In a recent interview, Charles Roven, producer of all the DC films so far, explains why he’s stepping back from the universe, what Wonder Woman and Justice League will be like, and defends the box office of Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman.
As part of a longer interview about his career, The Hollywood Reporter asked Roven about why he’ll be stepping back from the DC Extended Universe. His answer was that it’s too hard, schedule-wise, but he also talked about what happened when they laid out the absurd schedule that WB insists on keeping to:
The studio made me the producer of all the DC movies, and they announced eight. When we finished the [timetable], we looked at each other and said, “This is incredibly ambitious, but we haven’t taken into consideration if something goes wrong.” We also hadn’t decided where we were going to shoot those movies. As difficult as it was for me to commute from Toronto to London to Italy, it became really clear I couldn’t do the job that I do as a producer [with Aquaman likely to shoot in Australia]. I’m for sure producing the sequels of the movies that I have made.
“We haven’t taken into consideration if something goes wrong.” You mean like one of the movies searching for its fourth director while still being slated for a 2018 release date?
Roven also pushed back when the interviewer asked him if the sequel budgets would be smaller since Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad didn’t make as much as was hoped. “Suicide Squad made almost $750 million. Batman v. Superman did $873 million. Those two movies were huge hits,” he answered a) not answering the question and b) not recognizing that the issue wasn’t that they made money, but that they didn’t make as much as they could have, had word of mouth been better. But that’s all par for the course for producers and studio people talking about those movies.
Roven also explained how Wonder Woman and Justice League will be “different” from what came before. He said that Wonder Woman “is an origination story, so the whole dynamic and the plot moves are different than other DC movies.” ...I thought Man of Steel was an origin story, but okay. “There’s also a great relationship between her and the guy [played by Chris Pine] who crash-lands on her island and is the trigger mechanism for her going back to man’s world,” he continued.
“Back to man’s world” is interesting. I didn’t know Diana had been outside Themiscyra prior to the events of Wonder Woman. Actually, I do wonder how old Diana is supposed to be by the time Wonder Woman occurs and whether she’s really young and inexperienced or if she’s got a long history behind her.
As for Justice League, Roven said, “We knew we were making a very serious, compelling, driving film with Batman v Superman. Now the bell has been rung and the whole tone of the movie is lighter.”
I like the way that almost sounds like that was a plan but is likely a bit of a response to everything everyone has complained about. I like how almost no one involved in any of these movies ever admits that anything is wrong with them. It’s a path to success that cannot be beaten.