by Graham Pierrepoint
It’s set to be one of the season’s biggest-selling movies – and while many expected it to do well, its performance critically and financially is still causing quite a bit of a stir behind the scenes. The Lego Batman Movie emerged to huge praise from critics and audiences recently, and with the movie set to emerge in the UK over the weekend – and with it allegedly set to beat Fifty Shades Darker in ticket sales in the US – it’s perhaps been a little bit of a wake up call for DC. Certainly, for Time Warner – who owns the DC Comics brand – it’s been a nice little earner. If nothing else, it solidifies Lego’s place on the big screen for years to come – and it wouldn’t be surprising if the movie has a knock-on effect for other films due from the DC staple.
Lego Batman took the right balance of humor and appreciation for the Batman brand and Gotham universe, eagerly poking fun even at last year’s Batman V Superman – and it is not too far of a stretch to believe that this rendition of the Dark Knight may be his best-received cinematic adventure since 2008. Where does Batman stand outside of colorful plastic blocks and tongue-in-cheek irreverence? It seems that question is a fairly big one – while we are set to see more from DC in the form of Justice League later this year, the production on the forthcoming solo movie simply titled ‘The Batman’ seems to be shifting gears more than a little.
Ben Affleck – who is currently signed on to play Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego through the current run of DC movies – has officially resigned as director of the project, though he will naturally continue to serve as its lead star. In the meantime, however, this leaves the project without a director and in a position to move around their creative team. It’s likely that we won’t be seeing a solo Bat movie again until 2019 – and it may be even more likely that the current script is set to undergo further rewrites. It’s unlikely that the success of Lego Batman has had any direct effect on the new movie – they are, after all, two completely separate entities – however, this is not the first time that a DC property has been sent back to the drawing board.
DC movies such as Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman made huge box office money but failed to keep up to their hype – facing dwindling interest and poor critical reception, the brand has had to rethink its place on the big screen somewhat quickly. We are due to see Wonder Woman, Justice League and Aquaman in the months and years to come – and while DC comics are generally seen to be grittier than Marvel’s output, they may need to adopt an entirely different strategy to appeal to a mass audience.