In The Wake of BATMAN V SUPERMAN, Warner Bros. Might Release Fewer Films Per Year
Here's a bit of inside baseball for those who like following the ins and outs of the film business. Regardless of your personal feelings about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara was expecting it to be a regime-defining hit for him. But after a strong opening weekend, the film experienced a massive drop at the box office due to largely terrible word of mouth from both critics and regular audience members. (I can hear the commenters already, and no, this is not my "bias": you don't have to look very hard to find a negative review of the movie, and it received a B Cinemascore, the same as Catwoman and Green Lantern.) Many are predicting that it won't reach $1 billion before it leaves theaters, which is a threshold that's become the industry's new standard for success for mega-budgeted franchises like this.
THR has released a report that indicates that because of the disappointing earnings of the film so far, combined with a series of high-profile flops last year (Pan, Jupiter Ascending, and In The Heart of The Sea among them), the studio is going to be releasing fewer films per year and put more of a concentration on its three biggest properties: DC, LEGO, and Harry Potter. No surprise there: it's considered the "safe" strategy at the moment, and after the events of the past few months, I can't really blame them for wanting to recoup some of the cash they've lost.
THR's sources tell them that despite rumors, the studio doesn't have any plans to add a producer like George Miller to the upcoming DC slate in order to right the ship, and that they will "naturally will evaluate what went wrong with BvS" but not actively try to turn Justice League "into a copycat of something else."
Last year, WB released 21 movies, more than any other studio. They're still reportedly planning to work with directors who have carved out a home at the studio — people like Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan, Ben Affleck, and Todd Phillips — but aside from films from those guys, the prospects of original movies making it through the pipeline at WB doesn't sound great right now.