by Graham Pierrepoint
DC’s ongoing toe-to-toe battle with Marvel for the ultimate victor in the cinematic universe stakes has, it’s fair to say, been something of a one-sided affair. Marvel have undoubtedly dominated the game, with Infinity War having destroyed a number of box office records this past few months – while DC’s own Justice League and other related offerings have been fairly damply received, at least critically, to say the least. Only Wonder Woman – released in 2017 – seems to have achieved any kind of widespread acclaim – which has led to a number of headaches for strategists trying to make DC movies work.
It’s being reported by The Hollywood Reporter that insiders are certain Henry Cavill will not be returning as Superman for future movies with Warner Bros. If this is to be believed, it is the latest in a long stretch of setbacks for the brand – though it’s thought Cavill’s choice to hang up his cape may have originated from a contractual dispute over whether or not he could cameo in DC’s upcoming adaptation of Shazam! in spring 2019. “There’s a recognition that some parts of the previous movies didn’t work,” an insider reportedly advises. This, as some sources suggest, means something of a reboot on the current DC line – despite forthcoming movies in the form of Aquaman, Wonder Woman 1984, Suicide Squad 2 and a number of Joker-centric stories due to hit cinemas.
▶ Henry Cavill to Part Ways With Warner Bros. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Add this to the will-he-won’t-he surrounding Ben Affleck and the mysterious Batman movie set to launch in the next few years and you have something of a mixed bag of strategies. Some say Superman is being retired to bring in Supergirl instead – will this rumor hold any water? With a number of big DC movies still set to launch, it’s clear that some sort of change needs to occur in an organic fashion – or will the consistency of both Aquaman and Wonder Woman 1984 in particular be discarded?
DC and WB’s magic formula for Wonder Woman needs to be replicated – Justice League fell flat, Suicide Squad fared well financially but was a critical dud, and the less said about Batman V Superman the better – is DC done with false starts – and ready to iron out a strategy to help them face Marvel one-on-one in the years to come? Certainly, the box office money is there – but Marvel is still very much king of the critics and fans alike.