2017 was yet another big year for DC Entertainment. Two movies hit theaters and expanded DC Films’ shared universe. The company’s television shows continued to thrive. And we got some cool stuff from the animation and video game worlds.
In this first part of our annual reflection, we look back at all the major news, rumors, and more from the world of DC Films.
For our recap of DC Entertainment’s five biggest moments at San Diego Comic-Con, click HERE.
DC Films’ first release of 2017 is by far its biggest success. Following a marketing campaign that included trailers, magazine covers and more, Wonder Woman came in and took over the summer. The movie grossed $103 million in its opening weekend, and at $413 million, it is now the highest grossing DC Film in North America, as well as the fifth biggest in superhero history. It also wound up surpassing $800 million worldwide. Not only did the movie make money, but it earned rave reviews from critics and fans.
Unsurprisingly, Wonder Woman‘s success led to Warner Bros. quickly putting a sequel into development. Originally slated for December 13th, the sequel will now release on November 1st, 2019. Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot will return. Jenkins is also writing the script with Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham. Plot details are under wraps, but Jenkins teased the introduction of new characters – including a new love interest? Also, the film will reportedly take place in the 1980s, in the midst of the Cold War.
Wonder Woman‘s success showed what the DC Extended Universe is capable of with near-unanimous praise from critics and audiences, breathing new life into the mega-franchise. Unfortunately, the next film wasn’t as successful…
This year marked the long-awaited release of Justice League, which finally unites DC’s biggest heroes on the big screen. Warner Bros. spent the year marketing this movie, putting out trailers, toys, and even a VR experience. The film finally hit theaters last month. While Wonder Woman was DC’s biggest success, Justice League was its biggest failure. While its reviews were a little better than last year’s efforts, its box office has been a huge letdown. Its $94 million opening is the lowest in DCEU history. The movie has only made a little over $200 million domestically and $600 million worldwide. For a movie with a nearly $300 million budget, that’s just bad. This puts a dampener on plans for a sequel, which likely would have featured the Legion of Doom, as hinted at in the post-credits scene.
Fans go back-and-forth on Justice League‘s quality. But one of the film’s biggest talking points over the summer was the extensive reshoots. After Zack Snyder dropped out to deal with a family tragedy, Joss Whedon took over to write and direct new scenes. Whedon got a screenplay credit, and he brought composer Danny Elfman on board. The most noticeable part of the reshoots in the movie was Superman’s face, which was digitally altered in some scenes to remove Henry Cavill’s mustache.
Warner Bros. is responding to this failure by overhauling its DC Films banner, which was just formed over a year ago. Jon Berg is leaving, Geoff Johns’s role is decreasing, and Zack Snyder will likely never direct another DC movie. WB is also said to be pursuing more standalone, filmmaker-driven movies that don’t rely on building a shared universe.
Fortunately, WB is all in with the next DC film, Aquaman, which is the company’s only movie for 2018. The movie – which is now hitting theaters on December 21st of next year – filled out the rest of its cast, which includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, and Dolph Lundgren. The film began production this May and wrapped in October, with a reported production budget of $160 million.
Aquaman was featured at WB’s San Diego Comic-Con panel this year, but since then, we haven’t heard too much. We recently got a new still and plot details, while director James Wan discussed the movie’s villain(s). But we’re a whole year away from the film’s release, so there’s plenty of time to push the marketing campaign.
Following Aquaman, the next DC film to shoot is New Line’s Shazam, which has been in the works for a while. Director David F. Sandberg is tackling the film, which is written by Darren Lemke and Henry Gayden. After looking at several actors (including John Cena?), Zachary Levi was cast as the original Captain Marvel. The rest of the cast so far includes Asher Angel, Grace Fulton, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ian Chen, and Jovan Armand. Production will begin in February for an April 2019 release.
However, one character who won’t be appearing is Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam. Originally set to be the main villain, The Rock will instead headline his own movie. The plan is for the two characters to be established in their own movies, before crossing over in a sequel. Instead, Shazam will feature Dr. Sivana, with Mark Strong in talks to play him. However, there is talk of Black Adam debut in another DC sequel…
There are still plans for a Suicide Squad sequel. The first movie won an Academy Award for Best Makeup & Hairstyling, the first DCEU movie to do so. For the sequel, Warner Bros. considered several directors, including Mel Gibson, to take over from David Ayer. Adam Cozad was recruited to write a draft earlier this year. Eventually, Gavin O’Connor was hired to direct and rewrite. The plan is to shoot next year, but due to Will Smith’s schedule, it probably won’t get started until October. Plot details are under wraps, but rumor has it that Black Adam could make his debut here.
Meanwhile, spinoffs are also still in the works. There hasn’t really been any new news on Gotham City Sirens, other than conflicting reports on the film’s status. However, David Ayer hopes to tell this story about three powerful women. Additionally, a Joker/Harley Quinn movie starring Margot Robbie and Jared Leto is in the works, while Robbie says a separate Harley Quinn project is also in development. Leto will also reportedly reprise his role in Suicide Squad 2 and Gotham City Sirens.
Next, we have big developments on DC’s biggest hero. Despite plans to film this year, Ben Affleck dropped out of directing The Batman. After a search for a new director, Matt Reeves was hired to do it. Reeves says that he’s crafting his own story, instead of using Affleck’s script. But, he wants to tell a personal, noir-driven story that showcases Batman’s detective skills. Also, the film is (for now) still set in the DC Extended Universe, but it’ll still be a standalone story focused on, well, Batman.
As for Affleck, well… it looks like he won’t star in this movie either. Rumors first came out this past summer that Warner Bros. was planning to recast. Affleck responded by saying he wanted to do the movie, but in more recent interviews, he sounded less optimistic about it. Most recently, it was reported that Reeves is indeed looking to recast the role for his movie. However, Batfleck may live on for one other movie…
The Flash movie lost a couple directors last year. At the beginning of this year, a new screenwriter was hired, and a slew of big directors were courted, with Robert Zemeckis said to be the top choice. At San Diego Comic-Con, WB confirmed that the film’s title is Flashpoint, and it will adapt one of the biggest DC stories ever. The movie will feature other Justice League members, such as Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Batman.
Last we heard, Flashpoint is still a priority, following the positive reception to Ezra Miller’s performance in Justice League. A director is expected to be hired soon. Considering how the original comic reshaped the DC Universe, the film is speculated to be a reset of sorts for the films (including the Batman recast?). But, specific details are still unknown.
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