The benefits of ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’: how Warner is profiting from a lost investment
At this point, it is not too clear if ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League‘is going to throw some kind of profit on Warner. The first impulse for the outside observer is to assume that not too much: the budget for the reassembly skyrocketed far beyond what was originally planned, and the company is going to have to face an inevitable crisis with Snyder fans from now on, as soon as the #ReleasetheSnydersCut is definitively replaced by the #RestoretheSnyderVerse, claiming sequels for the ‘Snyder’s Cut’ that will not arrive.
It is difficult to assess the figures of the project beyond the very scarce data in this regard that we have right now. With $ 300 million originally in budget and a Joss Whedon montage gross of nearly $ 700 million, media like Deadline Hollywood they estimated that the film had lost Warner $ 60 million. To that are added the expenses of the ‘Snyder’s Cut’, which finally amounted to about 70 million, well above the 30 or 40 initially expected.
And to all that is added that HBO Max is extremely opaque when it comes to giving viewing figures or any other kind. Although it could be a good advertising tool, it is unlikely that we will get to know how many people have seen ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’, or how Warner values the arrival of new customers to the subscription service, and if they represent a worth spending so much money or not worth. But there are issues more difficult to quantify than a budget that is covered (or not), or a number of new subscribers.
And en that section, the “unquantifiable”, it could be said that Warner has not done badly with the ‘Snyder’s Cut’. Here are some of the benefits you could have made from investing in the lift-off and your ad:
Informally closes the Snyder cycle of DC movies
Snyder was a hot potato in the DC Universe. His Man of Steel movies have finally coalesced into a trilogy, but in the head of the director, his vision of the Justice League could have continued indefinitely, as recently revealed, speaking of his plans for a second and third part of the film that we will not see. With this transfer to Snyder’s authorial vision, Warner also implicitly sends the message that this is a full stop for their relationship with the director: the ‘Snyder’s Cut’ exists because they did not want to leave loose ends in this trilogy of films. Which also has a side effect:
The door opens to a new vision of the DC Universe
Although after the collapse of the first montage of ‘Justice League’, Warner claimed he had no intention of creating a Marvel-style shared universe, The truth is that it is not clear that you want to set up a franchise in which all films are watertight compartments like ‘Joker‘. It would be ridiculous with the possibilities that the future opens’The Batman‘, and having made it clear that there is continuity between different films with characters like Harley Quinn, always played by Margot Robbie. What is clear, paradoxically affirms this new ‘Justice League’, is that it will be a different vision from the one too univocal (and not especially commercial) of Zack Snyder.
HBO Max takes over from DC Universe
Nobody trusts too much anymore DC Universe, that experiment to unify all the DC heroes on a single platform, and which produced such interesting series as’Swamp Thing‘. With the passage of ‘Doom Patrol‘, the great survivor of that, to HBO Max, This platform centralizes the television incarnations of DC heroes. And we must not forget that during 2021, with the plan of simultaneous premieres in theaters and HBO Max, ‘The Suicide Squad’ by James Gunn will also be seen on the platform. I mean, HBO Max wants to become Warner’s Disney +, also when it comes to superheroes.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an event … and HBO Max catches it
Essentially, ‘Justice League’ and ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’, it is the same movie, but one thing is clear: with the invaluable help of the fans who have insisted on denying the obvious similarities between the two, Warner has been able to sell the idea that we are looking at something more than a movie. It is an event. A unique circumstance in the history of cinema (we do agree on that) that curdles into something never seen: the most colossal author superhero film of all time, in an uncut version. And only on HBO Max. At the image level, and as much as Warner herself was initially responsible for Snyder’s original vision not seeing the light, it is something that is priceless. And Warner is delighted to boast that thanks to them, we have ‘Snyder’s Cut’.
The idea of streaming as a new cinema works
The labyrinthine creative processes (and how stubborn Snyder is with his authorial vision, that must be recognized) have led us to a tremendous paradox: We accept to watch a movie in 1.43: 1 format on our widescreen televisions, practically square, although it is quite obvious that in many moments the film has been planned with 16: 9 in mind. Only because Snyder affirms that this is the appropriate format to be seen in IMAX, a format to which practically all the film’s viewers do not have access. That is to say, the living rooms have been transformed, practically in a functional way, into movie theaters, even in the impossible size like IMAX.
But this also interests Warner (and the rest of the production companies with their own platforms, such as Disney, Paramount or Universal, bounce): ‘Justice League’ strengthens the idea that it is not necessary to go to theaters to enjoy the most anticipated premiere of the year. The cinema becomes an accessory, an extra, an experience to add to nuclear viewing, which takes place at home. And no prospect is as juicy for Warner (or Disney, or …) as this one, and all that that implies: cutting budgets, reducing windows, and cutting out middlemen.