It's no secret that the D.C. film universe is not charting the most straight and narrow path, so this story shouldn't be all that surprising to those who have been playing close attention. After months of speculation, it looks like D.C. is moving ahead with a solo film for their iconic Joker villain, played none other than by Jaoquin Pheonix. Jared Leto is set to reprise his role in Suicide Squad 2. What makes this all the more confusing is it looks like (as of now), Leto is still set to star in his own solo Joker film. Todd Phillips, director of the Hangover series, is set to direct the Pheonix led solo film, which will stand apart from the current Joker. As previously reported at the end of 2017, D.C. started the year with quite the shake up, with the exit of Jon Berg after a lackluster Justice League performance. His replacement, Walter Hamada, along with D.C., is looking to move in a different direction. With 2018' Aquaman as well as Shazam in 2019, a lot of the future depends on how successful some of these upcoming films will be. While it safe to say that fans will more than likely turn out, critics have had a massive impact on D.C.'s struggling expansion and its safe to say that that's the reason why Phillip's Joker film will have a reportedly low budget of around 55 million. All in all, I would not be shocked if some of the upcoming films D.C. has been talking about for years never see the light, like the Cyborg standalone film, a second Man of Steel, or anything involving the Dark Universe.
Ahead of this years San Diego Comic Con, DC has given us a look at its fall subscription service and there's some definite pros and cons. While the service is looking to launch a handful of new titles, including the live action Teen Titan series, it seems like it might be light in some other areas. Dc has promised to provide members with access to their extensive library, but it appears that certain fan favorite series including the animated Justice League as well as the DC series that live on the CW network might not appear on the service. It's also no secret that Netflix has acquired a deal with the CW to release these comic book series just 8 days after the airing of their final episodes. It also appears that the comic book feature included in the service will be limited to a "curated" selection, rotating out comics periodically and thus not allowing full access to the massive DC catalog. The other big concern is the price. With Disney looking to launch their own streaming service in the fall and DC having most, but not all, of their series and advertising a comic book feature (which would most likely make less sense to view on the television versus viewing on your phone), it wouldn't be surprising if the price was closer to HBOGo's tag of around $15 dollars or more. The other issue is that this is for dedicated fan boys of the comic giant. With new series like an animated cartoon for Harley Quinn, Swamp Thing, as well as the return of Young Justice, you're less likely to pick up a subscription for something with a hefty price tag if you aren't solely looking for movies and content based on DC franchises. With that being said, there is a lot here to see, including many of the popular DC animated films, the Batman film series, and even the original Superman TV series. The other big issue is that if you are going to pick up a subscription because of one these new series you might want to hold out because the only one launching this year is the live action Teen Titans, while the Swamp Thing, Harley Queen, Young Justice, and Doom Patrol series won't debut until sometime in 2019. We will have to see if DC's can stand up against Disney's streaming service, which is said to be home to not just their films, but the Marvel and Star Wars catalog as well. If you're interested, the website is now live and you can sign up for the possibility to be part of the early access beta later this year here. Read a bit more about what's missing here.
Actor Matt Ryan has not had the luckiest run as DC character Constantine but he might finally land a recurring role but there's a catch. Ryan who played the character in the series which aired on NBC for 13 episodes back in 2015, returned to the character for a cameo in both CW shows Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow, as well as voicing the character in an animated series for the CW Seed platform. To make a long story short, multiple resources have been behind Ryan to make this character work and he might find a permanent home as a series regular on Legend of Tomorrow's fourth season, if it gets renewed for one. It's been documented before of just how expensive it is to maintain the Legends of Tomorrow series and if it is not pulling the numbers that Arrow and The Flash are, there is a possibility that the CW will cancel it and focus on newer series like Supergirl or the recently debuted Black Lightening series. Again, it looks like Constantine and Matt Ryan's fate is uncertain but we will have to wait and see what's going to happen.
At the tail end of 2017, I wrote a post about the upcoming shake ups at DC. So it wasn't terribly shocking to read that actor Jesse Eisenberg is questioning his own future within the troubled expanding DC universe. While speaking with Variety, Eisenberg stated that hopes to return to the role but is uncertain following the end credit scenes of last years Justice League films. It's already been stated that the future of the Universe will not be lead by Jon Berg and there have been numerous rumors swirling around the replacement of roles for both Ben Affleck and Jared Leto, as well as the possibility of numerous spin off films that have nothing to do with the canon of the film universe including a possible young Joker film starring a completely different actor. DC has proven that at this point, they tried too hard to catch up to Marvel's box office domination by attempting to get their own Justice League film off the ground before establishing a strong roster. While many of their films pale in comparison to the monster box office runs of some of Marvel's hits, the rare exception is Wonder Woman, which seems like its going to survive regardless of the problems of the rest of the Universe. Either way, DC can either press on into unknown waters or possibly scrap everything and focus on what they have yet to put out like the Flash solo film and the upcoming Wonder Woman sequel. Either way, seems like no one is really sure of their place in DC's Universe so we will just have to wait and see.
After a lot of speculation, it appears as if Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has confirmed former SNL alum Kristen Wiig as the main antagonist for the films sequel. Wiig will be playing Cheetah, a classic DC villain and longtime foe of Princess Diana. With the announcement came a lot of mixed reviews, with some stating that Wiig is not a strong fit for the role as she is known mostly for her comedic acting. The name in and of itself does carry some weight with it, considering Wiig was one of the more popular actors on SNL as well as having her breakout hit Bridesmaids back in 2011 and appearing is other films like The Martian, the Despicable Me series, and last years Downsizing. All in all, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens when we get some footage. If we've learned anything from Patty Jenkins, she certainly knows what she is doing when it comes to directing a big budget Super Hero film and if she can catch lightening twice with Wonder Woman 2, we will have nothing to worry about with Wiig as out villain.
It looks like some big changes are coming to DC. It has been hard to be a DC fan with the directionless studio first skipping a Superman sequel, then releasing the abysmal Batman v Superman, followed by a lukewarm Suicide Squad, a box office crusher like Wonder Woman and now their under-performing Justice League, the company has announced a restructuring that will begin as early as January. This should not be shocking to anyone considering both Batman v Superman and Justice League were around 300 million in production and the loft Superbowl campaign for BvS cost DC an arm and leg that they never truly recovered from. Justice has managed to pull in just about 570 million after three weeks which is good and should keep it on some top ten if not top twenty list at the end of 2017. The issue is that DC's run will easily be toppled by next week's release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will no doubt topple any record that is standing as of now. DC plans on integrating the comics film department into the main hub, giving it more priority which is a good idea considering the amount of money they are losing. They are also removing Jon Berg from running the overall DCEU and it looks like we have probably seen the last of Zack Snyder leeading any films for the company as well. This of course now throws into question all of the rumored "planned" films that DC had up it's sleeve, including the Joker spin off which would cast another actor in place of Jared Leto, Suicide Squad 2, the solo Batman movie (which has been a topic of immense controversy especially with Ben Affleck's lack of enthusiam), the unlikely-hood of a Cyborg solo film, a Green Lantern film, and Ezra Miller's Flash Point due out in three short years. DC seems to be in a tough position because while Suicide squad managed to pull in some revenue as well as Wonderman, their ensemble cast film did not. They could scrap everything entirely and go back to square one or we might see some major recast and a huge overhaul in direction coming early 2018. Either way, if DC wants to make good films and give the fans what they want, this is a good start that will hopefully workout in everyone's favor.
The breakout star from September's box office smash IT may have had his show cancelled but it looks like he's heading back to the big screen sooner than we thought. Jack D. Grazer has been cast in DC's Shazam film as Freedy Freeman, best friend to Billy Batson and the only person who knows his secret ability to transform into the famed Captain Marvel. Freedy Freeman also becomes Captain Marvel Jr. in the comics and while we can't be sure that is the direction this film is heading, it is certainly something to get excited about. Grazer easily stole the show for me in Stephen King's IT and if DC is willing to let some comedy propel this Superhero flick, I have no worries about him being a great addition to the expanding cast.
Justice League finally hit the box office over the weekend the domestic numbers are less than favorable. DC's much anticipated super hero team up fell 14 million short of its projected earnings in America, bringing in just about 93 million in profit. While its world wide total was around 279 million (down from the 350 million projected worldwide), this puts a lot of DC plans into serious jeopardy. Warner Bros and DC have had a hard time finding a direction for their film universe. From the strange announcement that they will create a solo film starring another actor as Joker to Ben Affleck's constant back and forth with the future of his Batman tenure and already rumored replacement, DC has been unable to find stable ground and they are already several films into their planned DCEU with quite a handful on the way. Their trump card of course is Flahspoint in which they could upend and change everyone with the exception of Ezra Miller but at this rate, will the fans keep coming to the theater to watch films that are fun but aren't very good? It also certainly didn't help with the rottentomatoes score fiasco in which questioned whether or not the score was intentionally held back after the notoriously low Batman v Superman score came out several years ago. Regardless, Justice League looks like it's going to be in as much of a tough position as the lofty and expensive Batman v Superman was, needing to gross around 800 million before it can see any real profits. To it's benefit, there is nothing big coming up with the exception of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15th but we will have to see how steep the drop is in the upcoming second box office weekend which has generally been harsh for superhero films on both DC and Marvel's side.
I honestly can't believe I am saying this and anyone that knows me knows that this news comes at a surprise but Justice League is not as horrible as it ought to be. It is, in fact, significantly better than Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad while not quite hitting that level of awesomeness that Wonder Woman managed to achieve. The movie starts off pretty rocky with some poor special effects and forced jokes but once it finds its rhythm, it really flows quite well and all the additions to the roster are fantastic, each unique and a bit funny. Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg are all great fun and work a lot better on screen than I think any of us would have expected and (Spoiler alert) the return of Superman is easily one of the best fight scenes in the film. While there is a lot of good in the second and third acts of Justice League, one of the weaker elements on the film is the one note Steppenwolf but to DC's credit, an overwhelming amount of Super hero films (both DC and Marvel) have had some horribly lame villains over the years and Steppenwolf certainly earns a plaque. There are a lot of fun moments and the scene at the end paints a very exciting path lined up for the future of DC films (but more on that later). All in all, DC might actually be able to create a decent universe if they keep up the trend of making their movies a little more lighthearted and listening to their fans. So, in all seriousness, this is a fun movie to see.
Justice League's budget has been reportedly revealed and it is a lot more than Warner Bro's was initially planning but that may not be the worst thing. After changing directors (from Snyder withdrawing due to a death in the family), extensive reshoots, and digitally removing Henry Cavill's mustache which he was contractually obligated to shoot with due to his contract for Mission Impossible 6, the budget has now swelled up to a whopping 300 million. This is also without factoring any additional fees for marketing but I have a feeling that Justice League won't come close to what was spent on Batman v Superman hefty campaign. It is also important to note that the current tracking for the Justice League release is set to debut lower than Batman v Superman, it's poorly reviewed predecessor, and Suicide Squad on top of having been shrunk to having an under 2 hour run time. The argument here is that the shorter run time will contribute to repeat showings and coupled with the lighter tone, hopefully audiences will be inclined to see it more than once. While the budget certainly puts the pressure on the latest Dc film, the success of both IT and Wonder Woman have positioned Warner Bros to have a fairly good fiscal year. The film is set to debut November 17th so look out for reviews as they come between now and early next week.