DC

Justice League movie

Sounds like someone over at Warner Bros. just got a cool new calendar and is pretty keen to get it filled up. The studio has announced a slew of thirteen release dates that will take it — and their growing DC-centric series, which account for nine of these dates — into the next six years. Do you hear that sound? It’s the noise that a thousand Marvel calendars make when they all get flipped open at once. It’s okay, guys, while Warner Bros. appears to be going all-in on this DC stuff, these new dates don’t directly conflict with any planned Marvel properties. It’s a smart move from the studio, which has apparently allowed Marvel to take over dates in early May, July and November while sticking their films into slots that run the gamut from the middle of June to early April and beyond. Memorial Day also appears to be the studio’s new stomping ground, but only for a pair of animated features that, if they pan out in the way we think they will, won’t have much other competition anyway. Let’s take a look:

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Guillermo del Toro

With the news that Marvel and Disney’s plans to dominate film and television just got kicked up a notch by a massive deal with Netflix to churn out four new original programs and a miniseries, it appears that Warner Bros. and DC are now getting in on the whole franchise universe/world conquest gambit. Guillermo del Toro, who is currently working on Justice League Dark film, spoke to Cinefilos.it about the progress with his project — and spilled that it would be fitting into an entire DC world, something that hasn’t really been discussed at length. Guillermo. “We’re still on [Justice League Dark], writing, and hopefully it will happen but there are no developments that are new. We’re still at Warner Bros., they are making plans for the entire DC universe. All the superheroes, all the mythologies, and part of that is Justice League Dark. They’re planning on TV, movies, and all the media, so we have to fit into that plan.” The revelation from del Toro is not all that surprising; with 2015′s Batman vs. Superman on the way, featuring potential appearances by Wonder Woman and Nightwing, and tentative plans for both Justice League and The Flash movies down the pipeline in 2016 and 2017, the door has been open for some time for DC superheroes to have their interconnected heyday. With del Toro’s Justice League Dark, the more monster-y of the DC universe’s characters, like Constantine, Swamp Thing, and Deadman are also headed for the big screen.

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jla

Much has already been written about how Marvel Studios and their Disney overlords have absolutely embarrassed their rivals over at Warner Brothers when it comes to mining their comic book properties for movies and TV shows. You see, there are two main comic book companies in the world that house most of the big superhero characters everyone knows between them, and while Marvel has been able to use its characters to create multiple stand-alone film franchises, team-up movies that tie all of the franchises together, and even television shows that tie things together even tighter, so far all Warners has been able to do with their DC heroes is make a bunch of Superman and Batman movies that don’t even have anything to do with each other. Okay, so they made a Green Lantern movie too, but that’s probably best forgotten. With yesterday’s huge announcement that Marvel has signed a deal with Netflix to create four more TV shows, which will then all come together for an Avengers-style mini-series called The Defenders, Marvel’s dominance over DC when it comes to live action entertainment becomes even more obvious. Really, they’re starting to pull so far away from the competition at this point that Warners has to be seen as having egg on their face. The thing is that they have the characters and the resources necessary to catch up though. All they need to do is swallow their pride and start following the Marvel model.

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Zack Snyder

This probably comes as no surprise, but according to Variety, the Justice League movie over at Warners will depend on Man of Steel‘s box office performance. It’s encouraging (if not obvious) though, because it’s the first sign of level-headedness the studio has displayed regarding the superhero omnibus project. Before this, they’ve talked a big game all while planning to follow the Marvel method without laying any popular, systematic groundwork. Without Christian Bale, the branding game on Batman changes a bit (although there’s no denying the character’s ability to draw a crowd), and it’s not clear if anyone at all cares to see Green Lantern back on the big screen, so slow-playing the potential 2015 release until Zack Snyder’s Superman movie has a chance to succeed or fail is a smart move. The only question at this point is how much success Man of Steel will need in order to get Warners to pull out the giant check book (seriously, it’s comically large) and push Justice League out the door. How much will it have to earn worldwide? $600m? $800m? Does it have to cross the $1b mark or break records? The original Iron Man earned $585m, but it also wasn’t the sole launching pad for a giant, caped ensemble event movie. It had help where Man of Steel doesn’t, so it’ll be interesting to see following the latter’s release whether Warners will go ahead and place their big gamble on the table. But barring all the smart business, do you even want to see […]

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Darkseid

The fine folks over at Latino-Review, who are either doing a stellar job of reporting or leading every movie fan down the garden path, have announced that an inside source has revealed the plot to Justice League will come from a comic source familiar to readers. They proclaimed earlier that Darkseid would be the big bad for the flick, and now the word is that writer Will Beall will draw from the 1980 issues #183-185 to craft the tale for the moving picture. The plot for the three comics from Gerry Conway sees Darkseid (an absurdly powerful being from another planet) attempting to replace Earth with his home world without finding a proper place to relocate the place we all live.

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Darkseid

So who is this Darkseid anyway? What are his hobbies? Who are his inspirations? Why does he spell his name like a stout German lager? All of these questions and more should be answered if the (often highly reliable) team over at Latino Review is right about the villain’s appearance in the forthcoming Justice League movie set for 2015.* No doubt DC and Warners will want to introduce him to the world as we get closer to the release date, and even if they don’t want to, comic book fans will definitely be staking out the set for a glimpse of a costume for which to ridicule into oblivion. The thing about Darkseid is that he represents the filmmakers (who have yet to be named) going big. As big as their gamble on making an omnibus superhero flick 1) just because Avengers destroyed the box office and 2) without thoroughly-introduced cinematic heroes. He’s just about as iconic as it gets — an alien force of evil from the planet Apokolips that’s one of the toughest foes the team has ever faced. He’s immortal, invulnerable and a genius to boot. Good luck with that, Batman. In a way, that makes sense. If you’ve got Superman and Friends getting together for 2 whole hours, you’ve got to give them someone who takes a while to take down. That could be a villain like Darkseid or one who could raise an army large enough to keep them busy. It’s also kind of cool […]

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Boiling Point

The trailer for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel recently made it online after rolling in front of the related DC property The Dark Knight Rises. Reactions have been mostly positive to the somber looking film, with words like “restrained” being laid upon it. Many have chosen to highlight the apparent effect that Batman producer/director Christopher Nolan has had on the Superman story. The trailer for Supes does seem to harken to a more Batman Begins esque story rather than say, Superman Returns or Green Lantern. Hey, the Batman movies were good for the most part right? Having Christopher Nolan involved is a great idea, right? Well, not if you want your universe to do anything other than implode.

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The release of The Amazing Spider-Man this week has left some people scratching their heads. How can a movie that is billed as “The Untold Story” be so achingly repetitive? With the first hour of the film an alternate take on the first hour of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man from 2002, people have questioned the need to rehash essentially the same origin story of such a widely-known superhero. As reported in Latino Review, director Marc Webb insists the reboot was necessary. (Spoiler: it wasn’t.) He continues to say it was to introduce the world to a new Spider-Man and, more importantly, a new Peter Parker. (Spoiler: It really doesn’t.) Whether Webb was pressured by the studio for the redux origin or if he just wanted to not have to follow any of the Raimi canon, it seems silly to tread such familiar ground so soon. In 2002, Spider-Man continued the trend that X-Men started two years before, making superhero films profitable and possible in the big studio system. Since then, we’ve seen quite a few origin stories – from full-blown reboots of known characters as in Batman Begins to introduction of heroes who aren’t known much outside of comic book fans as in Iron Man. However, with The Man of Steel coming up next year and an obvious Batman reboot once The Dark Knight Rises finishes its run, who knows what Hollywood is going to do next?

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Last week, the utterly shocking news broke that not only was Warner Bros. pursuing a Justice League movie, but it also was in no way at all ever influenced by the unbridled financial success of Marvel’s The Avengers. We can all believe that, can’t we? After all, we read it on the internet. With Man of Steel coming out next year and a no-brainer Batman reboot coming now that Christopher Nolan’s movies are wrapping up this summer, this is an opportunity for Warner Bros. and DC to set a new stage. Plus, with adaptations of The Flash and Lobo, and the potential for a Green Lantern reboot, Warner Bros. and DC have things laid out for them to work out very similar to the pre-Avengers line of films. But this is Hollywood, and so many things can go potentially wrong with a project like this. Here are seven ways Warner Bros. can avoid a potential disaster as they develop this film series.

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UPDATE: After speaking with the head of WETA’s marketing, we can confirm that the sizzle reel mentioned below was not WETAs. Again, this IMDB posting should be taken at arm’s length, and there’s also the possibility that Rothbart got the effects company wrong, but if these scenes are real, they are not the work of WETA. Original posting follows: There was never much doubt that Man of Steel would have a comic book feel. It was only slightly less guaranteed than it looking like a Zack Snyder movie. The Warners mulligan on Clark Kent is set for theaters in June of 2013, but apparently WETA just showed two scenes as part of a sizzle reel that played at a fancy gathering with smoked salmon and a bunch of visual effects artists. Allegedly, one of those effects wizards, Jonathan Rothbart (Avatar, Priest, Iron Man), posted a description of the scenes on the film’s IMDB message board. He was pretty excited. Here’s what he (spoilerifically) had to say:

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Boiling Point

The Avengers is kind of a major success. What, you hadn’t heard? Of course you did. Avengers box office is on the tips of tongues, internet screens, newspapers, and even within the pages of Time Magazine. You don’t make a billion dollars that quickly without garnering a lot of attention. With attention comes discussion. People always want to be included in the discussion, it helps get a little bit of that attention directed their way. If at this point you feel the need to point out the hypocrisy of this entire thing, go for it. What do I care? In attempting to be part of the discussion and gather up some of that sweet, sweet spotlight, everyone has been discussing the Avengers box office results and asking the question we all ask of super hero teams and double rainbows: What does it mean?

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There’s something incredible about knowing that a movie exists. Especially now. After years – years! – of speculation, glimmers of set photos and vague comments mined for meaning, there is actually something we can all call The Dark Knight Rises. It’s no longer an idea. It’s a reality. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Christopher Nolan showed his first cut of the movie to Warners, which means that it’s a reality that will undoubtedly go through some more edits and some honing, but it’s a real thing nonetheless. What was just a thought turned into words on a page, and now those words have evolved into something physical and dynamic. It’s nothing short of magic.  

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Merch Hunter - Large

This week’s merchandise world has gone loopy for The Dark Knight Rises with two stellar announcements by two of the world’s biggest collectible players, in DC Direct and Hot Toys, and 2012 looks like it’s going to be a good year for anyone who collects Bat Merch. There’s also a couple of entries from Mattel, making this the most bumperest Merch Hunter column ever. It’s been a thrill-ride, and I’d like to thanks Jesus Christ and Chris Nolan for giving me the strength to achieve this monumental feat. So anyway, this week’s Merch Hunter is dedicated to Chris Nolan’s upcoming trilogy-ender, and the news that has got collectors’ tongues wagging and seats wet in the past week or so. So put away your wallets for now, because you won’t be able to buy what is listed here just yet – and in all honesty, saving up for them is probably going to be a pragmatic decision, given how much dough is likely to be needed to buy them.

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Comic-Con. A place of joy. A place of wonder. A place of really awesome costumes. Thursday marked the start of New York Comic-Con 2011. Not nearly as land mark as SDCC (which some would say is a benefit), but certainly not at the bottom of the scrap heap. In a city bustling with the creative minds from all walks of life, it would only make sense that once a year, those creative minds come together for one giant weekend of awesomeness. And we’re here to bring you all of it.

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As the whole world (or England at least) goes absolutely Goddamn batshit and falls to pieces in front of my eyes, it’s time to declare an age-old addage, cast forth historically from some of the greatest minds of human history… “And now for something completely different.” Socio-cultural insurrection is a lot like merchandise collecting. It frequent leads to anger, there’s like looting… and like… okay, so it’s not. But aren’t we all glad of that?! I don’t really want to use this column as some kind of soap-box, other than to push the dirty evils of capitalism and commodity acquisition of course, but for God’s sake, we’re all essentially the same bags of bones and gristle. Can’t we all just get along? Anyway, since what we all need on this side of the Atlantic is a little escapism, and maybe a superhero or two, this week’s column features merch picks inspired by both. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but mostly you’ll wish you had remortgaged your home enough times to afford everything.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Movies.com‘s John Gholson offers a primer before we all go see Green Lantern, and lead creature designer for the film (and Super 8, Avatar, and many others…) Neville Page talks about creating aliens. Plus, our very own Matt Patches faces off against UGO‘s movies editor Jordan Hoffman in a Movie News Pop Quiz that’ll be one for the books. We follow it up with a Green Lantern review, so stick around. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Bare witness to the awesome power of the Guardians. Fly through Oa and watch as the entire Green Lantern Corps summons the power of its rings. Run in fear as the yellow energy of their greatest foe runs rampant in the streets. There’s no doubt that some of the marketing for Green Lantern has been flaccid, but this trailer takes a dose of the little blue pill and lets it rip. This is a coming out party for a movie that’s really a space opera, and it’s refreshing to see Warners unafraid to show the world the cards it’s laying down on the table. Prepare to be blown away:

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Last year, I had the honor of traveling down to New Orleans, piling in a van, heading to a secluded warehouse and talking to an alien. I also spoke with the first human member of an elite group of interstellar heroes, a director who has more energy than anyone at his age has a right to, and I got a glimpse into a world beyond our own. So before comic book purists protest the insanely small number listed in the headline, these are the Green Lanterns hanging up on a wall somewhere in New Orleans – character design sketches to fill out the alien landscape of those who bravely, selflessly, and fearlessly patrol the universe. Some were born from the comic books, others from the minds of the production team. Some will be featured heavily, others will be hanging out (valiantly) in the background. We’ll be bringing Green Lantern set visit coverage to you all week, but to get things started, we figured it would be a good idea to do a round of introductions. Some you already know, and some you haven’t yet had the pleasure, so we wanted to make it official. Green Lanterns, meet the world. The world, meet the Green Lanterns.

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Boiling Point

Sorry Wonder Woman fans, but the patriotically clad superheroine won’t be coming to television screens anytime soon, at least not on NBC. Considering how all the other networks passed on the project from the start, I’m not sure there’s any network left for it, unless the CW wanted to weaken its line-up. Zing. As nerds on the internet, it is our job to question why this show was canceled. After all, we love comics and we love TV, so there you go. After many seconds of deep, introspective thought, I figured out why Wonder Woman won’t be appearing on any screen in the near future. Wonder Woman sucks, that’s why.

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You know what’s great about Green Lantern? They aren’t shying away from the fact that the movie is a full-blown space opera featuring a lot of weird-looking aliens. That doesn’t happen everyday. Especially not with a tentpole flick. It’s admirable that the marketing isn’t just coverage of Ryan Reynolds‘s abs, but also the whole gang of strange and wondrous creatures protecting the universe with their magic jewelry. MTV has an exclusive banner that features at least 13 Lanterns (and maybe a 14th if Bzzd is hanging around somewhere). That’s the small version above, of course, but you’ll have to click over to MTV to check out the giant version in all its glory.

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