Warner Bros. is enjoying some pretty excellent box office performance from Suicide Squad right now, despite getting absolutely demolished by critics, much like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and to a lesser degree, Man of Steel. DC Entertainment President Geoff Johns understands that the studio has made some mistakes on the road leading to Justice League, but he claims that they intend to fix it and was very candid about his feelings toward the gritty tone of these movies so far.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the former comic book writer turned studio executive addressed the upcoming Justice League movie and the changes that are on the way for the DC Extended Universe. Johns stated that he thinks Warner Bros. made mistakes with their previous DCEU movies, going as far as to say that "they couldn't be more wrong." Here is what he had to say.
"Mistakenly in the past I think the studio has said, 'Oh, DC films are gritty and dark and that's what makes them different.' That couldn't be more wrong," Johns said. "It's a hopeful and optimistic view of life. Even Batman has a glimmer of that in him. If he didn't think he'd make tomorrow better, he'd stop."
At this point, there is pretty much nobody that has more say over the direction of future DC Comics movies than Johns. He has a heavy hand in pretty much every DCEU project, including Justice League, that Warner Bros. has going right now and has even been writing many of the scripts for the movies, such as Wonder Woman, which is due out next year. It is a bit surprising to hear someone speak that way about the studio that they work for, but Johns has a deep understanding of what makes DC characters work, as he has worked writing some of the most well-liked storylines at DC for years prior to working on movies. It is likely his candidness and understanding the matter at hand that helped to get him where he is now.
It is no secret that Batman V Superman wasn't what anyone wanted it to be. Yes, it brought in nearly $900 million at the global box office, but with Batman and Superman appearing together for the very first time in a live-action movie, it should have easily sailed past $1 billion. Not to mention that the studio spent a staggering $250 million to produce it. One of the major complaints with the movie was Batman's very violent and murderous nature, which seemed to conflict with what helps the character resonate with fans. Johns acknowledged this as well, saying that Justice League will address the topic head on. He also mentioned that the movie will have less of Zack Snyder's flourishing touches, such as the dream sequences. It will instead focus on the main plot and characters. Here is the official synopsis for Justice League.
"Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions."
Warner Bros. has an awful lot of DCEU movies planned, and if they continue to be divisive and get trashed by critics, they likely won't be able to bring in what they need to at the box office to keep the train on the tracks. It seems like Johns understands the problems and that they are at least trying to do some course correction. We will have to wait and see just how well it worked when Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017.