You clicked on the article and you probably think I’m crazy. I know. But here me out. Besides Zack Snyder, I’m the last person in the world who would want this. But this is something that needs to be addressed. Could Zack Snyder’s Justice League potentially be in danger of failure?
Let’s talk about it…
First off, let’s define failure. Because this term can be subjective. In this case I will define failure as Zack Snyder’s Justice League underperforming to make the proper amount of money needed to warrant a continuation.
The interesting thing about Zack Snyder’s Justice League is that it technically can be seen as a “directors cut”. While many know the behind the scenes backstory in which this film was made. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is another version (or original version) of a film that has already come out. It just so happens that this version that is going to be released will be so different, it mine as well be an entirely film. And in essence it is. And thus it’s being treated as such. So with that the success of this film will be judged as any other film. This isn’t the directors cut of the theatrical Justice League, this isn’t the Ultimate Edition of the theatrical Justice League. This is Zack Snyder’s Justice League. A new film that is coming to HBOMAX in 2021. But will it be a success?
Here are the things going against it.
MOVIE, NOT A SERIES
It was recently confirmed by Zack Snyder on Vero, that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is no longer a series, but a movie. This is the opposite than what was sold to us back in May of 2020 when this was announced. It was said that Snyder sold Zack Snyder’s Justice League to HBOMAX as a series. And it stands to reason that the idea of a series was a major bargaining chip.
Zack Snyder, who is known to make long movies, is one of the few directors who’s films would lend itself to an episodic format. And with HBOMAX being pretty new, an episodic version of Justice League, spanning 4 chapters over a period of 4 weeks must have been very attractive. Not only would it secure subscribers for a minimum of 2 months, it would keep the conversation around the film going for 4 weeks. And with that, attracting a lot of attention to the streaming service. But now as a film, those benefits are gone. And from a business perspective, it seems counterintuitive to their bottom line.
Another thing about the episodic format that would work in their favor is audience attention span. While many people are willing to binge 4+ hours worth of television, for some psychological reason, when that runtime is applied to films, people shy away. It’s not logical, but it’s the way humans are wired. So I can’t help but think, that as far as general audience goes, a 4 hour runtime will be hard for many to get on board for. And for this film to be successful, it needs to appeal to more than just the die-hard Snyder fans. It needs to appeal to the general audience. And while I selfishly prefer the cinematic experience of a movie, I always felt the series format was a better business decision.
Something else that is going against it is competition. At the time of its original announcement, Zack Snyder’s Justice League was HBOMAX’s baby. It was used to bring people on board to the platform a year before it will even be launched. But now, since the ongoing evolution of this pandemic, plans have changed. With COVID having no discernable end in sight, Warner Bros has decided to simultaneously debut all of their 2021 library of films on HBOMAX AND in theaters on the same day.
This means that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is no longer the only major IP HBOXMAX has going for it. And because of this there’s a chance other properties might take away it’s “thunder”. Releasing around the same time as Zack Snyder’s Justice League are Godzilla vs Kong and Mortal Combat. These are both huge IP’s. And as opposed to before where people would have been watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League for a span of 4 weeks, there’s possibility that after Zack Snyder’s Justice League comes out, people will move onto the next release and forget about it.
One thing Zack Snyder’s Justice League does have going for it though, is the fact that it will stay on HBOMAX. All of these “dual releases” will only be on the streaming service for about a month. While Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be on HBOMAX forever.
PHYSICAL MEDIA RELEASES
Another double edged sword is the idea of a physical release. While I can not wait to buy a 4k Blu-ray of Zack Snyder’s Justice League and place it proudly next to my Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman Blu-ray’s. Thus completing the Snyder DC trilogy. I feel like that takes away from the exclusivity of it airing on HBOMAX. While many streaming service exclusive’s usually end up getting physical releases, they usually happen a few months after they originally aired on the streaming platform.
But if rumors are to be believed, we should be expecting Zack Snyder’s Justice League to be released on physical media during the same month. And if I’m a consumer, I might find the idea of only paying for a film once to be more attractive than committing to a streaming service. And while HBOMAX does have a lot to offer, adding another streaming service to the list is something most families don’t want to do.
Lastly, for what might be the biggest worry for this film is that it won’t be releasing internationally. At least not on HBOMAX.
Zack Snyder has one of the biggest fanbases of any director. And a big part of his fanbase is his international audience. Having fans hailing from other counties such as India, Brazil, the UK, etc…, failing to launch HBOMAX in those places could prove detrimental. And while Zack Snyder’s Justice League seems to be available for purchase on the Google play store, making it available worldwide. That still means less traction for HBOMAX.
The entire reason this film is even coming out is because of HBOMAX. It’s the reason they sunk $70 million into it. To get a return. But with all of these things going against it. It’s hard to believe they might get that return that they were looking for.
I have no doubt HBOMAX will become a huge success this year. But it will no longer be because of films like Zack Snyder’s Justice League. But because of their revamped theatrical release strategy. And while that’s good for the overall streaming service, I’m not sure it bodes well for the future of the “Snyder Verse”.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
One thing I want to make clear is that this is all speculation. Being a huge fan of Zack Snyder and his DC films, the last thing I want is for this movie to fail. But I couldn’t help but notice the astronomical mountain it has to climb now. But we simply don’t know what the future holds. The movie could preform beyond anyone’s expectations. The cons going against it can become pros.
There’s a chance that maybe the film didn’t play well as a series and was more accessible as a full movie. And because of that it could perform better. There also a chance that the movies releasing around it will actually draw more attention to HBOMAX. Thus bringing more eyes onto Zack Snyder’s Justice League. And if history repeats itself, much like with the Batman V Superman Ultimate Edition, Zack Snyder’s Justice League could do gangbusters on physical and digital, making it an undeniable hit. And if that’s the case, the conversations to #RestoreTheSnyderVerse will become a lot louder in the HBOMAX offices…
At the end of the day, we don’t know what will happen. But we do know how strong the Snyder fandom is. So I’m willing to bet that they will be doing everything in their power to make this movie a success. And here’s hoping it is.
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