While some were surprised by the news that the upcoming ‘Justice League’ will be the shortest entry yet in the DC Extended Universe, it transpires that this was dictated from on high.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara demanded that ‘Justice League’ clock in at less than two hours, apparently in reaction to what some felt was an excessive running time on ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (151 minutes in the theatrical cut, and a full three hours in the extended version released to home entertainment).
As well as demanding director Zack Snyder keep things more succinct, the studio also pressed the need for a more upbeat tone, after ‘Batman V Superman’ was widely criticised for being too dark and bleak.
Reportedly, the executives at Warner Bros and DC felt that Snyder “had made progress with the lighter elements” with his first cut of the film, but still felt that further lightening was required; hence Joss Whedon was hired to provide script rewrites and direct reshoots, when Snyder withdrew from the film following the death of his daughter.
It is also reported that, with Whedon’s reshoots included, the overall budget of ‘Justice League’ swelled to $300 million.
While Snyder has stepped down completely from ‘Justice League,’ he will still receive sole directorial credit, whilst Joss Whedon is credited only as a co-writer.
While there have been contrasting reports as to whether or not ‘Justice League’ will mark the end of the DCEU as we know it, the studio have clearly had some major rethinks on the subject. Warner Bros president Toby Emmerich says the focus for future DC movies is “less about a comprehensive strategy than about making great films.”
‘Justice League’ opens 17 November.