Despite raking in more than $800 million dollars over the past month and a half, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice still has to be considered a failure on some level for Warner Bros. and DC.
It dipped below 30% on Rotten Tomatoes just days after release and never recovered. It spawned more arguments between DC and Marvel fans than it did thoughtful or entertaining discussion about the future of the DC Extended Universe. In general, it just left a bad taste in the mouth of the general public.
So how could any of this possibly be a good thing?
On Tuesday night, The Hollywood Reporter ran an exclusive story on the “fallout” surrounding the overwhelmingly negative response to Batman v Superman. Going forward, DC chief content officer Geoff Johns and Warner Bros. executive VP Jon Berg will co-run the newly established DC Films.
Although Batman vs Superman appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, it’s certainly not the first DC film to draw ire from critics and filmgoers. The response to Man of Steel was mixed at best, and Green Lantern is widely considered to be one of the worst superhero movies of the decade.
Even before the inception of DC Films, Berg was already heavily involved in the DCEU, and had already worked with Ben Affleck on Argo and Live by Night — two movies outside of the DC universe. Johns, on the other hand, had been working with showrunner Greg Berlanti on Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl before being called up to the big leagues to help DC Films establish a more consistent tone.
Basically, Warner Bros. is hoping that Berg and Johns can bring the same steady hand to the DCEU that Kevin Feige has brought to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
In addition to heading up DC Films, Berg and Johns will also become producers on the Justice League movies. This should be a welcome development for DC fans who weren’t impressed with Zach Snyder’s take on Batman v Superman, as Johns has been working with DC Comics since the late ’90s and might be able to help remold the characters to make them act more like their comic book counterparts.
Regardless of your personal feelings on Batman v Superman or the DCEU at large up to this point, it’s clear that Warner Bros. isn’t striking the same chord that Disney has been striking repeatedly since Iron Man released in 2008. Hopefully this executive shakeup will put DC’s movie universe back on track.