20th Century Fox: Tales of a Franchiseless Major Studio

 

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Marilyn Monroe once said, “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” It’s also a place to make movies that gross over $200 million, and compensate individuals handsomely to throw around those thousand dollar kisses. Don’t be fooled anymore by box-office revenues; now that 3D and IMAX have doubled the admission prices from merely a decade ago, $200 million is the new $100 million. It’s the benchmark for commercial success nowadays.

There have been many films that generated over $200 million recently. Heck, Hunger Games just opened to a $161 million weekend and is already the 12th highest grossed movie of the year, which might give Iron Man 3 a run for the number 1 spot in 2013. One thing I noticed, however, is that Fox has not had a movie in the top 10 grossing movies since Avatar was number 1 in 2009.

With the success of a $749,766,139 movie, the green light to build a franchise out of Avatar was lit brighter than Green Lantern’s light, but we won’t get to see Avatar 2 until December 2016. Avatar 2 will certainly open to similar success of its predecessor, but in the meantime Fox really needs to put their head down, roll up their sleeves look at other potential big-scale films that can turn into a mega-franchise. Long gone are the days when Independence Day was casting a huge shadow over every other Summer movie back in 1996. It’s time for Fox to move on from such glory days and get back in shape.

All major studios have franchises they can count on to generate top dollar for them. Disney unfairly has the Marvel Universe and Star Wars, which should put pressure on Fox to produce some good movies. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe Fox might miss the top 10 again, but I personally think that X-Men: Days of Future Past will past the $200 million domestic mark. The highly anticipated film should have a strong opening weekend against the other movies being released. Of the 4 X-Men ensemble movies and 2 Wolverine stand-alone ones, only X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand has crossed the $200 million mark. I think Fox realizes with the recent success of the superhero genre, this is their go-to franchise to bring in the dough.

Hence, they’ve turned to one of the most beloved storylines in the X-Men continuum to reenergize the studio. This is a film that combines all the X-Men movies together in one, and with the storyline of going back to the past to change the future, they open up an opportunity to branch out the X-Men franchise and spin off movies as they like.

20th Century Fox may not have had a movie in the top 10 since 2009, but they do have 3 in the top 10 in all time domestic grosses: Avatar, Star Wars: Episode 1 and Episode 4. Now that Star Wars is the property of Disney, it is expected that Fox will invest heavily in Avatar and make it a franchise that will bring them a movie in the top 10 box office grosses on an annual basis. The best thing about working with James Cameron is also the worst thing about working with James Cameron, however. The man redefines the meaning of perfectionist. He literally obsesses over his projects even well after his moive has been released (as you might remember, he was still diving within the remains of the Titanic years after his movie had broken box-office records). In other words, Fox needs him more than he needs them.

If Cameron comes back to Fox and says he needs another year, Cameron is going to get another year. They can penalize him somehow but it won’t matter. Avatar is his baby and he remains the director with the most leverage in Hollywood as far as studio negotiation. While they go back to the X-Men well for the seventh time next Summer, the executives in charge of their movie division really need to start thinking about brands that might not be recognized now but will be due to other highly appealing factors. They should regard this down period as an opportunity to create something fresh, something audiences wouldn’t normally expect.

In retrospect, it remains somewhat surprising that Fox hasn’t had a movie reach 200M for such a long period of time, and it doesn’t help when you have bombs like Runner, Runner and the Counselor stumble out of the gate opening week-end and have negative feedback from audiences and critics alike. However, it helps ease the pain when you have the highest domestic grossing movie of all-time bound to start sequelization within your studio’s portfolio.

One that can buy almost 750,000 kisses (with adjusted inflation).

– The Silent Shark

Tales From The Marvel Universe: The Pressures of an ROI

 

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One thing remains certain in this world other than death or taxes: Marvel as a property breathes incredible financial success. Everyone in the world now knows who the Avengers are, demonstrated by being one of the highest grossing films of all time. Iron Man 3 was the first film to spin-off the events of the Avengers and was easily the largest box-office hit of the year both domestically and worldwide. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron has officially been announced and has everyone excited to see Joss Whedon repeat his monstrous success one more time. In the meantime, however, some strange happenings have been coming out of The Walt Disney Company with regards to the Marvel Universe. The kinds of behaviors that investors normally have when their tie is starting to slowly strangle them.

The weird feeling started pointing its nose three weeks before the release of Iron Man 3. Disney/Marvel decided to change the pieces on the chessboard and asked all major theatre chains to take a smaller percentage of movie ticket sales. The bad press started dripping some serious ink and the studio was characterized as overly aggressive and unreasonable in their business dealings with distributors. The chains decided to stand united in response (a little bit like The Avengers when they’re all standing around in a circle) and chose not to sell tickets for Iron Man 3 unless Disney got off their backs. The Mouse House did. Referring to Disney’s revenue demands, AMC’s Chief Executive Gerry Lopez told The Los Angeles Times: “The depth and the breadth of the ask puts us in a very, very uncomfortable situation (…) clearly they are under some kind of financial pressure.” RED FLAG #1: MARVEL IS BULLYING ALL MAJOR THEATRE CHAINS IN ORDER TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK.

Fast foward to the end of Summer 2013 where Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has clearly positioned itself as one of the most anticipated TV shows of the Fall. The show kicks in with a great pilot episode and seemingly promises to satisfy our Avengers cravings until 2015. However, only 4 episodes in, the show begins to show signs of weakness in terms of action and character development. Let’s look at a superhero TV show that’s done it right before in comparison: Smallville. Smallville followed a great format in the beginning of the series: a mysterious event occurs, Clark and Chloe play Sherlock to unravel the mystery, a big action filled climax, and finally what they learned from the episode. This is what made Smallville a great TV show – action mixed with good character development. However, it also worked because we actually cared about the fact that Clark was eventually set to become Superman.

When it comes to S.H.I.E.L.D., we don’t actually know who we’re supposed to be cheering for. Agent Coulson? Skye? The dude agent that never smiles? Marvel might forget that we don’t even know much about Coulson in the first place because he was merely a cameo in the other films. Though Clark Gregg does a great job playing Agent Coulson, our need to focus on him isn’t really defined. I’m sure if he died in the next episode (which he clearly can’t because of The Avengers), the show would still carry on and not have much impact. The show lacks an anchor, which is probably why viewers find it unsatisfying and have already started tuning off according to Nielsen ratings. Bottom line: It’s a bad show and since it wasn’t due to lack of resources or caring, it’s fair to assume that was due to a rush in production, script, and the overall creative process. But who keeps rushing them like that? The same folks that AMC’s Gerry Lopez was talking about? RED FLAG #2: MARVEL IS PUTTING OUT BRAND DAMAGING, LESSER QUALITY CONTENT IN ORDER TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK.

Next up: Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy? Anyone? I consider myself a humble reader of mainstream comics, and yet all I know is that there is a racoon on the team and that Thanos has something to do with them. I can tell you about Spider-Man’s date of birth or all the characters that came and went through the revolving door at Avengers Mansion, but I honestly know zilch about the Guardians of the Galaxy. Who has decided to green-light that property when so many movies in recent years (cue in John Carter and Green Lantern) should have served as a warning sign?

According to IMDb, Chris Pratt plays Star Lord – an interplanetary policeman. I guess he might be considered the Green Lantern of the Marvel Universe. Zoe Saldana plays the daughter of Thanos, which could be a critical plot line of the movie (but again, what do I know about this movie?). And the two biggest names of the cast; Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, aren’t even physically in the movie – they are voice-acting for a CGI raccoon and “hyper-intelligent tree-like creature”, respectively. My guess is that they lacked the starpower to attract an audience, and neither Bradley Cooper nor Vin Diesel could turn down the publicity involved in attaching their names to Marvel just for a couple of headphone-wearing line delivery sessions. Same reason these sub-Pixar animated movies are always packed with big names. And if you aren’t shocked by the decision to make a GOTG movie, wait until Ant-Man shows up in 2015. That’s right, ANT-MAN is getting his own movie. Ant-Man. RED FLAG #3: MARVEL IS GREEN-LIGHTING B-GRADE LEVEL COMIC BOOK PROPERTIES IN ORDER TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK.

If you disagree with my piece, your defense mechanisms should have kicked in by now. Every major entertainment brand does that! Marvel was giving sub-level heroes their movie properties back in the nineties! Distributors should thank their lucky stars they had Iron Man 3 this Summer! Okay, okay. But I have one more red flag for you. It’s when licensing goes beserk… The official news that Disney… are you ready? are you sitting down? Okay. That official news that Disney Consumer Products will market Marvel-branded fruits and vegetables. Holy cabbage, Thor!!! RED FLAG #4: MARVEL IS WHORING THEIR LICENSING ONTO ANY CONSUMER PRODUCT AVAILABLE TO MANKIND IN ORDER TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK.

Up until April 2013, the rule of thumb for Disney/Marvel was always to carefully build their brand and universe around Iron Man and The Avengers. That universe alone has limitless storytelling possibilities and one movie per annum sounded like the perfect release platform to keep audiences engaged for decades. Decades, however, don’t give you the cash flow necessary to pay your interest rates back. Interest rates, however again, that you might have incurred by spending 7.4 BILLION to buy Pixar, 4 BILLION to buy Marvel and another 4 BILLION to buy Lucasfilm. That’s over 15 BILLION dollars so regardless of how low-interest Disney’s borrowing plan might be, even The Avengers won’t come to their rescue fast enough.

Speaking of thunder, Thor 2 is coming out next month. I, for one, couldn’t be less thrilled to see it simply for the fact that I feel Marvel has been in overkill mode. It’s like I’ve been eating my favorite dish of pasta every single night for a year. Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta, but not as much as I used to. As a huge Joss Whedon fan, I sincerely hope he has a plan to make Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in more cohesively with the incredible universe he was able to craft with The Avengers. I’m just afraid that all this piggybacking might prove so heavy that he won’t be able to lift them up; instead, they’re simply going to bring him down.

– The Silent Shark

The Curse Of The Hollywood Stud Ryans

 

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Search for the first name Ryan on IMDb and four names will stand out from an endless sea of CW extras. All youthful and athletic during their peak, these four Ryans share nothing in common other than an inexplicable box-office success that only translates to romantic movies but not much else. Some of you will stop reading right here and start writing comments on how pointless this piece is. Go right ahead, but know this before you fail to resist the temptation of online message board negativity: I have a point to make about Hollywood’s inner workings and only those with enough virtue to sit through this seemingly irrelevant exercise in trivial comparisons will get to comprehend it. Are we all ready? Let’s start with the first Ryan then – The true original.

STUD RYAN NUMBER ONE: Ryan O’Neal

Academy Award nominee, father of Tatum and all around classic good-looking stud. Love Story (1970) – a film primarily targeted at setting unrealistic relationship expectations for the young female demographic – propelled him into stardom. He was able to sustain relative mainstream success and critical accolades in the early part of the 70’s and was lucky enough to star in the timeless classic Barry Lyndon – the period piece Kubrick always wanted to make. Not too long after that, he found himself going back to the well in order to regain commercial appeal with Oliver’s Story, an unnecessary sequel to his original chick flick surprise hit. He eventually was passed over by movie studios as a once bankable name and his career faded over a span of ten years. He later found a second life by starring in various television series.

STUD RYAN NUMBER TWO: Ryan Phillippe

Also better known as Mr. Reese Witherspoon back in the early 2000’s, he’s been in a number of movies that you probably forgot he was in – including Crash (the surprising Best Picture Winner from Paul Haggis). With the acting ability of a Johnny Depp and the looks of a more restrained Justin Timberlake, Phillippe enjoyed supporting roles in high profile projects like Altman’s Gosford Park and Eastwood’s Flags of our Fathers. Commercially however, his obvious appeal to the female population never translated into Hollywood stardom and he was not able to recapture the role that put him on the map: A stud-looking stud who discovers he has inhibited feelings in 1999’s teen hit Cruel Intentions. Soon turning 40 next year, he followed the Ryan curse by redirecting his career to television as he expertly plays Channing McLaren on the TV Series Damages.

STUD RYAN NUMBER THREE: Ryan Reynolds

Reynolds has been voted sexiest man alive so there’s no denying that Hollywood invested big dollars to make him a bona fide movie star. Shouldn’t that be enough to draw a crowd to the box office and average more than $48,231,858? Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper were the winners around his year and their average gross $76 million $93 million and $90 million. I personally feel like he chooses bad projects to work on even though he is constantly given plenty of opportunities. Reynolds was supposed to use Green Lantern to establish his box office fortune. Playing Hal Jordan once every 2-3 years would have established him as a longer-term, star, but that movie’s box-office failure put him back to square one. His true hit came with Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal”, whereas “Safe House” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” inflated his average because of Denzel Washington and Hugh Jackman, respectively. Denzel could’ve made Safe House with Justin Bieber and I still would have seen it because Denzel is a great actor. And Deadpool was replaced by another actor at the end of the X-Men Origins. Ryan Reynolds still has a marketable name, and if they can recreate Green Lantern with a better story or give him the Deadpool franchise to run away with, he’ll be where he should be at the box-office rankings.

STUD RYAN NUMBER FOUR: Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling is a great actor who has already proved through a variety of projects that he isn’t afraid to play against type. However, I was a little surprised when I went onto Box-office Mojo and noticed the average box office revenue from the films he starred in was only $23,752,875. Sure, this average counts movies like All Good Things, The Slaughter Rule (?) and The Believer (?!?). These three movies opened in only eight theaters – COMBINED. Actors are still artists and they like to do work they believe in. However, I only consider this as a good idea after they’ve established themselves as a top grossing stud. Ryan Gosling has been thrown into the draft pool of Bruce Wayne candidates by Warner Bros, and his agent should be doing everything he can to make that happen (much to the anger of most fans) for his client’s sake. While we appreciate his Refn collaborations and streak of great indie films, it’s clear that studios want to make him a true movie star and branching out into genres other than chick flicks hasn’t worked for him. Not yet at least.

OK. WHAT’S THE POINT?

Too often we watch movies and wonder why the up-and-coming stars of tomorrow somehow remind us of the ones of yesterday. Perhaps it is coincidence that Brad Pitt bears a striking resemblance to Robert Redford. Or perhaps it is not. Beyond the similar names, similar faces, and similar parts are Hollywood career formulas that work like assigned seating – young actors get invited to sit into chairs for a number of years and are asked to move on eventually. The Hollywood Stud Ryan is one of these chairs. It’s just another formula of a career that fills theater seats by catering to an audience that will never grow tired of it.

Because Hollywood wants to keep churning out roles for a young Nicole Kidman even after she’s become a seasoned veteran, they found us Amy Adams to fill into these brainy superhero love interest shoes. Scripts for a young Michelle Pfeiffer are still up for grabs and Amanda Seyfried is getting them all delivered on her front porch. Rob Lowe’s still looking good but we might as well go with Zac Efron to play that charming lead. The screenplays keep coming, and the roles always call for the same fit. So who the hell is young Pacino, you ask? We don’t know yet and we might never actually find one. While you can’t look at this forward, you can definitely look at it backwards. In other words, classic movie stars might never meet their match but the majority of the young movie stars we have today relate back to a famous Tinseltown A-list name.

That all four actors covered in this piece were named Ryan is nothing more than a fluffy factoid – I am sure their parents had other reasons for choosing that name. Speaking of parents, Ryan O’Neal’s career high was in Paper Moon in 1973, a movie in which he co-starred with his daughter Tatum O’Neal. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and young Tatum walked away with the Best Supporting Actress statuette. Nowadays, Tatum is a name audiences associate to Channing Tatum, another Hollywood Stud Ryan who broke out in romance chick flicks and has defeated the curse by starring in a number of various box-office hits.

What a Ryan couldn’t do, a Tatum did… Your mind can safely blow up now.

– The Silent Shark

Why Batman Versus Superman is the Best Thing to Happen to Warner Bros. Since the Looney Tunes

 

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San Diego Comic-Con is the masterful geek event of the year that reminds millions of guys out there that having a girlfriend is highly overrated. Wondrous things were cooking again last week-end at Hall H when the two master of ceremonies – Marvel’s Joss Whedon and DC’s Zack Snyder – made some major announcements that were simply too big to ignore. The one from Whedon was a movie title and a villain reveal – one that would have meant more had Whedon also hinted at a specific comic book storyline being adapted. He is very much going in his own direction with the character, however, and only the foolish would seriously complain about ‘Whedon doing his thing’.

On the other side of the spectrum, the next step in the DC Universe has been announced: The Man of Steel sequel WILL BE featuring a new Batman. It isn’t the Justice League movie that so many fanboys have been hoping for, but it is a step in the right direction, and quite frankly, a very necessary one. Snyder has already confirmed that he will offer his own fresh interpretation on Batman, meaning Christopher Nolan’s Bat-Universe would probably have little, if any, ties to this new DC Universe. Almost certainly, this new Batman will comfortably spin into his own franchise and Christian Bale is not going to be in the same room or non-past tense sentence as Batman ever again. Since the SDCC announcement, bookmakers have already favored Joseph Gordon-Levitt to star as the new Dark Knight. As much as we would LOVE to see a baby-faced actor play one of the darkest super heroes ever created, casting JGL as Batman essentially means Dick Grayson takes over the mantle of Batman and Bruce Wayne will cease to exist in the new franchise. While that might have been my suggestion regarding the demise of Hal Jordan and the introduction of John Stewart to properly reboot The Green Lantern, Bruce Wayne is and will always remain the only true caped crusader.

Having a World’s Finest movie is definitely a bold move because Warner Bros. needs the spotlight back on them and start taking risks if they want to build the foundation of a franchise that could yield billions of dollars for them. In my last piece, I discussed the prospect of individual movies like the Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to establish the franchise, but that became insignificant when Christian Bale essentially rejected the notion of playing Batman again. Superman and Batman are the two most marketable characters in the DC Universe and you need the two anchors to be fully established in a shared DC Universe to make the other complementary characters work. Just imagine if Robert Downey Jr. had rejected the contract to play Iron Man in the next Avengers movies. He’s the glue that holds the team together! Batman is that character to the Justice League.

Many feel that Man of Steel was “too big” of a movie – meaning the fight scenes through buildings, Krypton, and the world engine were an absolute overkill of eye candy (and actual killing if we want to take that one literally). While it’s hard to supersede that much action in a sequel, this Batman vs Superman flick will surely deal with the emotion and weakness of Superman in order to properly adapt and scale it back down. Unlike Zod and the gang, Batman can be murdered by Superman with the flick of his pinky, and thus we can all agree that the action should be on a much smaller scale in this sequel. This is a good thing though, as the audience will get to connect with Kal El on a more personal basis, making him even more marketable.

But what about Batman? Will Warner Bros surely risk the foundation of a billion dollar franchise on a lesser-known celebrity? My gut tells me that Armie Hammer was virtually trying out for this role with Lone Ranger, to see if he could carry a movie with Johnny Depp as his sidekick. Boxofficemojo.com has been quantitatively reporting to us that he can’t. It is so important for WB to have a big-time celebrity play the new Dark Knight because Marvel’s Avengers has Robert Downey Jr. as the main guy – an actor we fell in love with all over again but already had admiration for a long time ago. The new Bruce Wayne will have to put a Justice League movie on his back and guide a new Batman franchise to stardom, just as RDJ did as Iron Man. Who can go head-to-head with RDJ as Iron Man? Maybe George Clooney, but sadly Joel Shumacher ruined his shot at it. I would personally go with Michael Fassbender. Recently rose to fame, already respected in the comic book genre, incredibly talented and undeniably dark in his demeanor.

Zack Snyder has already stated that he will not adapt the Dark Knight Returns storyline by Frank Miller in the sequel, but hinted that he will use it as potential inspiration. What does this mean? Probably the type of Batman we will see, as well as the rivalry between the two superheroes. How this rivalry will spawn the Justice League, however, will be very intriguing and interesting to predict. We probably won’t see the Flash, Wonder Woman or Green Lantern in this flick, as its main purpose is to reintroduce a new Batman to the world and make Superman more personable and even perhaps relatable.

Fanboys and general audiences alike loved the bonus credit scenes that Marvel incorporated into their movies. If DC does anything like that, they will be labelled copycats and that’s not very nice now, is it? Nevertheless, we did enjoy the little easter eggs in Man of Steel, such as Christopher Reeve’s face against the World Engine, the LexCorp logos on the truck and building, and the Wayne Enterprises satellite. Keep this up, DC! Maybe have Superman walk around STAR Labs and pass by a green Martian. Or have a bolt of lightning strike in the background as Superman flies through Keystone City. These will help connect little dots between the movies and make your core fanbase crave for more.

The bar is set so high to replace Christian Bale as Batman. We will all be excited to see a new Batman and can expect to see one even grittier than Nolan’s considering Snyder’s affinity for violence and antihero types.  Have no fear, I am fairly confident we won’t be seeing a Clooney Batman pulling his “Bat-Credit Card” in front of his nemesis and utter such unfortunate words as “Never leave the cave without it.” Curse you Akiva Goldsman! We’re still mad at you for that line!

– The Silent Shark

Dear WB execs: Here’s How You Get From Man of Steel to The Justice League

 

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After depositing an astounding 1.5 billion dollars into Mickey Mouse’s private bank account, we’ve almost reached a consensus amongst moviegoers that Marvel’s The Avengers is the standard on how to make “The Ultimate Superhero Team-up Movie.” While The Watchmen, The X-men, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were a little ahead of their time when they landed onto our precious silver screens, The Avengers had the luxury of establishing each of their characters individually in their own solo pictures – thus allowing formal introductions to be over and done with before the movie’s very first frame. It’s safe to say The Avengers would have never experienced such a resonant worldwide success if moviegoers were wondering how Tony Stark built his shiny armor or how Thor grew such amazing biceps.

20th Century Fox realized how important back stories were, and went in reverse mode with their fragile piece of the Marvel Universe after X-Men: The Last Stand by sharing the origins of Wolverine, Professor Xavier and Magneto in following prequels. Which now brings us to our friends at Warner Bros. who must be having one too many sleepless nights wondering how they could possibly top The Avengers. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that “The WB” needs to catch up to Disney’s prized franchise and is already miles behind at this point in the race. The last scenario they want to live through is to see their first installment of The Justice League getting annihilated at the box-office in the same Summer as Marvel’s The Avengers 3: The Return of Loki.

Jon Favreau’s original Iron Man ended with the surprise after-credits appearance of Nick Fury, thus allowing Marvel to tell the audience they were making an Avengers movie in a few years and to stay tuned for further developments. “Please be sure to catch the next character flicks so that you don’t get confused when the ball drops on Times Square” was the message they sent us. We listened. But since we never got to witness Nick Fury’s DC counterpart appear in either Green Lantern nor The Dark Knight Rises, we’re all left with a tiny shred of hope that there will be some sort of hint about a DC Cinematic Universe being established in Man of Steel. As a self-professed DC Comics fan myself, I therefore present to you my humble summary of how I would like to see each of these iconic characters be approached and developed on the silver screen:

(Fair assumption before we start: The cast will clearly include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and most likely The Flash and Green Lantern.)

Superman: Cavill. Perfect.

Batman: Bale. Pay him. Pay him lots.

Wonder Woman: Diana Prince has always been rumored to appear on the small screen for the longest time on NBC. Sadly for many of us, the small screen is the only place she’s ever belonged as far as adaptations go and that’s a real shame considering her stature within the DC Universe. However, I would be in support of a high-risk experiment that would develop a TV show that leads into the Justice League movie. Picture this: A whole season of character-establishing back-stories in the Amazon and in Washington only to leave you on a cliffhanger at the end of the season – fade to black and then the promise of a satisfying resolution coming soon within the Justice League movie. The problem aside from being an unprecedented experiment is that casting for TV tends to bring a different slate of candidates than casting for the big screen (Sorry, Tom Welling)… Would we really want to see Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow standing short in IMAX 3D next to Christian Bale and Henry Cavill? Let’s face it: it’s no simple feat to cast someone who works simultaneously well on both screens. I think Jennifer Garner would be a great Wonder Woman, regardless of her portrayal of Elektra, and she would be my pick to carry the lasso and fly the invisible jet. However, WB producers would need to take into account her arrangement with Ben Affleck as they take turns working on projects to take care of their family.

The Flash: Ryan Reynolds was originally attached to a David Goyer treatment that never came to fruition and moved on to become the Emerald Ring slinger a few years later. In my opinion, Ryan’s sense of humor would have made Flash a fan favorite, but there’s no way Ryan can play the speedster at this point in time as it would confuse casual moviegoers significantly. So here’s my pitch instead: Adam Brody plays the role of Barry Allen in a movie titled “The Fastest Man Alive”. We learn that he was born into the speed force and a lightning “accident” catalyzed his transformation into the Flash. Police scientist by day, he’s always been trying to crack the mystery of his mother’s murder, which we will later find out was a result of Reverse Flash trying to stop Barry Allen from being born in the first place, but couldn’t go back in time far enough to kill his mother. Barry begins to study the speed force with a University research team funded by the Wayne Foundation, later realizing the lead researcher is the great grandfather of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. In this twist filled adventure, viewers are greeted with the special effects and get to experience what the speed force might be like in 3D. The “Avengers-esque” after-credits scene could show Barry running to Gotham City to ask Lucius Fox what he knows about the speed force. I’m getting way over my head on this, but only because the Flash is one of my favorite characters!

The Green Lantern: Warner Bros. ended its disappointing Green Lantern movie with a premature, nay, completely awkward introduction of Sinestro and his shiny yellow ring. I’d say the best thing to fix this mess is to make a Green Lantern sequel (Yes… I actually just uttered the words “green”, “lantern”, and “sequel” back-to-back) and use it to introduce John Stewart to the DC Universe so he can effectively become the actual Green Lantern of the Justice League. Picture this, movie geeks: Sinestro kills Blake Lively (why thank you good Sir!), which drives Hal Jordan mad with the fear of losing all of his loved ones. Parallax (let’s say he infused himself in the battle with Hal Jordan) and Sinestro go on a killing spree and destroy the Corps, but the Guardians were able to deliver one last ring to John Stewart: Hal Jordan’s. Ultimately, Jordan’s willpower overcomes Parallax for a few moments in the final battle where he helps John Stewart defeat Sinestro (Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker/Emperor Palpatine redux?) and dies from his battle wounds. Stewart, who could only be played by the suave and deep-voiced Idris Elba, knows he won’t be able to defend the universe on his own without the rest of the corps and therefore decides to enlist in the Justice League so he can help defend sector 2514. This will most likely garner a lot of cheers from the fans as Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern will be successfully wiped off our collective subconscious and we can begin the process of rebuilding the Corps (symbolism of the Green Lantern movie franchise). Too violent, perhaps? It all depends on who directs it and more specifically how the death scenes are portrayed on the big screen.

Five iconic characters to properly “kickstart” the Justice League franchise seems like a spectacular launch to me. Those are all storylines that come directly from the comic books, but that have been effectively twisted in order to fit the silver screen. Whatever happens inside WB’s stress-induced executive boardrooms, let’s just hope that Man of Steel makes enough money worldwide to start building the kind of momentum we need to propel our beloved Justice League and ignite a questionably mature sense of glee within fanboys and fangirls alike.  – The Silent Shark