If someone told you a year ago we’d all be wearing masks out in the public, you would have laughed at them.
If someone told you a year ago, we‘d be watching more movies on streaming than in the theatres, you would have simply rubbished them aside as the same people who said e-books would be the death of books.
If someone told you a year ago that Zack Snyder’s Justice League a.k.a the famed Snydercut would come out in 2020, you would have dismissed it as a rumor.
Much like its villain Darkseid, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is becoming a much bigger entity than anyone initially thought. Not that it wasn’t a cultural phenomenon, to begin with, but it just cracked an equation no one thought possible. And it’s invading our cultural space with all its might and at just the right time.
For those not in the know, the 2017 Justice League movie was a corruption of Zack Snyder’s vision for DC’s most well-known characters. Snyder left the shooting due to a personal tragedy and Warner Bros. intervened. They handed over reigns to Joss Whedon in the hope of making quick Avengers-style money. Whedon and Geoff Johns completely rewrote Snyder and Terrio’s script incorporate ‘more humor’. But the result was a mess that neither had the charm of the MCU nor the intensity of the DCEU.
Fans massively campaigned for 3 years with multiple trending events on social media and raised money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A new, more business-minded management at Warners (after the AT&T’s takeover) finally saw the announcement that the Snyder Cut would be released on their new streaming service HBO Max. They also granted Snyder another $70 million to for additional photography to complete his vision.
‘RELEGATED TO STREAMING’
Zack Snyder is perhaps the most hated mainstream director. Not by his co-workers, crew or actors who have actually worked with him. They have only the best things to say about him. Not even by successful filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, James Cameron or JJ Abrams who have nothing but good things to say about him. But by a certain portion of the critics and failed film-makers, who have stooped down so many levels that even Hades would call it too low.
Before ZSJL was announced, a Zack Snyder zombie movie titled “Army of the Dead” was announced on Netflix. Snyder’s critics remarked that he was ‘a once-mighty Hollywood director’ who was now ‘relegated to making movies for streaming services’. Conveniently forgetting the fact that Scorsese, Alfonso Cuaron, David Fincher and Michael Bay were all doing the same.
Even when ZSJL was announced, many critics felt releasing such a massive DC characters team-up movie on streaming was an automatic fail.
THE STREAMING EQUATION
But what is obvious is that it was the streaming war itself that made the ZSJL possible. Despite the amount of social media campaigns in its support, the Justice League theatrical version had already lost Warner Bros. a lot of money. The only reason they even considered releasing it, and that too with an additional budget, is that they understood that its value on a streaming platform. Every platform is looking for exclusive content that draws subscriptions. Studios understand that streaming is the future. But they couldn’t have guessed how soon of a future it would be.
The unforeseen COVID 19 pandemic actually came as a blessing for all streaming services. Theatrical models will never be the same again. Not that they will disappear forever, but streaming is here to stay. It’s a more dependable revenue stream for the studios as well. What you might see in theatres may only be blockbusters from now on.
Its frankly boring at this point to count the number of times the release dates of major blockbusters like Wonder Woman 84, No Time to Die etc. have been postponed. The financial compulsions still keep the studios from releasing these online. The release of Tenet proved that no matter how good a movie is, people aren’t ready to put their lives at risk.
Even Marvel, the king of the box office, doesn’t have any immediate plans to release any major movies this year. Only content they have are some side character series on Disney plus.
Let’s summarize – theatres are shut down indefinitely. No major blockbuster movies nor comic book movies coming out this year. People are more or less trapped in their homes of afraid to movie out for anything but a necessity. Streaming platforms have good content but nothing that draws major attention worldwide like Game of Thrones did at one point.
Suddenly that ‘failure of a movie’ which was ‘bullied into existence by fans’ and whose director has been ‘relegated to streaming’ has become the biggest intellectual property to look out for.
A four hour, four-part weekly miniseries! With DC Comics’ most popular characters! An epic big-budget space invasion story with a stellar cast!
with a tease for a sequel and spin-off possibilities?!! This is every streaming platform’s wet-dream.
Also, one must not forget the key here is Zack Snyder. ZSJL is not just riding on the fact of being an awesome DC comics characters ensemble, its literally titled Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Not only because Snyder fought for the title but because even the studio knows Snyder sells. Snyder knows how to create never-before-seen content that gets people talking.
Love his work or hate it, people are always talking about it. Man of Steel released in 2013 and people are still talking about it. A Snyder project maybe a spectacular failure to some people, but it is spectacular in the first place. It’s not that Snyder is a shock jock who does it for the controversy. He genuinely makes movies with passion and love for the craft. But his choices are such that it’s literally free marketing for studios to have his name attached to any project.
No wonder even Netflix courted Snyder and gave him full reign to create his own original Army of the Dead universe. With prequels, spin-offs etc. being green-lit.
After everything, Zack and his family have faced over the last few years, if someone had told Zack Snyder that one day he’ll have full free creative reign to tell his stories, even he himself wouldn’t have believed it.
To quote one of his favorite authors:
“…And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world” – Joseph Campbell
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