Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice broke box office records upon its release this past March, but it wasn't exactly the breakout hit that Warner Bros. was hoping for. Its worldwide gross of $870 million came below the $1 billion+ expectations, a byproduct of the mostly negative reviews and mixed word-of-mouth. The slate of upcoming projects set in the DC Extended Universe remains on track to hit theaters as scheduled, but the Batman V Superman aftermath has led to some changes being instituted behind-the-scenes.
The Dark Knight himself, Ben Affleck, is moving to an executive producer role on the upcoming Justice League Part One and will have a hand in fine tuning Chris Terrio's screenplay. In addition, DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns was just appointed as an overseer for the franchise, hoping to inject "hope and optimism" into the films. Now, another domino has fallen into place and longtime producer Charles Roven, who has worked on several DC adaptations in the past, will no longer serve in that capacity on certain DCEU titles.
The news comes courtesy of THR, who say that there are currently talks about having Roven shift to a different position, possibly that of an executive producer who is not involved with the day-to-day process of production. In terms of DCEU entries, Roven has produced Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, as well as this summer's Suicide Squad and next year's Wonder Woman. According to the report, Roven is still "a key member" of WB moving forward, and he could be a producer for sequels to films he's currently involved with - such as Suicide Squad 2.
Sources say that Aquaman and The Flash are the two projects that are immediately impacted by this development. Roven was slated to be a producer on both, but now he will not. Some will read this as course correction as WB tries to handle their burgeoning tentpole (WB Executive VP Jon Berg has traveled to London to be on the Justice League set), but a lot of it is possibly logistics. The aforementioned Aquaman and Flash solo vehicles could shoot on "opposite sides of the planet," meaning it would be very difficult for one person to be heavily involved with both. Having multiple producers on board to keep tabs on everything sounds like a smarter route to go, since it would be less taxing on individual filmmakers.
In all honesty, it sounds as if that's the case. If Roven had been removed entirely from WB and the DCEU, then there would be greater cause for concern. Where it stands now, he's still listed as a producer for the first Justice League movie and his simply having his role with the property readjusted moving forward. He is a valuable person to have in-house, one experienced with big scale films. Roven's other credits include all three installments of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and Duncan Jones' video game adaptation Warcraft. His experience should be a benefit, as he'll be around to lend a helping hand for the DCEU directors.
Ideally, this will yield positive results for the future of the DCEU. After Batman V Superman's shaky reception, WB almost had to mix things up a bit, and they've made a series of decisions that sound smart on-paper. The turnaround for the franchise could be coming very soon, with Suicide Squad (ironically, produced by Roven) generating waves of positive buzz thanks to its gleefully kinetic marketing campaign. It's easy to forget that the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe weren't exactly smooth sailing, so WB deserves the benefit of the doubt as they piece together the DCEU.
Suicide Squad will hit theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.
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