For the second week in a row, The Lego Batman Movie sits on top of the weekend box office chart by grappling in an estimated $33 million in revenue. In just 11 days, the estimated $80 million dollar movie has earned $110 million, which is basically like a trillion lobster thermidor meals. As crazy as that sounds, the movie is expected to finish somewhere around $170 million domestic, and if it does, that would be a great finish for the digitized caped crusader.
The foreseeable box office success of The Lego Batman Movie, and the positive buzz surrounding it creates an interesting quandary for Warner Bros.: Does the studio continue in its brooding, superhero ways, or is it time for a lighter live-action #DCEU?
Too Gloomy For Some
Since the release of Man of Steel in 2013, Warner Bros. has been trying to justify its dark and gritty take on the #DC Comics Universe. Understandably, Warner Bros. purposely injected a different tone into its movies in order to separate them from those made by Marvel Studios. However, the decision has been extremely polarizing, and Warner Bros. isn’t raking in the dough like its competitor.
In a very defiant way, Warner Bros. has not admitted defeat, even with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman not performing up to expectations. Soon we will see what Wonder Woman and Justice League will add (or subtract, based on your point of view) to the DCEU, and whether or not there is an audience ready for more Zack Snyder-like superhero movies.
Changing the tone of the movies following in the vein of Man of Steel is not an option for Warner Bros. at this point in time because the studio is too far along in producing movies that are built in that universe. However, a lighter live-action DCEU could be introduced back into cinema by way of the multiverse.
A Multiverse Approach To Movie Making
Within DC Comics there is something called the multiverse — numerous universes that each contain a unique version of Earth. For instance, on Earth-23 Superman is African American and President of the United States (basically a super-powered Barack Obama). By introducing the multiverse into the cinematic DCEU, the Snyder-like movies could be made, and so could other superhero movies similar in tone to Richard Donner’s Superman (1978).
Some Super PG Movies Have Been Made
Superhero movies certainly appeal to a large audience at the PG-13 level. However, an even larger audience may exist at the PG level. Some of the most top-grossing PG movies include: Star Wars, E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, and Back To The Future. These live-action PG movies have garnered as much, if not more, than their PG-13 and R-rated counterparts.
Breaking From The Mold
Since the success of Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), the playbook to make a superhero movie has been as follows: 1) make the costumes black, 2) have enough violence and sexualization to give the movie a PG-13 rating and 3) ground everything in a dark reality. It wasn't until 2016 with the release of the R-rated Deadpool movie that the playbook went out the window, and a successful R-rated superhero movie was made. There have been other R-rated superhero movies but none as successful as Deadpool.
Now, more than ever, it seems like the hip thing to do is make R-rated superhero movies, but if Warner Bros. wants to truly separate itself from the rest of the pack, maybe it's time for a PG rated superhero movie. There are plenty of highly respectable DC comic books that inspiration can be drawn from to create some amazing live-action PG superhero movies, such as: Superman: Son of Superman, Batman: The Long Halloween, DC The New Frontier and many more.
What do you think, is it time for Warner Bros. to pump out some lighter, live-action DCEU movies?
[Image Source: DC Comics]