Wonderful news for Batman fans! After years (literally) of waiting, the team behind the upcoming superhero movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, has decided to give us what we want. So far, Warner Bros. and DC have released a statement denying the petition and explaining their side of the story.
Here’s what we know so far:
On Tuesday, a Change.org petition titled “#TellDCEPropertiesThatYouWantBatman v Superman” gained traction after Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment decided to delay Batman v Superman from its originally planned March 2016 release to April 2017.
The goal of the petition is to “get DCE properties to release a statement saying they want Batman vs Superman to happen,” as stated on the petition. It currently has over 1.6 million signatures. You can see the petition here.
What made this petition so special is that it’s the first ever to address the delay of Batman v Superman and to push for what is presumably the most desirable outcome for Bat-fans: a battle between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel.
Shortly after its initial publication, Warner Bros. and DC released a joint statement denying the petition and offering their own perspective on the matter.
“While we appreciate the passion of the fans and continue to value their input, we feel it’s important to set the record straight on a few things,” the statement read. “First, there is no undisclosed conflict of interest between us and the film industry. We always strive to put the interests of our shareholders, our customers and employees first, and in this case, we feel that doing what’s right for the character will also be right for our bottom line. Second, we’ve always planned to release Batman v Superman on March 2016’s lease date and are confident that the hype will be enough to carry the day. Third, we’ve had no talks with Netflix or any other streaming service about making a prequel series to Batman v Superman. We know that many fans are eagerly awaiting a return of their favorite DC Comics characters but, until we have something more concrete to share, that is all we have for now.”
The statement from Warner Bros. and DC denied the petition and gave three reasons why a new Batman and Superman movie is still on the horizon. While these reasons are more of a response to the petition rather than an actual clarification of the situation, it’s great to see them stand by their position.
The first reason is money. As a financially responsible company, they want to make sure that they’re making the right financial decision. By delaying Batman v Superman, it’s estimated that they’ll lose over $400 million dollars, which is more than they were expecting to lose with a March 2016 release. With a delayed release and the extra marketing costs that come along with it, they believe they can make back what they’re losing, plus a little bit more.
The second reason is, as mentioned above, the character of Batman. Just a few weeks before the release date of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there was a big reveal about the Dark Knight’s back story. In the film, we learn that Wayne Enterprises, the company that Bruce Wayne and his family founded, has bankrupted. This is why he now works for the government, taking on crime as a vigilante, while also consulting for the police. Fans of the Dark Knight have long been annoyed that he never fights alongside the Justice League, which is made up of superheroes from different franchises.
Finally, the third reason is the Man of Steel. After a long absence, Superman returned in the 2011 movie, Man of Steel. Since then, DC and Warner Bros. have been trying to bring the Man of Steel and Batman together in a way that makes sense for the larger DC cinematic universe. The most recent attempt was in 2015 with the release of Robin Hood, where we see the young Gordon (Laurence Fishburne) trying to get his mentor, Batman, to help him bring some much needed law and order to the Kingdom of England. During the course of the movie, Batman and Superman do battle, though it’s more of a friendly rivalry than anything else. Fans are eagerly awaiting the next installment in this partnership, and with it, the promise of a final showdown between Batman and Superman.
Although we don’t yet know for sure what caused the delay, there are some possible reasons.
Fans are speculating that the long pre-production and post-production process may have taken its toll on the quality of the film. In recent years, the visual effects in movies have become increasingly complex and realistic. Being one of the first big superhero movies of the 21st century, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may have been a real challenge for the VFX team, especially considering the long pre-production and post-production process. It was rumored that over 100 effects were dropped from the film to meet the alleged $500 million budget, leading some to question whether they were worth it at all. On the other side of the spectrum, the movie seems to be full of impressive set pieces and elaborate costumes, which are probably the result of increased digital artistry rather than the need to save money. Hopefully, the quality of the film will live up to the hype and fans will soon see what all the fuss is about.
What Does This Mean For The Future Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Though it’s great that Warner Bros. and DC are standing by their decision to delay Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s worrying that Marvel, the company that owns the characters and franchises of the MCU, isn’t commenting on the petition. This is especially concerning because it was originally reported that Netflix, which is in the process of producing its own original series based on the Marvel characters, had secured the film rights to a Batman/Superman story. When asked about the rumor, a Netflix spokesperson said, “There are no discussions for any reboot of Batman or Superman at this time.” Even though this statement was released over a month ago, it still seems to be making waves, with fans taking to social media to voice their displeasure.
Though it’s great that Netflix isn’t pursuing a deal with Warner Bros. or DC to bring the two franchises together, it would be nice to have some sort of comment from Marvel about the situation. What are their thoughts on the matter? Are they even aware of the petition?
The answer to these questions may lie in another statement released by DC and Warner Bros. earlier this year. At the time, they hinted at a new direction for the MCU, one that isn’t bound by the traditional rules of comic book movies. To quote the joint statement, “[w]e’re going to celebrate our differences and recognize that while we may not agree on everything, we can certainly respect each other.” As a result of this newfound respect, it seems that Batman and Superman may no longer be enemies. If that’s the case, it’s possible that Marvel may not see the need to weigh in on this particular petition, considering that their ultimate goal is to see the two franchises join forces against a common enemy.
What Does This Mean For The Future Of Comic Books?
Comic book movies have come a long way since they were first featured in comic books more than 80 years ago. Back then, the medium was still in its infancy, and the idea of putting a movie in a comic book was unheard of. Even the idea of superheroes was still fairly new, having only recently become popular in the 1930s and ‘40s. Since then, the medium has evolved, and comic books have grown along with it. Today, almost all comics are published digitally, making them infinitely more accessible to audience members, both young and old.
The advent of comic book movies was the result of comics finally finding their way beyond the pages of a comic book. At first, film adaptations of comics were limited to the adventures of Superman and Batman, with other characters being relegated to two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs. That all changed in the 1960s with the advent of the superheroic “cameo,” whereby characters from different franchises and different comics met on the big screen for the first time. Soon after, TV shows like Batman and The Flash brought these characters together on a weekly basis, leading to a world where everyone knows and loves Batman and Superman.