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Old 02-04-2013, 06:09 PM   #51
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Default Re: Legendary vs WB threatens DC films

The New York Times:
Film Financier Faces a Critical Juncture
Quote:
Originally Posted by BROOKS BARNES and MICHAEL CIEPLY
LOS ANGELES — During the baseball strike of 1995, Thomas Tull, then a 24-year-old laundromat owner, was audacious enough to turn up at a training camp for the Atlanta Braves. They looked at his swing and sent him home.

No matter. Mr. Tull swatted through the entrepreneurial minor leagues, from laundries to tax prep centers to dot-com start-ups, and into Hollywood.

His aggressiveness and aw-shucks charm made him one of the most successful walk-on players in movie history. “The Dark Knight,” “300,” “The Hangover” and “Clash of the Titans” were all made with backing from his company, Legendary Entertainment, a Warner Brothers affiliate, which picked up more than $700 million in new financing last year.

But the coming months will tell if Mr. Tull really is the latest outsider to win an insider’s game.

Legendary is a supplier of six major releases by Warner from March to August, giving it an unusually large portion of the blockbuster season. If they are successful, Mr. Tull, 42, may come to be viewed as a budding Steve Ross, who used the resources of Kinney National Services, which operated parking lots, to build Time Warner: Legendary’s goal is to continue to grow. But failure could tip Legendary in the direction of the original DreamWorks SKG. That company, backed by Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, started big and fizzled.

Already, some thorny problems have surfaced. Last month, Mr. Tull became embroiled in two lawsuits over an expensive “Godzilla” remake that is supposed to begin production shortly. Legendary’s forays into China as well as television and comic book publishing have failed or had a shaky start.

The Warner-Legendary relationship oscillates between cool and frosty, with Mr. Tull at times telling cohorts that he is taken for granted and various studio executives vexed by his success and efforts to be seen as a creative force and not just a writer of checks.

Mr. Tull, who declined to comment, is betting hundreds of millions of dollars on his next films. Sequels to “The Hangover” and “300” are almost guaranteed hits. But others are substantial risks. “Jack the Giant Killer,” an embellishment of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” comes on the heels of several fairy tale adaptations that disappointed at the box office.

“Man of Steel” is an expensive attempt to revive a well-worn Superman franchise. The less costly “42” is something Legendary once said it would never make — a drama, in this case the life story of Jackie Robinson.

The biggest gamble is “Pacific Rim.” Directed by Guillermo del Toro, it is a $150 million movie, set to open July 12, about human-piloted robots and alien monsters. Legendary is breaking its pattern of equal partnership with Warner by shouldering 75 percent of the cost, and is hoping the film will jump-start a merchandise business. Mr. Tull is also counting on “Pacific Rim” to convince skeptical industry peers that he has the creative acumen to generate a critical smash without Warner to lean on.

(Mr. del Toro is already a convert. “With Thomas,” he said in a phone interview, “the reactions are the same reactions you would get from another filmmaker.”)

Soon, Legendary must make a crucial decision about its future. Mr. Tull’s deal with Warner expires at the end of this year. So far, no serious talks about a renewal have started, according to both companies, partly because Mr. Tull was waiting for Warner to pick a chief executive to succeed Barry M. Meyer, who is retiring. Kevin Tsujihara was named to the post last Monday.

Warner declined to comment on its relationship with Mr. Tull. The studio would like him to stay, but it would not suffer terribly if he left, according to two high-level executives inside the company who requested anonymity to speak candidly. Warner, for instance, can rely on another financing partner, the newly revitalized Village Roadshow, these people said.

Legendary is equally cool; a person with knowledge of Mr. Tull’s options, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said that Legendary had interest from other studios, mentioning a bond between Mr. Tull and several senior executives at Universal and Comcast.

This high-powered jockeying occurs a long way from the outskirts of Binghamton, N.Y., where Mr. Tull was raised poor by a single mother, a dental hygienist. Even he seems stunned by his rise in Hollywood, complete with a mansion in suburban Calabasas, Calif. — the nouveau riche nesting place of the Kardashians — and a small ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. (He made a failed bid for the San Diego Padres last summer.)

“If somebody came in and pitched me as a script, I would say it’s too far-fetched,” Mr. Tull said in a 2010 television interview.

He arrived here about a decade ago as a midlevel venture capitalist, working on technology start-ups with the Convex Group, based in Atlanta. He helped hatch an ill-fated plan to create disposable DVDs that would self-destruct in 48 hours, making for return-free rentals.

In 2004, Mr. Tull and William Fay, a friend and producer, decided to buy a film library from which they could produce effects-driven remakes and sequels. They settled on Orion Pictures, owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. A third partner, Scott Mednick, soon joined.

But Sony and others took MGM’s assets off the market, leaving Mr. Tull stuck on Hollywood’s doorstep.

“Let’s just forget about the library,” Mr. Fay recalls Mr. Tull saying. “Let’s just build a film company around the precepts we’ve developed.”

Private equity money was just starting to flow into films, and Mr. Tull secured financing of about $500 million, which Legendary used to land a partnership with Warner for pictures geared to the young male audience.

Good fortune played a role in Mr. Tull’s ascendance. Legendary, for instance, was partly sold to its first round of investors on a faulty premise — that strong DVD sales had put a floor under high-end fantasy films. But the DVD market crumbled in 2005, almost exactly as Legendary took root.

“It ultimately worked on a different logic,” acknowledged Clark Callandar, who had helped organize Legendary as an investment banker at the Perseus Group, now known as GCA Savvian. He said strong foreign sales made up for the collapse in the DVD market.

Mr. Tull also caught a break in his early dealings with Warner. Shaken by the troubled merger of its parent company with AOL, Warner was hungrier than usual for filmmaking capital. Some of its equity-backed producers were also moving on. So Warner offered Legendary a position in “Superman Returns” and Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” the precursor to “The Dark Knight.”

At the time, neither superhero was regarded as a sure bet; Batman in particular was considered worn out by earlier films. “It takes a certain amount of serendipity,” said Mr. Mednick, who spoke of Legendary’s early days last week. “Either you get lucky, or you don’t.” (Legendary’s next few films after “Batman,” including “Lady in the Water” and “The Ant Bully,” were flops.)

The departures of his initial partners have solidified Mr. Tull’s position as Legendary’s majority owner, and he has worked to raise his profile. Last summer, he even stole some limelight, which executives here usually avoid, from his own movies when he took the stage in front of 6,000 fans at a Legendary-branded Comic-Con International presentation.

Legendary would like to be Marvel Entertainment, the comic-book powerhouse now owned by Disney that has generated hits like the “Iron Man” films. But Marvel owns a vast trove of characters. Legendary, having never acquired the library Mr. Tull wanted, initially depended on Warner for material, and, more recently, has turned to some unlikely sources. For instance, it tried to make an action-thriller based on Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”

Legendary Comics, announced in 2010, is partly an effort to build a pool of intellectual property. Breaking into publishing is difficult, but the endeavor has been “an awfully slow burn” so far, said Jonah Weiland, executive producer of Comic Book Resources, a Web site about graphic novels. Legendary’s first comic, “Holy Terror,” was “widely panned,” he added. A second, “The Tower Chronicles,” based on one of Mr. Tull’s ideas, has not fared much better.

Legendary has a history of starts and stops. Mr. Tull is eager to expand into China and last year recruited executives for a unit that was to make two to three movies there annually, starting this year with a fantasy thriller about the Great Wall. But the expected Chinese financing for the venture has yet to materialize. A television division was shut down after a year and a half. A video game division also hiccupped; last summer, Legendary regrouped in the digital arena by buying the Web brand Nerdist Industries, a media company focused on pop culture.

All the while, Mr. Tull has shown himself willing to throw elbows. Robert Redford proposed a Jackie Robinson story to Legendary, and expected to act in the movie, but Legendary soon announced “42” without him. Steven Spielberg’s production company acquired a video game property about monsters, developed it as a movie for the director Tim Burton, and then had to drop it because “Pacific Rim” was too similar.

Mr. Tull has also turned to the courts to protect his interests. In two lawsuits in 2009, he and Legendary sued a former employee for breach of contract and extortion. The suits, filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, were quickly resolved. Still, the legal complaints offered a public record of internal turmoil, layoffs and financial distress at Legendary in the years before huge returns from “The Dark Knight” brought the illusion of overnight success.

Last month, another lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court by Mr. Tull against three producers who had been involved with his “Godzilla” project — he wanted them removed from the movie with little compensation, and they balked — prompted a countersuit that painted an unflattering picture of Legendary’s business practices, and gave a rare glimpse at fierce infighting within the Warner family. The countersuit claims that the producers were dismissed “out of greed or to show some sort of creative dominance.”

What is Mr. Tull’s end game? An initial public offering has always been an option, although even with his Wall Street prowess that might be a tough sell at the moment, given Legendary’s risky summer. But detractors would be smart to remember that Mr. Tull has pulled off home runs against long odds before.

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Old 02-05-2013, 08:25 AM   #52
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Default Re: Divided WB threatens DC films

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Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
I don't know, making Iron Man into a house hold name was no easy feat, but Marvel managed to pull it off. I am not sure that DC heroes are harder adapt on screen then Marvel heroes.
They aren't.

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Old 02-05-2013, 12:23 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Bruce_Begins View Post
I think that making quality Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman movies requires a Lot more effort than your usual Marvel Superhero movies.


In other words, it is a more challenging to make DC movies based on A list superheroes, so Any Studio will find it difficult, having said that WB's approach to these properties has been luke warm, which makes the problem worse.
C'mon, you can't be serious. DC superheroes aren't timeless literary characters that demand a Spielberg to make.

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Old 02-05-2013, 12:40 PM   #54
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Default Re: Divided WB threatens DC films

I'd argue that they are timeless literary characters. Maybe they don't demand a Spielberg, but they deserve respect.

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Old 02-05-2013, 01:18 PM   #55
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I'd argue that they are timeless literary characters. Maybe they don't demand a Spielberg, but they deserve respect.
And Marvel superheroes don't deserve respect? That doesn't mean DC superheroes are harder to make than Marvel's.

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Old 02-05-2013, 01:41 PM   #56
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And Marvel superheroes don't deserve respect? That doesn't mean DC superheroes are harder to make than Marvel's.
No, Marvel heroes deserve respect too.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:40 AM   #57
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Dear Warner bros.

Make me the head of the DC movie universe.

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:06 AM   #58
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Dear WB' make Bigjxxx head of the DC movie universe. Right' what are your plans Bigjxxx?

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:18 PM   #59
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I think its not that DC/Marvel characters deserve more respect than Marvel/DC characters, so much as that Marvel ( and to an extent Fox and Sony ) *do* respect their characters. . . whereas WB, by and large, doesn't respect its own.

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:44 PM   #60
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I see it more like WB, as a studio, doesn't entirely rely on comic-related stuff to make money. They'll make anything into a tentpole film whether related to comics, giant robots, or anime. Though it's odd they aren't pushing harder for it since superheroes are "in" for the time being and Harry Potter is over.

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Old 02-06-2013, 06:21 PM   #61
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Yeah, it's not about respect; WB just has other priorities besides superheroes and Marvel doesn't. Marvel need their characters to work in order to survive, so all their attention and effort goes into that, while DC's characters are just one branch of a very large tree for WB, so they don't get that kind of attention. Seems like they basically hire quality talent to put the projects together (which they have, even on the ones that didn't work out), then leave them be and hope for the best. Marvel is much more hands-on, since they've got an entire cinematic universe they have to keep together.

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Old 02-08-2013, 01:16 AM   #62
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Default Re: Divided WB threatens DC films

WB are a movie studio first. They are not a superhero movie studio. Such is life.

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Old 02-14-2013, 06:46 PM   #63
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This would pretty much solve their problems...

http://www.movies.com/movie-news/marvel-teach-dc/11234

Quote:
Marvel Studios Countdown: What Can Marvel Teach Warner Bros. and DC?
By John Gholson Feb 11, 2013


Warner Bros. would love to have its own Avengers film in the form of Justice League, but for all the stop-start production on the project, it doesn’t seem like it will ever happen (though our own Chris Clow offers some suggestions on how to make it happen). Recent news is that the studio took a pass on the latest script, and will be looking at Man of Steel’s box office numbers very carefully before it puts the League together. Many see Warner’s plans as reactionary, just trying to exploit its properties in the same way that Marvel has, but the studio has been flirting with Justice League since before Marvel started building up to Avengers.

Marvel had the advantage of creating the films to overlap and feed into each other in a unified cinematic Marvel Universe, and while Warner Bros. has had some success with Batman, there’s been no hints that the Nolan films exist, for example, in the same world as the Green Lantern film. Warner has got the properties, but no shepherd like Marvel has with Kevin Feige; no figurehead with a unified vision of just what DC and Warner Bros. have to offer. Feige can talk the talk, even if he doesn’t read the comics (I have no idea if he does or doesn’t), and displays a passion for the material that is sorely lacking on the Warner Bros./DC side. It looked as if Geoff Johns was being groomed for that role, but the failure of Green Lantern -- Johns’ pet project -- may have held him back.

If Warner Bros. really wants to follow in Marvel’s footsteps, there are a few things it could do...

1. Get a Kevin Feige.
Warner needs a cheerleader who’s knowledgable and passionate enough to field questions from both the hard-core fans and the general press with the same aplomb as Marvel Studios head Kevin Fiege. Fiege has been able to get people excited about characters and concepts that aren’t immediately recognizable, through hiring the right creatives and using long-term planning to sustain a buzz for the studio. You get the distinct feeling he is making these films, because he wants to see these films -- not out of a financial obligation.

Now, these films are made to make huge bundles of cash, but perception is everything. When Fiege makes an announcement, it feels like a fan making some other fans wishes come true. When Warner makes an announcement, it feels like it is looking for something that will stick. There are too many fans within the film industry for Warner to still be so wishy-washy with DC Comics properties. If it wants the goodwill Marvel has fostered, it needs a face who can get people excited. Even Fox learned this lesson, and hired Mark Millar to be its guy for its existing Marvel properties (X-Men, Fantastic Four). Over at Sony, Mark Webb and the “original” Marvel movie cheerleader Avi Arad, are trying their best to be that face for the Spider-Man franchise. You have to have a singular voice, from project to project, saying, “Hey! We’ve got exciting things in store!”


2. Establish What It Means to Be a DC Comics Movie.

It’s not that Warner doesn’t take chances with DC properties. It has made films based on Catwoman, Jonah Hex and Constantine, while more recognizable characters like the Flash or Wonder Woman sat on the sidelines. What Marvel gets right is that it has a clarity of vision as to what it means for a film to have the Marvel Studios banner. It crafts broad, appealing entertainment starring interesting characters, with a dash of menace and romance. This is its formula and it’s working for Marvel.
Warner Bros., with help from Christopher Nolan, has shown that clarity of vision on the Batman franchise. It treats Batman with great care because it learned that an exceptionally well-crafted Batman film will appeal to a wide audience. The lesson here shouldn’t be that audiences want “dark” superhero films; it’s that they want to see blockbusters with high values across the board -- from script to screen. Right now, there’s simply no such thing as a DC Comics movie, not in the same way there are Marvel movies. Someone needs to say, “this is what we have to offer, and this is why these characters are important,” (kinda goes back to point number one) then start bringing that mandate to life on the screen.



3. Value the Characters.

The downside to DC’s exploration of properties like Jonah Hex and Green Lantern is that it feels less like a vision and more like throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. DC would like to have another Batman-sized franchise, but it doesn't even seem to understand who its characters are or why people find them appealing. That’s a huge part of the problem.

Marvel Studios, stripped of its best-selling characters Spider-Man and X-Men (who are at other studios), was forced to elevate its B-list” characters, like Iron Man, into “A-list” positions. To do so, it had to look at ways to make the characters it had on hand appealing to folks who may have never heard of the Avengers. Marvel found a hook for every property, and all of the films are on an equal playing field in regards to craftsmanship. Marvel cares about the individual films because it wants the audience to care. Its focus is not strictly limited to the opening weekend box office, but on building an overall legacy with their brand.

DC’s characters are already appealing, and the box office will come if the care is there. Fans recoil at Justice League, not because they don’t like the team, but because it sounds like more of the same from Warner Bros. - not a sudden respect for the DC brand, but a means to an end to grab that opening weekend dollar. It’s a nakedly cynical approach, especially when compared to Marvel’s long-term planning and focus.

Categories: Features, Countdown Column, Geek

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He’s much more of a working class superhero, which is why we ended the whole book with the image of a laboring Superman. He’s Everyman operating on a sci–fi Paul Bunyan scale." - Grant Morrison

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Old 02-15-2013, 12:59 AM   #64
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^^ And read the comments below -

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Ross in NC • 2 days ago −
DC appeals to the Baby Boomer age. Marvel appeals to the Gen X and Gen Y age, the ones that will actually go still see a movie in a theater and buy the DVD release. DC is outdated and lost its touch when Christopher Reeve passed away. Sure, the revival of the Batman saga has infused some life, but the storyline is running thin now. Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash have no energy left in them. Catwoman sucked it all out with horrible performances by Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. Green Lantern was a noble try at a comeback, but there are no more cards left to play unless you create a storyline with the Bizarro cast of anti-heros (and that's not easy to do). DC is definitley on the ropes when it comes to making films.

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Max_says • 2 days ago −
Marvel characters have a greater inherent 'entertainment 'appeal in them...DC characters except superman and batman...dont.

Sad but true!!

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Old 02-15-2013, 02:22 PM   #65
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^^^Reminds me of the idiots who think Superman is inherently (they love that word) uninteresting because they were bored of a Superman film they watched when they were kids. Of course, instead of jeering the film, they make generalizations about the whole character.

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Old 02-15-2013, 02:56 PM   #66
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Two words: David Goyer

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Old 02-15-2013, 05:30 PM   #67
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^^ And read the comments below -
Those are just lame excuses fanboys come up with as to why they don't like certain characters and/or why they think they won't work on film.

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He’s much more of a working class superhero, which is why we ended the whole book with the image of a laboring Superman. He’s Everyman operating on a sci–fi Paul Bunyan scale." - Grant Morrison

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Old 02-16-2013, 09:47 AM   #68
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Default Re: Divided WB threatens DC films

There's more than a little grain of truth in that, however. Not in that the DC characters are inherently uninteresting, but they *are* different. IMO, its because most of the biggest name DC characters date back to the Golden Age, whereas virtually all the important Marvel characters date back to the Silver Age. . . with Marvel's Silver Age being *very* distinct from DC's in tone and style. This is why Marvel's characters are, generally, easier to adapt in a modern post-reconstructive form.

Of course, one of the characters Marvel did successfully adapt was Captain America, both their only major Golden Age holdover, and a 100% square jawed nice guy boy scout. This kind of puts paid to the idea that the audience has no interest in honest, decent heroes who are not tormented figures or anti-authority hot heads.

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Old 02-22-2013, 04:16 AM   #69
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Dear WB' make Bigjxxx head of the DC movie universe. Right' what are your plans Bigjxxx?

I am glad you asked. I was going to post a thread on this but I felt it would be laughed at. First thing I would do is to have Warner Bros/DC Comics team with Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and MGM to make the Justice Leauge movie, but first..... I would produce a five year plan

With Man of Steel aside. Year one.
Batman reboot starring the monk.
A Wonder Woman movie.
Green Larntern movie (John Stewart )

Year two.
Man of steel sequel
A World Finest movie.
Aqua man movie
Flash movie

Year three.
Trinity movie leading into a justice league.
Martian manhunter
Flash sequel
Green Lantern sequel.
Robin (TV show spinoff)

Year four.
Batman sequel
Superman sequel
WW sequel.
Aquaman sequel

Year five.

Justice League with Starbreaker as the villain. With the Atom, Green Arrow, Black Carney, and hawk girl to round it off.

That is my plan.

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Old 02-22-2013, 04:19 AM   #70
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I would add that sequel to a JL movie is Darkseid.

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Old 02-22-2013, 07:46 PM   #71
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^^^Reminds me of the idiots who think Superman is inherently (they love that word) uninteresting because they were bored of a Superman film they watched when they were kids. Of course, instead of jeering the film, they make generalizations about the whole character.


The problem with Superman is that too many directors choose Lex Luther or the three krytron crinmals over and over rather than having brainic or metallio.

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Old 02-23-2013, 09:23 AM   #72
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I am glad you asked. I was going to post a thread on this but I felt it would be laughed at. First thing I would do is to have Warner Bros/DC Comics team with Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and MGM to make the Justice Leauge movie, but first..... I would produce a five year plan

With Man of Steel aside. Year one.
Batman reboot starring the monk.
A Wonder Woman movie.
Green Larntern movie (John Stewart )

Year two.
Man of steel sequel
A World Finest movie.
Aqua man movie
Flash movie

Year three.
Trinity movie leading into a justice league.
Martian manhunter
Flash sequel
Green Lantern sequel.
Robin (TV show spinoff)

Year four.
Batman sequel
Superman sequel
WW sequel.
Aquaman sequel

Year five.

Justice League with Starbreaker as the villain. With the Atom, Green Arrow, Black Carney, and hawk girl to round it off.

That is my plan.
Okay, I am a big fan of super hero movies, and I know you obviously realize your idea will never happen. . . but your suggested schedule is just plain too big. Four blockbuster movies a year *just* from the DC stable? That's too much; I suspect even WB couldn't support making that many movies at once, and even if they did, I suspect that you would run out of good release slots to make them all successful.

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Old 02-23-2013, 09:25 AM   #73
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Default Re: Divided WB threatens DC films

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Originally Posted by Bigjxxx View Post
The problem with Superman is that too many directors choose Lex Luther or the three krytron crinmals over and over rather than having brainic or metallio.
I don't really think Metallo could support a movie on his own. He's basically powerful muscle, you'd need someone else as the actual brains. Like Luther.

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Old 02-26-2013, 12:44 AM   #74
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Default Re: Divided WB threatens DC films

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Originally Posted by metaphysician View Post
Okay, I am a big fan of super hero movies, and I know you obviously realize your idea will never happen. . . but your suggested schedule is just plain too big. Four blockbuster movies a year *just* from the DC stable? That's too much; I suspect even WB couldn't support making that many movies at once, and even if they did, I suspect that you would run out of good release slots to make them all successful.
Which is why some of the heroes should be on TV much like Green Arrow's show. Batman, superman, the Spectre, and Wonder Woman should be on the silver screen.

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Old 02-26-2013, 01:03 AM   #75
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Default Re: Divided WB threatens DC films

WB is such a mess when it comes to doing a Justice League movie. Its just a never ending pre-production stage.

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