This is What Happen When a Movie Makes $500 Million
The official box office total for The Dark Knight is only $479 million, but it should push past $500 by the end of its theatrical run. Considering that makes it the #2 biggest box office earner ever and only film to pass $450 million since 1997, that means that the Warner Bros' execs (and its investors) have got to be some of the happiest guys around. But let's stay on topic. Warner Bros' President Jeff Robinov spoke with the Wall Street Journal recently about their financial situation and outlook for the future, which focused on DC Comics and Superman. So just days after we wrote an article asking where the future of Superman could go, they officially seem to have decided to reboot the franchise - and considering the overwhelming number of responses we got in our article in support of a reboot, I think that's a great decision.
When a film makes that much money, it's bound to change the way that company, or even Hollywood overall, works. We already saw Sony greenlight a Venom spin-off to focus on darker villains like Joker, but what else is going on? Well in the article, Robinov mentions that "we're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it." What he means is that they "have been developing every DC character that we own" and their upcoming comic book movies are going to "be bathed in the same brooding tone as The Dark Knight." Additionally, Robinov "sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.' DC properties." This may not entirely be a bad thing, but that's what happens when one of your movies, a very dark comic book movie, becomes the second biggest box office earner in history. It's just a matter of questioning whether that's the right direction for superheroes like Superman.
In the article, Robinov explains their dissatisfaction with Superman Returns. He says that it "didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to" and that "it didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned." He adds that "now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all." Which, I must say, is a good thing considering we don't want Christopher Nolan to be forced to include Superman in his universe. The article goes on to mention that they're planning more major comic book movies, including "a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters." So at this point, not only is Warner Bros definitely rebooting Superman from scratch, but they're probably going for a much darker story.
I'm really not sure what else to say because I'm generally curious to hear more about the direction they're headed in. And unfortunately I'm not familiar with Superman enough to know whether a dark story would work with him. However, going back to the point of this article, this is obviously the impact that The Dark Knight has had on Hollywood and it's honestly too early to tell if it will be good or bad in the end. If you're interested in hearing more from Robinov and the financial end of Warner Bros, the article in the Wall Street Journal is a pretty damn good read. I don't want to force the discussion from earlier in the week to move over to this article, but this is a very interesting development for the Superman franchise. I'm very curious whether Mark Millar's Superman pitch made it to the studio already or whether they're pursuing another dark direction different from what Millar had in mind. Thoughts?