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DC movie universe hit with fallout from Batman v Superman disappointment
Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." - photo by Jeff Peterson
The debate over the quality of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will likely rage on at least until the next time the super-duo (or trio, to give Wonder Woman her due) appear on the big screen together again, but quality aside, Zack Snyders long, dark preamble to the Justice League was hardly the home run Warner Bros. or DC hoped for.

Early opening weekend box-office predictions had the film pegged to break all sorts of records best ever opening weekend for a Warner Bros. movie, best ever March opening weekend, etc. However, when the dust settled, the haul was about $4 million less than anticipated, leaving almost all of the records still intact, according to Collider.

One record Batman v Superman did set, though? According to Forbes, the biggest Friday to Sunday drop for a modern superhero movie.

Worse still, the film was positively savaged by critics. Currently, its Rotten Tomatoes score sits at an abysmal 27 percent. (For comparison, Marvels worst-reviewed movie, Thor: The Dark World, has a 66 percent Fresh rating, according to the review aggregator website.)

As British GQs headline put it, Batman v Superman will make you hate Batman, Superman and the Justice League.

Now, it seems that the fallout from the grim and gritty superhero brawl's less-than-stellar reception might be starting to hit especially now that Marvel's own "Civil War" has outperformed it in nearly every way imaginable as the DC Extended Universe (or DCEU, as its being called) undergoes some potentially major internal shakeups.

First off, one of the Justice Leagues core members was left director-less after Seth Grahame-Smith bolted from the standalone Flash movie, allegedly due to the oft-cited issue of creative differences.

According to The Wrap, however, the departure had less to do with creative vision and more to do with Grahame-Smiths filmography or relative lack thereof. A major contributor to Warner Bros.' upcoming slate of films as a writer, including on The Flash, Grahame-Smith was set to make his feature directorial debut with the superhero tentpole. His only previous experience as a director was two episodes of MTVs The Hard Times of RJ Berger, which he co-created. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line and the DCEU in a somewhat precarious position after Batman v Superman, it seems Warner Bros. may have reevaluated the idea of hiring an untested filmmaker.

Warner Bros. is said to be pleased with Grahame-Smiths script, but ultimately wanted a more experienced filmmaker guiding the production, explained The Wrap.

Just days later, even more troubling rumors surfaced that director James Wan may also be contemplating jumping ship on DCs upcoming Aquaman movie. According to Birth.Death.Movies, which cites multiple reliable sources, the Conjuring and Furious 7 filmmaker is feeling a tremendous amount of trepidation about the comic book adaptation.

Part of that, say the reports, is due to Warner Bros. more hands-on involvement in the direction of the DC movie universe. The studio has doubled down on all DC projects, according to, in an effort to right the ship before the whole thing breaks apart.

Wan responded to the rumors by tweeting a picture of himself leaning up against a mural depicting the Atlantean superhero, which has generally been interpreted as indication that at least for now he's still onboard.

Finally, in an attempt to rescue its already-in-development projects, Warner Bros. has appointed a few recognizable names to key executive positions. Deadline reports that Ben Affleck, who nabbed Warners a Best Picture win with "Argo," has been given an expanded role as an executive producer on the Snyder-directed "Justice League," joining his "Argo" scribe Chris Terrio as part of a brain trust to help steer the film.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' executive vice president, Jon Berg, and DC's chief creative officer, Geoff Johns, have stepped up to co-run the newly minted DC Films, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The two will oversee all future DC adaptations in a way very similar to Kevin Feige at Marvel.

But the real test of DCs vision for its superhero megaverse may end up being this summers Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer (Fury). This will be the first movie in the DCEU proper not helmed by Snyder or featuring a DC A-lister such as Superman or Batman. In that sense, its safe to compare it to one of Marvels riskiest movies to date, 2014s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Unlike that movie, though, which proved to be a major hit with fans and critics alike, if Suicide Squad fails to win over audiences with its ragtag team of anti-heroes, DC doesnt have much of a safety net in terms of other viable franchises.

Because of that, reports (via Slashfilm) that DC sent Ayer and his all-star cast back for millions of dollars worth of reshoots in order to tweak Suicide Squad's tone and lighten the mood are not altogether surprising and not altogether inspiring, either.

Suicide Squad is slated to hit theaters Aug. 5. A Seth Grahame-Smith-less The Flash and a possibly James Wan-less Aquaman are, as of right now, still scheduled for release in March and July of 2018, respectively.

For an overview of whats next for the DC cinematic universe, see Whats next for the DC Cinematic Universe?"
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