Warner Bros. Pictures reportedly considered removing Zack Snyder from Justice League after Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice's critical failure (and box office disappointment). The studio's DC Comics-based universe (unofficially known as the DC Extended Universe) finally launched with Snyder's Batman V Superman in 2016 - a follow-up to the filmmaker's 2013 film, Man of Steel - and the franchise continued to expand with David Ayer's Suicide Squad and Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. But everything has been leading up to this month's release of Justice League.
The DC team popularized superhero teams when they burst onto the scene in the early '60s, but the world's finest heroes' - Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), as well as Superman (Henry Cavill) - first foray on the big screen was met with widespread disdain and disappointment, not to mention an underwhelming performance at the domestic box office. Justice League's critical and commercial performance is being blamed on a number of reasons, namely the conflicting visions of Snyder and former Avengers director Joss Whedon. As it turns out, that could've been avoided if Warner Bros. listened to their executives.
Related: Why WB Didn't Delay Justice League
The Wrap reports that multiple studio executives approached the incumbent Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman to boot Snyder off Justice League following the theatrical release of Batman V Superman. Although Silverman didn't dismiss Snyder as director - since removing a director would be distracting and a major sign of trouble for a production such as Justice League - he blamed Batman V Superman's failure on the filmmaker and was "quite harsh" to him. Furthermore, DC Films co-president Jon Berg closely oversaw Justice Leauge's production for several months to monitor the film's budget.
Among the chief complaints DC and DCEU fans have about Justice League is that the film felt unlike anything else the studio has put out thus far and that it seemed a committee made all the creative decisions instead of following Snyder's vision (as all the cast and crew members vowed they were doing). And in order to appear strong on the outside, Snyder was remained on as director until he left the project earlier this year due to a family tragedy. The Wrap's insider said: "They were already in deep prep on Justice League and it would have cost a fortune. There’s stickiness to a director because there’s so much cost to unstick him. Warners is a studio that almost to a fault always wants to project strength."
Although Justice League underwhelmed audiences, the DCEU is just getting started. James Wan's Aquaman wrapped production earlier this fall and is slated to hit theaters in December 2018. David F. Sandberg's Shazam! is the next DC film on the docket to enter production, with Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman 2 following suit in summer 2018; both films are expected to release in 2019. The rest of the DCEU remains up-in-the-air at the moment, so hopefully, Warner Bros. comes up with a solid game plan relatively soon.
Source: The Wrap
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019