The DC Expanded Universe of movies (or DCEU) is in its fledgling stages, and already there have been some massive shakeups within the ranks. Whatever your opinion of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may be, there’s no denying that its reception both critically and at the box office quickly altered the course of DC/Warner’s planned roadmap. Many thought the film lacked the exuberance and life of DC’s Marvel counterparts, an approach originally thought to be a strength of the franchise.
As it turns out, the Zack Snyder-led “murder-verse” wasn’t so well-received, amounting to a 27% Rotten Tomatoes score, and a box office total that Captain America: Civil War topped in just its third week in theaters. The course-altering began almost immediately after the release, and soon, we’ll see some major changes to the DCEU. Whether they’ll be enough to challenge Marvel remains to be seen, but you certainly can’t blame them for trying. Here’s what’s happening so far.
1. The R-rated Batman v Superman directors cut
Deadpool was the ultimate test case for the viability of an R-rated superhero, proving that a 17-and-up audience can be just as profitable as a younger demographic. Batman v Superman will take a similar tact for the Blu-Ray release of the film, featuring a 3-hour R-rated “Ultimate” cut. Many of the more rushed aspects of the cinematic version will get a more fleshed out story, giving fans a better idea of the “what” and “why” of the DC universe. Incidentally, the original cut of BvS was upward of 4 hours, so there’s lot of material that’ll likely go back into the Blu-Ray version.
2. The Flash loses its director
Following Batman v Superman, DC had a decision to make: stick with Zack Snyder’s “dark and gritty” tone or allow individual directors to employ their own creative voices over their respective projects. Even with changes to lighten the mood of Suicide Squad though (more on that in a second), DC still opted for the former. Appearing as an indirect result of that choice, the director for its Flash film, Seth Grahame-Smith left the project over “creative differences” last April. The studio has yet to replace him, but it’s a stark reminder that DC is just as vulnerable to situations like this as Marvel infamously is.
3. Suicide Squad orders reshoots
Following the release of Batman v Superman, rumors began to swirl around that the studio’s next release, Suicide Squad, was similarly lacking in the comedy department. While Warner/DC never went out of their way to confirm these reports, their actions spoke louder than any public statement could have. Pricey reshoots for the film were green-lit soon after those initial reports, in a concerted effort to add more comedy-centric elements to the project. Unless you’re Christopher Nolan, audiences have little tolerance for a comic book movie sans humor, something DC learned the hard way with BvS.
4. Warner Bros. creates brand new DC Films division
The way Warner Bros. approached its DC movie-verse before was in stark contrast to Disney and Marvel. Whereas Disney had a specific operation in Marvel Studios, Warner was decidedly less defined in the melding of DC into its corporate framework. That’s all come to an end though in this post-BvS world we live in now, with Warner creating the newly formed “DC Films” within its company. The division will be headed up by Executive VP Jon Berg, and comic-writer-turned-executive Geoff Johns, giving them a devoted creative team to oversee the entire DC Expanded Universe.
5. Harley Quinn gets her own spin-off movie
This one isn’t so much a direct effect of Batman v Superman, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it anyway. Warner is putting a lot of its eggs into the Suicide Squad basket right now, and soon, they’ll be developing a Harley Quinn spin-off movie starring Margot Robbie in the lead role. Rumor has it that the project will prominently feature other female DC characters as well, while bringing in a yet-to-be-announced female writer for the screenplay. If they can’t beat Marvel at the superhero showdown game with BvS, DC still might beat its competitors to the punch for awesome ass-kicking women as main characters.
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