Studio math might be one part proprietary data and one part alchemy, but here’s something I feel pretty confident saying: when your trailer sets the all-time record for most views in a day, you’re about to make some moolah. We all remember that the first teaser trailer for It had 197 million views in its first 24 hours online, shattering the previous (albeit short-lived) record of 139 million set by The Fate of the Furious. Those would be extraordinary numbers for any movie, but for an unapologetic horror film about a demon clown? Not even the most aggressive Warner Bros. projections could have predicted that.
The universe owes Armie Hammer a superhero franchise. A few years ago, when Warner Bros. was working with Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller on a Justice League movie, Hammer was signed, sealed, and delivered to play a young Bruce Wayne in the film. Hammer would’ve been an interesting choice for the role; he’s funnier and has more range as an actor than most people might expect, suggesting that Hammer could’ve bridged the gap between Christian Bale’s brooding dark knight and Adam West’s silly caped crusader. For my money, Hammer could’ve been the best Batman yet.
When it comes to the DC film adaptations, there are two truths we hold to be self-evident. On the one hand, the live-action movies have — at least to this point — been fairly underwhelming, whiffing on the elements of Batman and Superman we find endearing in favor of a gloomy music video vibe that leaves a bad taste in our mouth. That being said, there’s no denying that Warner Bros. Animation has something special going on with its superhero movies. Most of those films run the gamut from solid to great; we ranked them all last summer and weren’t shy that their animation department has given their live-action counterparts a run for their money.
With VR an up-and-coming storytelling medium, all the big studios want in on the action. Gone are the days of 4-D pirate adventures with seats that spit water into your face. The people don’t want to be in the movie anymore, they want to be the movie. The latest studio to get into the biz is Warner Bros., inking a deal with IMAX’s new VR component for virtual reality experiences based around the Justice League.
Whether you choose to overlook the accusations of whitewashing levied against Paramount’s upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie is entirely up to you, but there are certainly some who are rooting for the film to open doors for other anime projects. Studios aren’t exactly hot-spots for innovative thinking; if Ghost in the Shell bombs next weekend, there will no-doubt be executives at Paramount who claim the only real lesson is that American audiences don’t like Anime. That would be a real blow to fans of the long-gestating adaptation of Akira, the seminal 1988 animated movie by Katsuhiro Otomo that has been an inspiration to countless science fiction movies and television shows that follow.
Earlier this week, a few little birdies spoke with /Film about Warner Bros. standalone superhero film The Batman being rewritten completely from scratch. According to the site’s sources, the studio has chosen to start all over again with input from director Matt Reeves; additional sources also noted that Reeves wouldn’t even meet with prospective cast members until sometime this summer. This came on the heels of comments from a Variety reporter that Reeves is still under contract for War for the Planet of the Apes through the end of June, meaning The Batman was unlikely to even enter production until 2018.
If nothing else, the announcement that Warner Bros. is working on expanding the universe of The Matrix really makes me want to revisit the original films. Like most people, I was enamored with the first and disappointed by the sequels; the now-outdated CGI character modeling and frequent technobabble written by the Wachowski Sisters caught me a bit by surprise, and I was unnecessarily tough on the movies as a result. Now, though, I wonder if I might see the sequels with different eyes. When was the last time a blockbuster movie franchises so clearly marched to the beat of its own drum? Maybe this time around I will fully embrace the weird.
Since announcing that Ben Affleck would no longer be directing the upcoming standalone The Batman film, Warner Bros. has been in a full-blown crisis mode, working overtime to find a talented new director and prove all those “Is the DC Cinematic Universe doomed?” articles wrong. Back in January, Forbes reported that the Warner Bros. shortlist featured several interesting names, including George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, and Matt Reeves. And now, less than two weeks after The Batman lost its director, it appears that Warner Bros. has settled on its replacement.
We all know that Ben Affleck’s performance as Batman was one of the few things both critics and fans of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice could completely agree on. From his shallow playboy persona as Bruce Wayne to his thinly veiled rage as the Dark Knight, Affleck’s take on the character got everyone very excited to see what the actor-writer-director could do with a free hand for his standalone The Batman movie. Unfortunately, things have slowed considerably since, with rumors of mediocre scripts and a shifting release date taking some of the buzz off the upcoming release.
Listen. I know that the DC Cinematic Universe gets a lot of criticism for its dour visuals and themes, but let’s give credit where credit is due: Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is really shaping up like the sleeper hit of the whole endeavor. With a visual aesthetic stolen directly from an episode of Sons of Anarchy — and perhaps the most talented director of the Warner Bros. slate behind the camera — this is shaping up to be the best movie about people who talk to fish since Disney’s animated adaptation of The Little Mermaid.