Superman and Batman to team up against their greatest common foe: Marvel

No smiles, only tights.

No smiles, only tights, capes, spandex.

The Hollywood Reporter:

Warner Bros. is expected to announce at its Hall H panel that as the follow-up to Man of Steel, it is pairing two of the most recognizable superheroes in the world for a one-two punch that will be directed by Zack Snyder.

Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman, but it is unclear who will play Batman in the new film. A release date of 2015 has been set, with tentative plans for a Flash movie appearing in 2016 and a Justice League movie in 2017, sources said.

The movie was announced by Zack Snyder at about 1:30 to hysterical wailing, praise for our lord Jesus Superman, etc.

Who didn’t see this coming from a mile away? After the runaway success of The Avengers last year, DC had no choice but to start gathering all of its superheroes into the stable for their own ultrabudget omnibus. With their only truly profitable superhero franchise recently completed, the company needs something to keep them neck-and-neck with Marvel, and direct mimicry of a rival studio’s proven formula is the best possible bet in any producer’s eyes. And in keeping with contemporary industry standards, this news couldn’t have been revealed anywhere other than hype factory Comic-Con, where you’d probably see similar reactions to the unveiling of a straight-to-DVD motion comic about Squirrel Girl. Fewer, surely, but still.

Check out that timetable, though. Four more years before The Justice League; four more years of superhero movie after superhero movie from both Marvel and DC, both struggling to gain financial leverage over one another. If you think Superbatman and The Flash are the only offerings you’ll be seeing from DC in this time frame, you’ve got another thing coming (though not The Thing, because Fox owns Fantastic Four). This is the same competitive principle that allows Pepsi and Coke to both occupy the market even after fifty years of competition: curry brand loyalty early on, then oversaturate your brand in the media while deviating minimally from the successful original product. Consumers eager to assert their undying love for High Fructose Corn Syrup Drink A/B will practically do the marketing for you! Also recall a similar “rivalry” between Kanye West and 50 Cent in 2007, motivated by nothing except each party’s desire to galvanize their fanbases and sell more records. Engineering competition is a tried-and-true marketing strategy, except in the scenario that everyone gets so goddamn sick of superhero movies that Marvel and DC both go belly-up before we even reach 2017. But to read this account of people “screaming – literally screaming” and in “floods of tears” upon Zack Snyder’s announcement, that hardly seems likely at all.

Drew Byrd-Smith –

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