DC Films: Geoff Johns out, Ben Affleck in
By RUSSELL BERGER
Head of the ITC Comics Division/Editor
It seems like last year– oh, wait, that’s right! Last year as in roughly three weeks ago we were seeing rumors of Ben Affleck (actor, Bruce Wayne/Batman) still wanting out of his role [and the DCEU.] Rumors that were recycled and built off of the back of misinterpreted quotes.
Now, take that all into context; an Affleck who allegedly wants out, a “failing” DCEU, and a CEO (Kevin Tsujihara) who was “more concerned” about a bonus than quality– you got all of that? Well, now we’re to believe that Affleck is the answer to the head of DC Films problem? Looks like the New Year’s resolution of reeling back on rumors didn’t last too long.
If you’re unaware, there’s been a rumor making its rounds the last month [or so] as a result of Brent Lang out of Variety reporting that after the colossal failure JUSTICE LEAGUE was,
Warner Bros. is planning a shake-up and restructuring of its DC Films operation following… “Justice League.”
I’m going to be bluntly honest here, JL was definitely a [box office] disappointment. General consensus was that it should’ve brought in one-billion dollars easily, and rocketed the DCEU forward like nothing before, but it didn’t.
Even though expecting a billion was ludicrous, in hindsight, as we’ve seen the struggle the DCEU is up against with critics/bloggers. Then there’s the general disconnect with the general audience and the intricate and symbolism layered stories that Zack Snyder (director of MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN V SUPERMAN and JL) and company have told. This is nothing against the audience, but it does appear the comedy popcorn flicks are what fill the seats. Movies– i.e. the MCU that are full of jokes and don’t tend to go much deeper than “skin deep,” excluding CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLIDER of course.
I don’t think quality should be lost in order to “cash in,” but if this current rumor and the reports of Tsujihara “rushing” JL in order to preserve a bonus out of fear they [Tsujihara and Toby Emmerich] would lose them if the AT&T/Time Warner merger was to go through, it would appear that’s the direction Warner Bros. would like to go. But since said merger is being blocked by the Department of Justice, it seems as if they’re panicking to course correct.
This brings us back to the aforementioned– Geoff Johns out, and Affleck in as head of DC Films?
Simi of Up Your Geek reported,
DCEU all-stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill are reportedly in the middle of negotiations to renew their contracts this month. If the negotiations prove successful and they go through then according to contract details Ben Affleck will become the new head of DC Films and will also direct the untitled Justice League sequel.
I’ve reached out to Simi as for the source of the rumor, but [as of the publication of this article] there’s been no response.
I, personally, find this rumor extremely hard to believe. For a couple of reasons:
- Affleck stepped down as director of the upcoming Batman solo movie that Johns and he had [originally] penned the story/script for, saying,
Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.
It would seem to me that becoming the head of DC Films would take even more than directing a movie. All of the moving parts that would come with the job, supervising what’s going on with the other movies, keeping a cohesive continuity, and the various other jobs that would come with the role. It was one of the reasons I thought both Johns and Jon Berg (Co-President of Production) were originally put in place as co-heads. Johns making sure stories and continuity remained on track while Berg oversaw the “producer” side of managing the multiple movies.
- If we’re to believe he [Affleck] wants out of being Batman and overall the DCEU, why would he [willingly] ascend even further up the food chain? It doesn’t make sense to me.
I will say that I would not be too surprised if when push comes to shove that we do see Johns being “demoted” in a sense. Many of the rumors revolving around the “restructuring” of DC Films seem to have in common that he will be shifted from co-head to more of a consultant role in regard to story and continuity. Though, I do not see Affleck ascending to the throne and donning the crown.
If Warner Bros. is looking to better reception and keep quality to the DCEU, I think they’re more likely to select an individual qualified for the position than those, if I’m being frank, who are not. Like the rest of the [DCEU] fan base, I hope for longevity and success when it comes to DC Comics inspired movies. I want to see the characters I love continuing to show up on the big screen, and there needs to be real consideration put into a “restructuring” [of DC Films] than selecting the “devil you know.”
After witnessing 2017’s rollercoaster of a year when it comes to comic book movies, all I can think when thinking of those who oversee the entire process is, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
UPDATE: The rumor from Up Your Geek has since been debunked… [01/02/18]
UPDATE: Warner Bros. officially announced DC Films‘ new head… [01/04/18]