Yesterday, news hit about a rumored list of DC Comics films for the next four years, set to be officially unveiled at San Diego Comic Con. While this would normally just be labeled as “rumor”, I’m gonna proceed with this article as if the rumored DC and Warner Bros. plans that made headlines yesterday are indeed true. Sure, they may all turn out to be a big old pile of BS, but it’s unlikely given where they originated from. Nikki Finke, who ran the original story, and who started Deadline several years ago, might not be the most beloved figure in Hollywood circles, but I’ve never met anyone who denies that her sources are legit; she’s the real deal. And she’s not going to run her first big scoop on her brand new website on something that hasn’t been vetted. Her reputation is kind of on the line here. So while the DC plans might change by Comic Con time, I’d be shocked if they weren’t true right now. So let’s proceed as if the following list is close to being fact:
May 2016 – Batman v Superman
July 2016 – Shazam
Xmas 2016 – Sandman
May 2017 – Justice League
July 2017 – Wonder Woman
Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up
May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2
I wrote a piece here not very long ago talking about how Warner Bros./DC was never going to be like Marvel Studios, based on their timid track record thus far in regards to their DC superhero properties. Assuming the above list is true, then I certainly have egg on my face right now, since that’s a very aggressive schedule for their DC movies — something I could have never predicted based on how Warner Bros. has been in regards to their DC product in the past. This is a total turnaround from how they’ve done things in the past. Maybe they’ve finally truly realized the value of the IP they own, and that it’s time to “go big or go home.” As a huge DC comics fan, I’ve never been more happy to be wrong. So bravo, Warner Bros.
Of course, some things I thought would turn out to be true in my previous article still seem to be. I figured that outside of their Vertigo properties like Sandman, Warner Bros. would be sticking to their “Big 5” heroes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern) with maybe one wild card, who it turns out is Shazam. Shazam is more of a kid-friendly family property, and has been in development forever, so not too surprised he’s the one. It’s hard to imagine a more kid friendly property like Shazam co-existing with Henry Cavill’s Superman, but it will still likely be part of the DC Cinematic Universe if only because Warners probably can’t kill the prospect of a potential movie poster of Shazam and Superman punching each other (and I really can’t blame them). The fact that they’re canceling Metal Men and Suicide Squad for now also indicated that Warners feels comfortable sticking to their big guns when it comes to movies.
Yes, this roll-out is an incredibly ambitious move, but it’s also a really smart one. Both Batman v Superman and Justice League have the biggest chance for massive global success outside of any movie this side of Star Wars: Episode VII. Spinning off a Wonder Woman movie a mere two months after a Justice League movie drops guarantees a lot of heat and momentum going into that movie. Wonder Woman is the trickiest prospect of all the DC heroes to launch, due to sexism from the audience (both studio-perceived and real). Coming hot on the heels of a JLA movie would be a tremendous boost. And for those who say that two major superhero movies from the same universe within two months is too soon, I remind you that back in 2011 Marvel released Thor and Captain America within two months of each other, and both did just fine.
And having a Flash/Green Lantern “buddy cop” movie? That’s also kind of a stroke of genius in regards to those two properties. I said before in my previous article, a Flash solo movie isn’t really much of a prospect while there is a Flash TV show on the air, because why get people to pay for something they are getting for free every week? And after the failure of the Ryan Reynolds 2011 movie, Green Lantern desperately needs a reboot. By making a Flash and Green Lantern team-up movie, this could kill two birds with one stone, because there hasn’t really been a “buddy cop” superhero movie yet. However, if I were Warner Bros. I’d move that Flash/GL movie out of 2017. Right now, aside from Justice League and Wonder Woman, there’s also Wolverine 3, Fantastic Four 2, Amazing Spider-Man 3, and at least one Marvel Studios movie (Dr. Strange?) scheduled for that year. That’s A LOT. They really might want to think about waiting a year there.
A lot of fans have been saying that this slate is way too ambitious to be true, that there is simply no way Warner Bros. can make such a huge release slate in a mere four years. To this is say: Hogwash. Let’s flashback to May 2008. Marvel Studios’ fledgling effort Iron Man has just made a buttload of money at the box office over one weekend. A mere three days later, Marvel Studios announced release dates for Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers. The release dates ended up changing (two movies were pushed ahead a year) but all those movies came out within a brief four year window. And this was before Marvel was owned by Disney, and was essentially an independent studio. If they could plan out that far ahead as a fledgling studio, then certainly Warner Bros. can plan out and schedule seven superhero movies over the next four years. I never thought they’d attempt to do it, but I certainly don’t doubt they have the resources to make it happen.
As a DC Comics fan, this couldn’t be better news, at least so far. Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that they hires the right people to tackle these scripts, get the right directors and cast the right actors. One thing’s for sure–the pressure’s on for Warner Bros. not to disappoint at Comic-Con this year, because this rumor has set the bar very, very high.