For more than 10 months now, critics, bloggers and haters have been dragging Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice through the mud. In fact, they talk about how much they hate it more than they talk about how much they like other movies like Captain America: Civil War. The same has been true for Suicide Squad since its theatrical release last August.
In fact, three movies in and an entire cacophony of hatred and snark has clouded the very existence of the DC Extended Universe, with so many calling it an abject failure that needs to be shut down and rebooted immediately to be saved from itself.
Of course, a lot of that hatred could be clickbait driven. After all, the very mention of doom and gloom for the DCEU is enough to get a good argument going among the people on social media. Which brings us to the latest doom and gloom headline for DC's still young cinematic franchise:
That's three different websites posting the same "story," all of them filled with speculation and opinion based on an unconfirmed rumor that naturally no one can completely verify. Coincidentally, this comes the day after a new image from the Justice League movie was released and on the heels of badly misinterpreted and overanalyzed quotes from Ben Affleck about his solo Batman movie that he continues to be questioned about in the midst of promoting his current movie that already exists, Live By Night.
What's hilarious about this "Justice League a Mess" rumor is that the last time I heard a rumor about a production that was predicted to be a failure was this one:
That was last summer after word got out that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was undergoing massive reshoots for a number of reasons. The Internet panicked for a bit, six full months before the movie was even to be released.
Rogue One has been out in theaters since December 16th. Here's the latest update on it's "trouble" and "problems":
Ouch. What a troubled production. I assume Gareth Edwards is disgraced by his near-billion and counting box office total.
Now here we go again with a silly rumor, eleven months away from the November 17 release date of Justice League that is supposed to whip us into a frenzy yet again about the future of the DCEU being in jeopardy. On the one hand, you can see where the bloggers and haters are coming from because the divide between the critics and the audience over BvS and Suicide Squad has made the DCEU an easy target for clickbait.
On the other hand, all of this negative attention is really just helping the DCEU build a fanbase at this point. Whether you like the movies or not, the franchise has made $2.286 billion worldwide over just three movies, averaging $762.3 million in ticket sales per movie. That doesn't happen for movies that no one likes at all. Ask Paul Feig about his Ghostbusters reboot on that one.
Every time one of these negative clickbait stories about the DCEU comes up, it does a few things:
- It keeps the DCEU in constant conversation, giving it free publicity.
- It angers the fans who actually enjoy the DCEU and causes many of them to outwardly defend the movies.
- It makes the friends of those fans curious about how and why this franchise could possibly be as bad as these bloggers are saying it is.
Now, when you are talking about angering a fanbase, remember that this particular fanbase has already spent $2.286 billion at the movie theater alone worldwide to see these movies, and who knows how much they have paid later to own Blu-ray and digital copies for their home theaters and personal use. If these people have already made a sizeable investment in the DCEU and willingly enjoy the product and want more of it, then how exactly do you think they will react to a constant barrage of negative news and rumors being tossed at them?
Well, first they're going to get mad about it and get into arguments that will have Marvel fans and others calling them "toxic" and "DC shills." Then they're going to take action and do what they've been doing in the first place, which is continue to invest in the franchise at the theater when one of its movies comes out. It doesn't matter how much negative noise you toss at many of them, they think the DCEU is getting a raw deal and if the critics and bloggers won't support it, then they will. That reason alone is why Wonder Woman and Justice League, regardless of reviews, are going to make money. The franchise has a fanbase now and fair or not, they are on the defensive. They have been for almost a full year now.
So what exactly is a negative rumor about Justice League being a mess or the Batman solo movie being delayed supposed to do? Is it really going to stop large amounts of people from going to see them? Is it going to somehow hurt WB and DC's bottom line when it comes to the profitability of their franchise? Or is it just another way to get clicks for desperate bloggers who don't know how to write real news when it actually happens?
Whatever the reason is, it's not damaging the DCEU fanbase one bit. If anything, it is making the fanbase stronger and tougher if such a thing is possible for fans of movies. I've mentioned before that the Transformers movies are completely insulated from absolutely scathing critical reviews because each movie has made more money than the last each time they are released and that's an almost $4 billion franchise through four movies. Imagine if that franchise had more fans of the cartoon on its side. How much more would it make then?
That's the situation the DCEU is in. There are fans of the movies alone and fans like myself who embrace the comics as well, and they have all come together because they feel backed into a critical corner by the haters that tell them constantly how bad their movies are, how dark, dreary and badly miscast they are, and how wrong any of the fans are for actually liking them. They have no fact to base this on either, it's just their opinion, the same as it is a DCEU fan's opinion that the franchise is anything but doomed and shouldn't be changed.
In the unlikely event that right now in January, Justice League is actually "a mess," one would think that eleven months is more than enough time to sort it out and that Ben Affleck wouldn't exactly bolt from his solo Batman movie as a result of it. Speculation is very silly thing to do almost a year away from a movie's release because as Rogue One proved, six months is enough to figure out any issue that might actually exist with a movie......assuming that it's more than a rumor.