The Quiet Game
If you’ve ever been a kid in your life, or currently have one, then you more than likely played the Quiet Game when you were younger. A game that encourages the loudest of us to remain silent, and ye shall be rewarded. Only, what happens if there are no goods to be earned? What happens if those shunned for making ruckus would actually be rewarded for NOT being quiet?
Ay yes, that brings me to the infamous Snyder Cut of Justice League. Sure, it’s Pop-Culture status has reached a new height when it was spoken in a Game Of Thrones language of High Valyrian. But that’s about as much as anyone close to Warner Bros. Studios has ever come to the acknowledgment of such a thing. And really, it wasn’t the studio but the creator of the language, so there’s that. But the plot thickens. Especially after writing my own timeline of the events that led to this self-inflicted catastrophe.
The Unseen Aquaman Footage
In case you missed it, I had recently uncovered some never-before-seen footage of Aquaman from Justice League. With the ability to openly find it out on the interwebs, that was evidence enough for me to properly give it the respect it deserved. So I did what I do best and created a small, insignificant reel of the missing 3-second scene mixed with the actual footage. And so, what happens?
DMCA claims everywhere! Claims that said I had somehow stolen this ‘unreleased’ footage of Justice League and it needed to be removed immediately. What was shocking though, was that my video was taken down from every single site that I had uploaded it to. This has never been the case with any of my videos on Youtube, much less Twitter. So naturally, I did what any sane person in my field would do: I asked the person responsible ‘why’? Of course, they responded just like everything else Warner Bros. has said about the Snyder Cut. With no response. But I was able to get in contact with another person close to the studio. And this is what I found.
AT&T & Warner Bros.
Justice League was in a precarious position. It was in its final stages of completion when AT&T was about to finalize its purchase of the very film studio responsible for distribution. But like any enterprise, when under new management, there’s always a slight duplication of efforts. Most of it being a complete waste of time, but it needs to be done nevertheless. So AT&T took a step back and allowed Warner Bros. to do what they do best, or so they thought.
A warning for all you would-be warriors out there, what I’ve been told isn’t for the faint of heart. AT&T is a conglomerate concerned with one thing: Profit. Warner Bros. is in the movie-making business for that exact same thing. Anything that gets in the way of that purpose for either company is dealt with and handled with accordingly. And I was told that any footage of a film they want to be forgotten is being shut down retroactively. Little by little they’re finding ways to quiet the annoyance, or so they see it as.
We’ve all seen the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I made a video about the movement. And other fans have come together to make more videos encouraging Warner Bros. to release Snyder’s cut of Justice League. But within the fandom, petitions and who gets the credit has splintered a once semi-organized movement. And AT&T has noticed that as well. So much so that they’ve almost allowed us to implode on ourselves. They’ve noticed and it’s moved the needle, albeit, slightly. And not in the direction we’d want.
With the infighting and justifications of spoiling future DC films, the fandom is once again looking like the villains of our own story. And because Warner Bros. hasn’t released Justice League, things have gotten out of hand. The source I’ve talked too who’s close with Warner Bros. has inferred that the studio wants us to fight a war amongst ourselves. Forget the $200 Million that was budgeted for the film. Forget the $100 Million EXTRA that got added on because of the Whedon reshoots. The fans will prove, as they always have, that money talks. But what happens when you actually take into account what can be generated if they release the Snyder Cut? Ah, things become thick-milky.
We, as a fandom, have done some pretty spectacular things. But we’ve also done some questionable things. From my source:
Telephone operators at Warner Bros. have been told what to do with the abundance of phone calls about the Snyder Cut. Their memo to the unfortunate assistants: “You’re not the decision maker nor do you know the inner workings of the studio. Tell them what they want to hear and treat it as you would a crank call“.
Yet, we treat their words as official announcements from the studio when it couldn’t be further from the truth.
And what about others showing their disdain for films AFTER the butchery of Justice League? I’m all for people to enjoy and watch whatever they feel like. But to ruin films for other DC fans that have no control over your anger towards the studio isn’t a proper way to handle the situation. I asked would a studio want to please a vocal minority actively ruining their films? Their answer:
So why would a studio want to invest MORE money in a $300 Million dollar flop?:
“If it can generate money, they’ll listen“.
The only issue with that last answer is that the film lost money that can’t be made back with ticket sales anymore. It’s a way to hold a carrot in front of our eyes without realizing we don’t even like carrots. How can a film generate more money without getting released in theaters? That’s a question for another time.
How To Win
The studio was rumored to have hired Ben Fritz from The Wall Street Journal to write a hit piece aimed specifically at fans of the Snyder Cut. That should be evidence enough that they’ve taken notice to us. But I was also told they thought that we would just go away. And with the war of words on Twitter every week, they may just prove themselves right. Think about it from their perspective. All they have to do is wait it out until the toxic fanbase consumes everything like a virus pushing even those that want to see it, away. And it damn near has.
But what they couldn’t foresee was certain advocates infiltrating in major ways. You may not know who they are, but they know you. And like Pandora’s box, things are opening in several different areas. They’ve managed to stay hidden long enough to gain access to the behind-the-scenes details. And again, what I’ve found can be looked at positively or negatively.
From what my source has told me, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Warner Media Group CEO John Stankey love a good investment. I was told that before Snyder left, a lot of the VFX were finished and Junkie’s score was done. Now that doesn’t mean it’s 99% done but they did know something I was aware of some months ago. That it wasn’t, unfortunately, matted to the final picture and therefore, was never scored properly. I also confirmed that even in the 214-minute run-time, some PreViz is in place of certain scenes. What they are, I do not know. What I do know, however, is that it exist. His cut is real and they know it.
But, let’s use some simple figures, shall we? In order to finalize said cut, they say figures have floated around in the realm of $40 Million. That would finish the necessary VFX and final sound to complete the film as originally intended. Now, let’s just say that 200,000 fans are all in support of the Snyder Cut on Twitter/Vero. Multiply that number by $20 for a single movie ticket, and you get $4 Million in revenue. Let’s double that for Blu-Ray purchases and we’re now at $8 Million. Pretty good, aye? Well, not really since that doesn’t factor in the cost of the overseas return being higher than in America, mainly the China box office. And also, that the film won’t be released in theaters like a normal theatrical release. I digress.
If you were AT&T and judged every investment on its merits, what decision would you make? The fans ask for the Snyder Cut and, while you do not doubt their honesty or intentions, you understand they represent a fraction of your target audience. But before you add another $40 Million to finish the film, you have to handle the $200 Million that would have been paid out to the original actors involved that weren’t paid from the $100 Million from Whedon’s reshoots. So in truth, you’ll have to invest even more for the legality purposes for a film you’re not going to release in theaters.
Forgive me but I wouldn’t make an investment based on the wishes and dreams of fans that have no intention of further support of future DC Films. While I admire the passion the fandom has, $8 Million does not equate to $40 Million. And in business, I trust in logic, not passion. Banners and phone calls, pleasant though it is, do not equal revenue to the overseer of a company who’s only interested in profit margins. I was told that in order for them to take us seriously, we need to grow the market for the Snyder Cut and prove that they would be foolish not to release it. But that’s the ‘$40’ Million dollar question, isn’t it?
We can make Warner Bros $8 million. So some have assumed you can COST them enough to make it worthwhile. But the same math applies there. First, not all 200,000 can/will boycott future films. But even if they did, we’re talking .02% impact on a film like Shazam. That’s the lowest grossing film in the DC Extended Universe box office as of right now. And Why 200,000? Well, that’s the number of people that signed the petition (actually more like 180,000 but I’m rounding up). And since we haven’t managed to provide a survey or petition with more than that, they have no reason to believe we’re bigger than that number.
We’re the molehill that thinks it’s a mountain, but we’re still getting stepped over. And before people say “The 200,000 fans would see the film 5 times”. No, they wouldn’t, because it’s not getting a theatrical release. So the argument is a farce. Don’t agree? Prove it to the studio. Proving to me you can make them $40 million is redundant. What will it achieve? But proving to Warner Bros. you can make MORE than $40 million is a horse of a different color. That puts them above BREAK EVEN. Now there’s a financial investment worth looking at if we’re solely focused on the $40 Million figure.
So What’s Next?
How can we prove a market exists for their upcoming products and still fight for the Snyder Cut? I don’t have that answer, but I know that yelling at people won’t get us any closer to a release. Maybe if we figure out how to survey more than just our inner circle, we may make contact with a bigger influencer that can help spread the word? What is AT&T and Warner Bros. observing now? They’re clearly taking anything down that is remotely tied to the Snyder Cut which indicates it’s sensitive material to them. But that doesn’t seem to be enough to coax them into releasing anything else for us or even make it known WE exist. Why isn’t that enough?
What does Warner Bros. and AT&T need in order to change their impression of our fandom? We know that kicking and screaming don’t work, otherwise, the constant harassment to Warner Media’s Twitter would have given us the cut already. But we also know that they’re silencing us for a reason. So how can the fandom provide a different impression without viciously attacking people that are clearly NOT the decision makers? I don’t have that answer either, but I was told that Billboards don’t help AT&T’s bottom line and that’s a scary thing. It shows support to a director which I’m all for. It doesn’t, however, show how much AT&T gains in revenue if they release the Snyder Cut of Justice League.