Warner Brothers CEO Promises a Grittier DCMarch 16, 2015
The merits of Marvel vs. DC have been deliberated for decades, but if you’re taking stock in film adaptations, Marvel has been far ahead in the lead with their films killing at the box office and creating an appetite for sequels with even more story crossovers. With an abundance of DC films on the horizon looking to complete with Marvel Studio’s successful Hollywood run, Warner Bro’s CEO Kevin Tsuijihara endeavored to set apart DC from its rival, calling DC stories edgier and “steeped in realism,” at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference.
While some DC fans will argue that Tsujihara may have a point, characters like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and others possess humanly angst and stories that warrant a grittier approach. Whether DC or Warner Bros. have been able to effectively translate these stories through film is questionable. Watchmen (IMDB rating 7.6/10), Green Lantern (IMDB rating 5.7/10), and Man of Steel (IMDB rating 7.2/10), and even The Dark Knight Rises received mixed reviews, let’s not forget the 2004 Razzie hit, Cat Woman.
According to Variety, Tsujihara told attendees,
“The key thing is that the movies and the television shows and the games, everything looks very different…you have to be able to take advantage of the diversity of these characters.”
Tujihara is absolutely right; the DC universe boasts diverse characters that have yet to be actualized in the big screen. With a built in fan base, there is still endless untapped potential in the superhero movie market. Perhaps a shift from “action-explosion-darkness” to more in-depth storytelling, will keep audiences captivated. After all, what else can the CEO say when Warner Brothers and DC are attempting to do what Marvel Studios has already done so successfully at the box office, endeavoring to merge characters and storylines of various beloved D.C. characters in the vein of Avengers? If online reports are correct, the studio is set to release over 30 DC films by 2020.
Many blogs and entertainment news sites were quick to frame the nature of these comments as Tujihara’s bid to convince investors that superhero movie fatigue will not plague audiences; that the comic book box office bubble won’t burst. There has been a great deal of talk pertaining to this topic from film critics to industry insiders who see the high-grossing potential as the main motivating force behind the productions of these films. While money is what makes Hollywood’s wheels turn, the key to staving off the potential genre fatigue is as simple as doing the source material justice. These stories have been adapted, told, retold and rebooted for decades. What audiences will tire of are transparent cash grabs, so when it comes to audience attendance, the power is in the hands of the studio and their ability to do these beloved stories justice.