Mamo #349: Batman vs. Superman vs. Disney vs. Warner Brothers vs. You, The Viewer

Bonus Mamo! Price has finally seen Captain America and reviewed the relevant documentation, and has determined that there’s nothing wrong with DC/Warner Brothers’ franchise development strategy after all. Brown, as you can imagine, is firmly Team Marvel/Disney. Conversation ensues. Join us!

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Rick Vance

Not having listened I agree that Warner/DC shouldn’t strive to copy Marvel and them doing something different isn’t necessarily a terrible thing.

That may also be influenced by the fact that the Warner/DC movies really have personality and authorial intent and like or hate them I can always see the directorial intent behind them (well minus Green Lantern but that movie was a train wreck all over). The Marvel films all feel like Marvel films and cogs in a great picture that I am less and less interested in.

Thomas Wishloff

That’s actually a great point. The reason that I’m becoming more and more disenchanted with Marvel is that they all feel like corporate films. If I find a DC/Warner Bros. film to be bad, then I know that I can pin that on a director. With Marvel, it feels like I have pin the reason why I don’t like Thor 2 on Marvel and whoever directed that thing.

Matthew Fabb

It’s just with Warner/DC movies, they really feel like they have no idea what the hell they want to do with these characters. They endlessly mess around with various scripts before they finally get a direct that they end up going ahead with. I think in the case of Christopher Nolan they got really lucky. Meanwhile things went really wrong (in my opinion) with Zack Snyder. Now we are going to end up with another Zack Snyder movie, this time throwing Batman into the mix.

Meanwhile, they had Joss Whedon set up to do Wonder Woman and David Goyer to do the Flash, both who I feel would have created great movies, but Warner Brothers passed on both of them.

With all the various DC Comic movies that spent forever in production but never make it out, it almost feels like a game of Russian roulette. Or a game of Russian roulette with a barrow of 20 rounds, around and around it will go with movies in production hell then one seemly at random will make it out. Sometimes you will get something incredibly like Batman Begins and other times it’s more of a mess like Green Lantern or Man of Steel.

Rick Vance

Again I don’t give a shit if these characters ever come to the big screen when I go see movies it is about the movie. I don’t have favorite characters I have favorite creators in both comics and in film.

So if you are going to say you can have these 4 movies that you can extremely see the director in, or you can have these 8 movies that feel like pieces building a machine with slight glimmer of director in a couple of them. I am going to pick the first option every time. Marvel doesn’t help this line of thought any by removing and replacing directors whenever they become too much of a burden or have too many ideas or cost too much money.

Robert Reineke

I’m surprised that you didn’t note that WB is clearly in the Ben Affleck business. Especially after the success of Argo.

Ultimately, I think being a talent driven studio gives WB a lot more flexibility. There’s no room in the mega-connected franchise model for something like Gravity or Inception. And quality of back catalog is a good bet long term when there’s no urgency to watching something.

I also think it’s inevitable that Marvel’s going to enter their Cars 2 / Monster’s University phase at some point when they put together a couple of movies that are safe bets at the box office, but kind of underwhelm people.

Heck, maybe it’s also worth noting that not only is Captain America up against Batman vs. Superman on the schedule, How to Train Your Dragon 3 is currently matched up on the same release date (6/17/2016) as Finding Dory. Somebody is going to move there too. And, right now, I don’t think Pixar is operating from a place of strength.

Also, since you asked, I don’t watch Arrow regularly and I’m only sticking with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the season out of a sense of obligation after investing enough hours in it, but I think Arrow does a much better job of scratching the comic book itch. The main difference between the two, for me, is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is relentlessly backwards looking, referring to events in movies that we’ve already seen over and over and seldom introducing new concepts and characters. Arrow, in contrast, seems to be more expansive, throwing in tons of DC’s characters, major ones at that, and not saving anything because it needs to tie in with a movie. Heck, they’re teasing Ra’s al Ghul as the big bad of Season 3 already, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to convince us to give a rip about Graviton. Arrow also seems to spend its money smarter and certainly has a much better fight coordinator than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When your action show has subpar action, even for network television, like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. you have a problem that can’t be dusted away with telling the audience just to be patient or saying that they’re watching it wrong.

Mark Hughes

Hi guys, glad you liked my article about the Marvel-WB 2016 situation and why it won’t in fact lead to a showdown, because the studios are not out to hurt each other. (And thanks for adding the comment correcting the mistake about who wrote it!)

If you missed it, I actually specifically asked Zack Snyder about this when I interviewed him and he confirmed that there’s no desire to cause one another’s films to flop because (among other reasons) it would end up backfiring anyway and the genre benefits from every successful film. Here’s the article where you can read Snyder’s remarks:

FWIW, I think the situation in 2016 will end up settled by WB moving “King Arthur” to the April frame and move “Batman vs Superman” to July 15th (a week ahead of “King Arthur”‘s current release date). That’s the best position left for WB at this point (unless they really move “Batman vs Superman” to April, but the positioning seems to favor the July 15 date IMO).


It was mentioned that WB makes more in box office and home video compared to Disney. That may be so, but Disney is a business juggernaut. Without pulling up their SEC filings I would imagine Disney crushes WB in revenue. Disney has theme parks, toys, and video games all cross-promoted very well.

When Pixar had the option to leave Disney I think it was presented to them that for every $1 they make at another studio they make $2 at Disney. I also don’t find it all that coincidental that Lucas, the father of modern movie merchandising, sold his baby to Disney. Disney the business is formidable in a way that I do not think WB is.

Rick Vance

I think the Matt Brown future is TERRIFYING.

Also I think that the fanbases and community around the movies would also be sour to everyone copying everyone in how to develop and produce movies.

If everything is Continuity Driven Marvel tie in Mega Films they all loose power of being that thing and it all then becomes meaningless.

Kurt Halfyard

Rick has articulated my ongoing beef with MARVEL STUDIOS in a nutshell. The studio auteur instead of the director auteur. I know none of this is completely black and white (auteur theory and all that), but still…This is why all the marvel stuff feels like extruded plastic.

Strange that the model works well enough (show runner) in TV…But then again, movies (Marvel/Disney) are starting to feel like really expensive TV, just as TV (HBO) is starting to feel like long form movies…