When it debuts in theaters this month JUSTICE LEAGUE can thank its executives if it’s a hit, and if it fails it can blame the studio! Warner Bros. took extreme measures to make sure the DC Comics property soars into theaters rather than swan dives.
It would appear that after several starts and stops, successes and some failures, Warner Bros. the studio releasing the upcoming DC Comics blockbuster Justice League secured a series of stipulations in order to guarantee a hit at the box office. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that several key demands were initiated by WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara who made it very clear that he wanted the runtime for Justice League to come in under 2 hours!
The studio executive won that fight! Justice League is clocking in at a humbling 1 hour and 59 minutes whereas some of the studio’s recent full-length features including JL predecessors Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were nearly 3 hours in length, especially after their distribution to consumer digital formats in their “Extended Director’s Cuts”. Though the epic lengths of these films were hardly the only reason for their lackluster return.
When Wonder Woman the most recent film in the DC Extended Films Universe was released it tested supremely well with audiences, especially because their was as much heart and humor to the story as their was action and super heroics. With Gal Gadot at the center of that film, and returning for JL (along with Ben Affleck) the story demanded that when Zack Snyder began working on Justice League it should also have a good balance.
The studio though pleased with Snyder’s initial rough cut felt that it might benefit from another pass, and asked Joss Whedon (who was recruited by WB to begin work on Batgirl) to take a stab at the feature. “A lot of the work was integrating the two tones and making it feel like one movie,” an source close to the project told the WSJ. Warner Bros. president Toby Emmerich has also said: “We don’t want to limit the creativity filmmakers can bring to the table.”
Encouraged by what they’ve seen of the final cut, Warner Bros. is working on enhancing their slate of DC Comics properties and are optimistic that Justice League will put them on track. Adhering to their already anticipated JL spin-offs including Aquaman, The Flash: Flashpoint the studio announced and green lit the aforementioned Batgirl, Nightwing and at least two films that will focus on the Batman villain Joker, as well as Green Lantern Corps.
Justice League opens in theaters nationwide on November 17 and is distributed through