Next year, Zack Snyder's Justice League will debut on the streaming service, HBO Max. Many critics point to Warner Bros. giving in to sustained fan demand in releasing the Snyder cut as a poor move, given how doing so might grant toxic fandoms greater power over a movie or film's creative aspects. In an interview with The Verge, head of HBO Max Tony Goncalves spoke about the precedent set by the release of the 'Snyder cut'.
"My reference to the fandoms is the fact that we're in a space where consumers are loud. Consumers guide, and we absolutely have to listen as an industry. I had a boss that once said, "Industry and consumers aren't always aligned, but consumers do tend to win." It's a fine balance. And I think when it comes to video, when it comes to entertainment, when it comes to content, consumers have never had more choice, and they've never had more of a voice. But that doesn't mean that we will go and invest our dollars in every single fandom that exists."
Since the HBO Max announcement regarding the release of the 'Snyder cut', multiple new online movements have sprung up demanding the director's cut of other fan-favorite films, from Star Wars to Suicide Squad. For Goncalves, while listening to a film or show's passionate fan base is important, that does not mean every one of those fandoms is going to get a new director's cut of their favorite feature.
"I think the reference to the Snyder Cut and the Friends fandom is the fact that consumers are speaking, and we have to listen. It doesn't mean that we're going to go redo every movie ever made. But I think that we definitely have to have our ear to the ground. And I think we do."
It seems HBO Max's strategy going forward will be to listen closely to the online buzz regarding their content generated by fandoms, and respond to the buzz in the best manner possible, whether by releasing a 'Snyder cut' of Justice League or inserting fan-favorite actors in upcoming projects, as happened with Henry Cavill recently returning to the DCEU to play Superman after years of speculation that he had moved on from the role.
It is a slippery slope for a studio to navigate, and one that can easily turn an artistic project into a cynical product pandering to fan demand at the cost of storytelling. Star Wars is already seeing the effects of such an approach, as each new film in the franchise delves more deeply into fan-service territory in an effort to please critics, general audiences, and every separate faction of the fandom.
A lot will depend on the world's reception to Justice League getting a redo next year in determining whether the subsequent release of the director's cuts of movies will become a new norm. And the buzz surrounding the project until the day of the release arrives means a steadily increasing subscriber's list for HBO Max, which was always the endgame, anyway. The Verge.