Despite the various contradictions put forth in entertainment media, Zack Snyder’s upcoming cut of Justice League for HBO Max is still set to springboard numerous sequels and spinoffs for the fledgling streaming service, even though not everyone involved may be on board.
Mikey Sutton of Geekosity claims his sources revealed to him that “The Snyder Cut will be the beginning of several possible spin-offs set in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU),” with WarnerMedia/AT&T viewing it as fallow grounds for new programming.
This is contrary to other reports calling The Snyder Cut a “narrative dead-end” that are based solely on a comment in a New York Times piece about DC Films head Walter Hamada and the future state (pun intended) of the DCEU, in which the news outlet wrote that “At least for now, Mr. Snyder is not part of the new DC Films blueprint”
The Times added that “studio executives” had described Snyder’s HBO Max project as “a storytelling cul-de-sac – a street that leads nowhere.”
Sutton accuses the sites running with that last bit of cherry-picked information and taking it out of context in order to create doom-and-gloom write-ups, thus ensuring “maximum clicks for ad revenue.”
He writes very boldly, and quite accurately, that, “This is a common practice, using bogus claims or rage-inducing speculation to pull the emotions of fans in a downward spiral, ensuring plenty of social media ‘shares’ as they distribute their angry reactions to thousands of others.”
Sutton counters that The Times’ clickbait cynicism is all “bulls–t” and stresses his belief that parent company AT&T “is taking a wait-and-see approach with The Snyder Cut.”
He also speculates that the nameless executives expressing their doubts towards the Snyderverse’s future were most likely “the same personnel who wanted nothing to do with The Snyder Cut then padded themselves on the back when it became official and thanked the fans while puking in their mouths as they followed directives from their AT&T bosses. ”
“AT&T wouldn’t plunk down $70 million on The Snyder Cut without expectations of following it up,” says Sutton. “That’s not how Hollywood works; it’s about money. If The Snyder Cut is a hit, its success will prove there’s a market for more; HBO Max is so desperate for subscribers and competing against the mammoth Disney+ machine“.
Sutton further notes that, “if The Snyder Cut brings in the numbers,” audiences should “fully expect those same executives to meet [Snyder] back at the negotiating table.”
Due to the conflicting assessments, on top of the gross cherry-picking, it’s obvious there is a misunderstanding here. While the NYT article makes mention of Snyder, it’s main focus is on Hamada’s experience in managing DC’s film releases, rather than any specific plans for the DCEU’s future.
A large amount of the confusion can be attributed to the fact that HBO Max is being looked at as a platform for any number of DC projects in the coming years. Hamada, making no secret of the streaming platform’s priority, noted to The Times how, “With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential [HBO] Max spinoff?’”
Given Wonder Woman 1984’s premiere on HBO Max and the announced development of the Peacemaker and The Batman’s Gotham prequel series show that the platform presents a major disruption to thus-far traditional avenues of film distribution, though it’s obvious that industry insiders don’t want to let go of, or so much as dilute, the classical theatrical model.
“The risk is, will watching these movies first on television degrade the entertainment experience, and later the value,” said David A. Gross of film consultancy firm Franchise Entertainment Research to the Times.
“For an individual movie, there is no more profitable business model than a successful theatrical release — creating the biggest pop culture event possible,” he continued. “It’s the locomotive that pulls the entire train: merchandise, theme park licensing, other income.”
Though Warner hasn’t quite quit on theaters entirely, despite their novel 2021 direct-to-streaming release strategy, this fear of change could be what has downplaying The Snyder Cut’s potential impact on both pop culture and future interest in the DCEU.
For now, DC Films is aiming to have two movies (out of six) a year land on HBO Max, with “riskier characters” such as Batgirl and Static Shock seeing development priority.
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