In the world of superhero movies, few directors have generated as much controversy and debate as Zack Snyder. His take on DC Comics’ iconic characters, often referred to as the “Snyderverse,” has divided fans and critics alike. One common argument against Snyder’s films has been their supposed lack of profitability for Warner Bros. However, former WB President Greg Silverman recently stepped forward to challenge this notion, asserting that Snyder’s films did, in fact, bring significant financial success to the studio.
Critics have long claimed that Snyder’s DC films, including “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” failed to meet studio expectations at the box office. They’ve pointed to reports suggesting that some of these films fell short of earning a billion dollars, a benchmark that was seemingly set due to the inclusion of beloved characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Silverman, however, has pushed back against this narrative. He engaged with critics, stating that only two of Snyder’s films, “Legends of the Guardians” and “Sucker Punch,” failed to be profitable for the studio. He emphasized that “the rest of his films at WB were very profitable. Very.”
Looking at the numbers, Silverman’s defense seems justified. “Man of Steel” earned an impressive $668 million at the box office against a $225 million budget. This marked a considerable improvement over its predecessor, “Superman Returns,” which managed $391.1 million. Similarly, “Batman v Superman” brought in $872.7 million despite being withdrawn early from theaters due to its mixed reception. The movie’s profitability was achieved despite the studio cutting 30 minutes from the theatrical release, which contributed to negative critical feedback.
Moreover, the release of the “Ultimate Edition” helped to address some of the issues that plagued the original theatrical cut of “Batman v Superman.” The re-edited version received a more positive response from fans and showcased the potential profitability of the film.
Snyder’s films in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), which are part of the Snyderverse, have performed notably better than subsequent releases under different WB executives. Movies like “Suicide Squad,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Aquaman” achieved considerable success both critically and financially, outshining some of the later DCEU entries.
“Man of Steel,” as the first film in the DCEU and Snyderverse, outperformed combined domestic box office earnings of movies like “Birds of Prey,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Wonder Woman 1984,” and “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods.” Despite the studio’s initial skepticism about the Snyder Cut, it’s evident that these box office numbers could still be desirable for the DC films.
When it comes to evaluating a movie’s profitability, the industry standard suggests that a film needs to earn around 2.5 times its budget to break even and start generating profit. Applying this standard to “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman,” both movies emerge as profitable ventures based on their gross earnings.
Even though the exact streaming numbers for “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” weren’t publicly disclosed by WB, its impressive Blu-ray sales and the significant online buzz surrounding its release indicate a high level of demand. Notably, the film reportedly out-streamed even blockbusters like “Avengers: Endgame” in China.
Silverman’s statements effectively counter the narrative that Snyder’s films were financially unsuccessful for the studio. However, the controversy surrounding Snyder’s work continues to fuel discussions and debates in pop culture circles. The quality of his films remains a subject of contention, and while the former WB President’s defense adds to the ongoing conversation, it’s unlikely to fully quell the debates that have become synonymous with Snyder’s name.
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