It's been a long, interesting road, but Justice League is hitting theaters in just over a week. As the movie draws ever nearer to arriving, more information about the production and the final product are being revealed. Justice League clocks in at 119 minutes, making it significantly shorter than even the theatrical cut of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. As it turns out, the shorter Justice League runtime was actually mandated by Warner Bros.
According to a new in-depth report on the troublesome production of Justice League, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara put his foot down and said that the movie needed to be under two hours in length. There's no question this was in response to the divisive nature of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. While the runtime wasn't the primary problem with that movie, it's much more reasonable to expect your average moviegoer to sit through a two-hour movie, as opposed to two and a half.
Ultimately, the runtime is no indication of quality. What really matters is that Justice League is a good movie. And Warner Bros. did everything they could to ensure that's the case. Earlier this year, director Zack Snyder reportedly turned in a cut of Justice League that studio executives "felt he had made progress with the lighter elements." Though, they still felt there was room for improvement. That's when Joss Whedon was brought in to write material for the "significant" reshoots.
Zack Snyder left the project shortly after a personal tragedy, leaving Joss Whedon to direct the reshoots and usher Justice League through the editing process. The report notes that it was a difficult and long post-production process trying to meld what Whedon and Snyder did. Ultimately, they were successful. More recent cuts of the movie tested similarly to Wonder Woman, which is a very good sign. But all of this work came at a huge cost.
The report states that the already expensive blockbuster was made astronomically expensive after the Justice League reshoots and extra work was factored in. While no exact figure is given, it's said the final budget for Justice League is around $300 million. That means Warner Bros. needs this movie to make a ridiculous amount of money just to break even, after the huge marketing costs are factored in. Warner Bros. is reportedly happy with the final product and they feel Ezra Miller's Flash is going to be the breakout. That makes the Flash solo movie, which is going to adapt the Flashpoint storyline, a top priority for the studio. But they're also said to be waiting to see how Justice League does before making any major moves.
Wonder Woman changed the game for Warner Bros. and the DCEU. A lot of pressure is being put on Justice League to continue that streak. Even if this movie is a huge success, Warner Bros. president Toby Emmerich wants to focus more on making good, individual superhero movies, as opposed to worrying about interconnectivity, in the future. This report by the Wall Street Journal is certainly revealing and raises some questions. But at the end of the day, fans just want a good movie. Though it was a difficult process, it sounds like Warner Bros. may have found a way to make a Justice League movie fans will like.