of being part of the DCEU. Zach would be the ideal face to continue this Box Office success.
Suicide Squad proved that moviegoers are open to seeing lesser-known characters in their films. They like to imagine they’re fluent on Comic Book Movie lexicon, so introducing new characters is a natural progression. It’s also a much lower risk investment. By achieving this success, it opens the door for earning more gross while maintaining creative freedom.
Birds of Prey
Production begins this month on the all-female cast. Add an exciting new Director in Cathy Yan and an Academy-Award Nominee actress in Margot Robbie, and it’s destined to explode into cinemas. With their girl power and a darker, more self-contained storyline, Birds Of Prey not only is a viable investment, but it’s also a continuation of the Snyder-Verse. This film has plenty of stylistic cues from Ayers vision as well, which he created in Suicide Squad. He took plenty of what worked for Zack Snyder and created his own “Sandlot” film to establish the core part of the initial DCEU arc.
Birds of Prey will also pave the way to expand on the “Gotham” Universe. Unfortunately, I’m not ready to proclaim it a “Batman” Universe just yet. Having a female-led group kicking ass all over Gotham though will do wonders for representation. It also would prove that Warner Bros. is keeping the current continuity that so many fans miss from the Snyder Verse. The studio would be able to showcase their dominance when it comes to female-lead productions such as this.
By influencing the future-market back in 2008, Marvel beautifully executed the idea of a shared Universe. But now, Warner Bros has the opportunity to introduce Elseworlds to the General Audience. Take, for instance, when Marvel began. My sister was unaware that Thor and Batman existed in separate Universes. Since then, she’s well versed on who’s DC and who’s Marvel. This is due to the 10 years of Marvel creating a fully connected Universe.
Warner Bros. has a unique opportunity with their upcoming Joker film, directed by Todd Philips. They can create something truly special, while at the same time, establish its own Universe from the beginning. Brilliantly introducing the most recognizable villain of All-Time, “The Clown Prince”, allows audiences to see differences between this film and the established slate. It also builds a great foundation for a larger, entirely separate, Elseworld Universe.
Giving the General Audience an “Elseworld” Universe benefits them to become more sophisticated when it comes to Comic Book Films. Having more variety when it comes to selecting different movies creates user preference. Think of it this way: We don’t have to be relegated or spoon-fed the same formula every 6 months.
Stick To What Works
The DCEU is currently basking in the glory. With Aquaman exceeding everyone’s expectations and Shazam quickly approaching, there’s no slowing down in sight. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The company is creating all of this with their smaller, lesser-known characters. Announcing a new Batman film would be an exciting announcement, however, this isn’t expected any time this year. The uproar caused by news outlets surrounding the rumored “Henry Cavill leaving the DCEU” should be utilized.
It’s the ideal opportunity to announce a new Man of Steel film. That would create confidence from those who feel cheated that Superman wasn’t given a proper sequel. It would also give hope to those who felt cheated of a proper Justice League film. And maybe, just maybe, mend some wounds from those who are still optimistically waiting for a Snyder Cut.
In all, this Universe has the potential to outgrow its predecessor. We’ve just begun to scratch the surface of this unexplored DC Extended Universe. So hold on tight, because we’re in for one amazing ride.
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