Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Green Lantern 2 to be darker & edgier; Think those were problems with the first film?

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Remember when I said that Green Lantern 2 was still in the works (read it here). The  fact was that Warner Brothers are committed to getting their Universe of DC characters up on screen. Having been the kings of Super hero movies for over a decade, with Superman and Batman ruling the World, Warners and DC found the roles reversed as Marvel overcame the disastrous, low budget embarrassments that various film studios made of their characters. From TV show Spider-Man being edited and released as a film in various countries in the 80s; to cheaper than chips Captain America and Fantastic Four films. Then Avi Arad took Marvel Entertainment by the scrap off the neck and began an aggressive push into the major studios, convicting them to spend money on Supper hero films. The success of Blade at New Line (Ironically owned by Warners) and X-Men at Fax showed the movie biz that characters not familiar to the general public (Yes X-Men were huge in comics and had a cartoon but they were not in the mainstream at all back in 1999). Films based on comics and super heroes were getting green lit left right and centre ad Marvel got the studios  who already had rights to Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Ghost Rider and more, to put their money where their mouths were ad make films. Now the results weren’t always quality movies, nor were they always box office gold, but they were usually successful enough the long run and certainly added a lot of money in merchandising.

The real change though was when Marvel finally got into the business of making their own films. More control meant they would take a much large share of the direct profits (Marvel is believed to have taken around 5% from the Spider-Man gross of over $800m.) So Marvel studios set about making films f their own, lesser known to the public, characters and have had a fair amount of success in doing so. Fans are mostly happy, film takings have been good – great and (most importantly to the larger company) An example of why Marvel really got into th movie business  and why Warner Brothers are pressing ahead with Green Lantern despite it not being a  box office hit, is that Marvel is one of the top license cash generators in the world. Last year they went up from $4.9b to $5.6b, (A jump mostly attributed to extra revenue generated by Iron Man 2 (not box office or DVD sales, pure licensing)). Warner Brothers, the entire company INCLUDING DC comics, was at $6b the same year. The act is that Marvel movies, whether Marvel Studios’ or the licensed co-productions, add hundreds of millions – billions of dollars to that side of their business and Warner Brother have a very clear example of how much more money they should / could be generating through DC characters.

We won’t know until next year, but I’ll be surprised if there hasn’t been an increase in Warner Brother’s Licensing revenue, directly attributable to Green Lantern and the Green Lantern film. With Harry Potter finished and just two Hobbit films in the future Warner Bothers need to find other films that van generate the big cash outside of the box office (often bigger cash than the box office.) Green Lantern is their Iron Man, their first step to bringing their other big, but not mainstream, heroes to the big screen. It’s also been their best selling comic over the past few years. I’ve argued that the size of the film’s opening weekend is a bigger indicator of the potential (Argued the same for The Hulk), and this has been echoed by Warner Brothers’ Film Group President Jeff Robinov:- “We had a decent opening  so we learned there is an audience” . The final tally confirms that people didn’t find the film satisfactory, but the opening shows that people wanted to see the film; all the more important given the dreadful reviews and months of negative buzz.

Robinov also said “To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action…. And we have to find a way to balance the time the movie spends in space versus on Earth”
(Quotes from The Los Angeles Times)

Now I just don’t see those as the real issues do you? It was poorly directed, the effects were not up t o scratch and either need more time, more money, both or just a complete rethink from the ground up. More action wasn’t an issue, BETTER action was. Darker? That didn’t really matter, although the tone of the film was all over the place. But do you think simply darker and edgier will fix the Lantern’s problems or are they missing the real issue here?

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