So according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, the budget for Justice League is somewhere in the ballpark of $300 million. The film’s ballooning budget was first due to a last-minute script rewrite by screenwriter Chris Terrio and director Zack Snyder, and also due to due to the film’s extensive reshoots.
Terrio and Snyder reportedly did a rewrite on the film to make it “less serious” and “more hopeful,” due to the poor critical reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was seen as a very dour and dreary film. Snyder completed his first cut of Justice League after the film wrapped production in October 2016. At the time, Warner Bros. thought Snyder had improved the overall tone of the films, but they also thought more work was needed to lighten things up and to bring the film under two hours for its running time.
Filmmaker Joss Whedon was then brought on to the project to perform some rewrites. He also performed some expensive, significant reshoots on the film, which he directed, after the passing of Snyder’s daughter. Per the report, the comprehensive reshoots were the cause of the film’s budget shooting up to $300 million. Additionally, Whedon’s writing is apparently very easy to notice in the Snyder-laden action sequences.
Keep in mind, the $300 million production budget for the film does not include the marketing and distribution budget. For a film of this magnitude, that adds an additional cost of another $100-$150 million at least. So the actual cost of Justice League could be closer to $450 million, if not more. Granted, Warner Bros. hopes the film to bring in a lot of cash to make up for that cost.
So here are the three things that worry me about this report.
- The Rewrites On Top Of Rewrites
By the time this film comes out who knows how close it actually was to the original vision (which was called unwatchable by WB Executives). It’s clear that Warner Bros is scared to death of negative reviews for this film (Perhaps they should pay more than Disney pays for positive press) but its fear of negative press could hurt the final product more than their original vision. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice still made $875 million at the box office. If Justice League sounds like a mess before it’s release, it could turn more people off at this rate.
2. The Film is Only 2 Hours….What?
Now I’m not saying this needs to be 3 hours and 15 minutes like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but your huge superhero team up with 3 new heroes we haven’t even been introduced PLUS the possible return of Superman is only going to be less than 2 hours long?
3. Too much Funny?
If DC is trying to be more like Marvel in terms of humor for their films, then we are in some trouble here. After watching Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Age of Ultron, etc. Marvel has a serious problem with Humor undercutting the tone and narrative of their films. Knowing Warner Bros, they are going to try to copy this model and fail miserably.
I don’t like Zack Synder or Joss Whedon to be honest but if Warner Bros is waiting on these two save their superhero universe, the DCEU may have to admit they are in way over their heads trying to copy the MCU model