Monday, 10 September 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #951: What's The Matter With DC?

In Hollywood if at first you don't succeed, spend a truckload of other people's money to try and try again. This is especially true of DC Comics and their attempts to get anything live action that doesn't have Batman or Superman involved.

However even Superman and Batman have been victimized by Warner/DC's particular brand of development hell. Remember 15 years and $50 million were pissed away before they plopped the lackluster and mopey Superman Returns on screens, and thousands of Bat-Fans were emotionally scarred by nipples and thongs on the Bat-Suit.

Every other attempt to get DC's superheroes on the live action big screen either fizzle out un-filmed (Wonder Woman), or flop horribly (Green Lantern). They're so desperate and flailing they're even trying to bring back Lobo from the tomb of the irrelevant 1990s.

It's not faring that much better on TV. Outside of their Superman's Wonder Years show Smallville, which did run like 10 years, the fields are scattered with dead pilots (Aquaman and Wonder Woman) and others that make it only to 1-2 seasons at best (Birds of Prey, Human Target).

Now they're trying to get re-invent two long running DC heroes for TV. Green Arrow is being reborn as Arrow, which the advance publicity says is going to feature him battling sinister corporate types over super-villains. Which will probably shift to super-villains mid-season and most likely end up in yet another truncated run. 

They're also taking another crack at Wonder Woman with the CW commissioning a pilot script entitled Amazon. Reports say that they're going to Smallville the Amazonian princess, centering on her teens years before she comes out as a fully formed hero.
This comes hot on the high heels of NBC's un-sold pilot from chick-TV magnate David E. Kelly. Kelly's concept was to give Wonder Woman three separate identities: superhero, bitchy corporate big-wig, and neurotic every-woman. Just about everyone who saw it said it was awful, and the bits I saw only agreed with that judgement.

Making movies and TV shows from comic book heroes should be easy for DC/Warner Bros. They've been part of the same mega-conglomerate since the 1970s, and takes out the whole "looking for material and buying the rights" stage of the process.

But outside of animated television/DVD projects and the Batman films made by Legendary Pictures, they can't seem to do anything without wasting millions of dollars and the times of everyone involved from the film's makers to the audience.

I've griped about it before, but I think the biggest problem they have is that they don't seem to realize that they have a problem.

Marvel used to fail miserably at the movies while DC was basking in the glow of the Superman and Batman movies of the late-70s and 1980s. Marvel's failure was that they didn't have any direct connection to a movie studio and had to make deals with different studios and independent producers, and the deals they made, and the rare films made from those deals were really bad.

Nowadays Marvel is a movie powerhouse so big that Disney was willing to shell out billions to buy them, and be a good deal for Disney.

What happened to make them so hot after decades of skirting bankruptcy and failure?

They realized that they had a problem.

When they got some clout after the success of the X-Men movie, they took the bull by the horns and made a plan.

They got the best deals they could, and when they had the money and the clout, they started producing their own movies. Their development process was streamlined, and they did everything they could to present their characters in the best light on the big screen.

Warner/DC doesn't see that they have a problem at all.

That's the problem.

Will they ever see if they have a problem?

Not as long as Legendary and Chris Nolan continue to help them pump out DC related hits that they can take credit for. But if they lose these partners, they'll lose their ability to get anything accomplished at all.


  1. Did you see last night's Robot Chicken DC Comics Special? Pretty much nothing but shock value and references. DC should have realized only the first Robot Chicken Star Wars special was funny, and none of the show's previous DC skits were that memorable.

    With this and previews of Star Wars: Detours, Seth Green and Matthew Senreich should probably realize by now authorized parody is often a misnomer.

  2. DC had one decent tv show "Smallville" and one decent movie franchise Batman. Although they managed to mess up Batman several times.

    They failed enough and spent enough money. I don't think they'll pull out. DC has always been arrogant even when it was just comic vs comics. I think they are the alcoholics who eventually die in the gutter.

    They need a whole new management who doesn't believe their owed the brass ring just because they own the most recognizable titles and characters.

    Rainforest Giant

  3. advance publicity says is going to feature him battling sinister corporate types over super-villains

    Well, as long as they are doing something truly original. Maybe they can name the corporate evil guy "Snidely Whiplash".

  4. For those who want to see the WW tv show without scarring, here's a group of nerds sporking it:

    As for the rest? I'm just going to be crying over here in the corner.

  5. I forgot to add that they whole premise for the Kelly WW pilot was horrible.

    I can see that Kelly would like to go to familiar territory what with the waif skinny female lawyer and all but that way leads to madness. Better to stick with the WW we know and love. If Kelly has to do a super powered lady lawyer, there's a certain 'She-Hulk' I'd like him to meet.

    Rainforest Giant

  6. I just realized Snipes will be out of prison soon. Marvel could do worse than to grab Snipes while he's cheap for a tv series. There's about a dozen characters he could portray besides Blade. He's been in some decent movies. If they give him a chance and he scores they've struck gold.


  7. oh, so that's what wonderwoman is going to look like huh? Ok. Suddenly I'm interested again...