If you follow me on Twitter, you'll notice that I interact with a lot of people all the time. Every once in while, the discussion will turn to someone that disagrees with what I'm saying or can't possibly fathom how I have come up with the opinion that I have come up with. These "discussions" usually go one of three ways:
1 - The other person agrees to disagree.
2 - The other person keeps trying to browbeat until they think they have won.
3 - The other person starts calling me names and blocks me even though I've restrained myself.
So most recently this has come up when discussing the DC Extended Universe, particularly regarding all of the production news that has swirled around WB and DC for the last several months. In a nutshell, neither The Flash nor the solo Batman movie currently have directors. Seth Grahame-Smith left The Flash last year to be replaced by Rick Famiyuwa, who was on the project for a few months before leaving the production himself. Then in January of this year, Ben Affleck stepped down from directing the Batman solo movie. Recently Matt Reeves, director of Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was in talks to replace him, but it was reported that those talks broke down and he stepped away from negotiations.
The recent developments with The Flash and the solo Batman movie have caused a lot of DCEU fans to freak out, despite the fact that neither movie has a solid release date, or is even in production with any sort of shooting schedule in place. Not only that, but with Wonder Woman due out in theaters on June 2 this year, Justice League due out November 17 of this year and Aquaman in production with the cast training to prepare for upcoming principle photography within months, the earliest that either The Flash or the solo Batman movie would even be scheduled for release would be six or seven movies into the life of the DCEU, likely in late 2018 or at any point in 2019.
But to hear it from some people, a LOT of people, the DCEU is in complete chaos:
I mean......really? All because two movies that are in pre-production are still looking for directors? While the franchise itself has THREE movies either releasing or starting principle photography this year? Cancel the whole franchise because of that?
Wow. All of that snark and depressing commentary for a franchise that has done THIS in its first three movies:
Yep. So why in hell are so many people panicking and angry about the DCEU? Well, I've mentioned Denzel Washington's great commentary before about "what is the long term effect of too much information," and we are sadly seeing it right here and now in front of us.
There was a time when I was younger and movies would have trailers, the cast would do interviews on talk shows and there would be commercials and toys and other marketing goodies to promote its release. Then it would release, we would go see it and usually enjoy ourselves for a good two hours or so. Sometimes we would leave the theater hoping that they would make a sequel to the one we just saw because we liked it so much that we wanted to see more of it. If we didn't, we just never watched that movie again and that was that. It was a much, much simpler time.
Today, we know EVERYTHING that could possibly be known about movies and how they are assembled. We know how the studios run things, we know who is in charge of them, we know who the directors, producers, DP's, editors and composers are, we know every little detail about the cast, including when and how they signed onto the movie, we know when pre-production started, when principle photography started and when post-production started among so many other details and pieces of information about the process of making movies.
To simplify that, we know WAY TOO MUCH.
Look at how it has affected how we watch movies now. We have grown adults that are angry and severely frustrated because Ben Affleck decided he's not going to direct the solo Batman movie. In the eyes of those adults, that movie is ruined, WB is who ruined it and they need to cancel the whole thing because anything they put together now will not be nearly as good as it could have been. WHAT?!
We have people that are so mad about two directors leaving the Flash movie that hasn't even scheduled a day to film a single scene yet, that they seemingly have forgotten that he's in the Justice League movie that releases this year. THIS YEAR. Can we watch that movie FIRST before worrying about who is going to direct Ezra Miller later?
The fact of the matter here is that directors leaving movies, even high profile movies like anything DC or Marvel related is a more common part of the Hollywood business than people seem to want to admit. Darren Aronofsky left The Wolverine six months after he was hired. Guillermo del Toro left The Hobbit almost two years after coming on board and helping to write the scripts. Joe Carnahan left Mission Impossible III one month before principle photography was set to start. Patty Jenkins, currently working on Wonder Woman, left Thor: The Dark World two months after she was hired.
But we're freaking out because The Flash and Batman don't currently have directors yet. Cancel the DCEU, forget releasing Wonder Woman and Justice League and tell Jason Momoa to stop training for Aquaman. Clearly WB has no idea what it's doing because it can't find directors yet for two movies that haven't even started production.
When did we become like this? When did we stop enjoying movies when they came out and start enjoying the process of making movies more than the movie itself? I know The Flash and Batman have huge fanbases and we are all eager to see those movies, but why does it really matter that they don't have directors yet? Honestly, why do we care THIS much to the point that we want the whole franchise to reboot as a result of it?
The answer is because we are impatient. EXTREMELY impatient.
I keep seeing people on social media that I'm fairly certain don't work in the movie industry use the word "easy" to describe the process of making a movie about Batman. One person told me, "It's their job and they get paid millions to do it! Why can't they do it?" Well, the only person saying that they can't is you, if you are someone that agrees with that line of thinking. Batman movies have been consistently made since 1989 and grossed $4.7 billion and counting for WB in the process. That includes the recent haul from The LEGO Batman Movie. That money total alone should tell you that no matter what happens, the solo Batman film is GOING TO HAPPEN.
But that's not the problem, is it? The problem for a lot of people is that it's not going to happen RIGHT NOW, which means it won't come out next year like many had speculated long ago and may not even be ready for release until 2019 or 2020. That's what, two or three years from now possibly? Totally unacceptable in the eyes of the impatient public as we see here:
So you would rather they quickly settle on a director now for the Batman movie just so that they can get it done in time to release in 2018 with Aquaman? Why? So you don't have to wait? So that the DCEU has two movies to balance out the schedule with the two that Marvel is releasing in the same year? Those aren't very solid reasons to rush a movie production at all.
What if the problem that people have is actually the perception of WB and the DCEU that now with two directors leaving The Flash last year, Affleck stepping down as director of Batman and Matt Reeves breaking off negotiations with them, it looks like WB and DC can't keep a director? This, in spite of all of the examples I gave earlier about how directors leave high profile movies on a basis more regular than people want to believe. Isn't it more important that the movie itself get made at the highest possible quality, regardless of how long it takes or how many directors need to go through it? Ultimately yes, the movie itself getting done is what counts in the end, but because we have access to every media outlet and blogger in the world that loves to tell us all everything there is to know, good or bad, we care more about the process of making a movie than we do the actual movie itself.
And that's the sad truth here, as the DCEU once again takes fire from social media for what might seriously just amount to a negotiation tactic by the Reeves camp. We have access to so much needless and unimportant information about Hollywood and we are told that it is so important and we need to know it as fans, that it has robbed us of our ability to just sit down and watch a movie from start to finish for our own enjoyment and nothing else. Now when we sit down in that theater, we're thinking about how many days of principle photography there was, about the reshoots that happened a few months prior to release and how they might affect the movie, about the four screenwriters that all wrote separate drafts of the scripts before the fifth one came in and rewrote everything himself for a polished draft. We're not enjoying the movie, we're enjoying all the information we got about it before they finished it.
I don't know about you, but I just want to see an awesome Batman movie, hopefully with Ben Affleck as Batman and Jared Leto as The Joker. I couldn't care less when I get to see, so long as it gets made and there's no reason to think that it won't.