I recently read some reports on MovieWeb and HitFix trying to cause worry over Batman vs Superman. They're saying that if it doesn't make a billion dollars or more, the entire DC film universe is in jeopardy. I don't buy that. Warner Brothers has been around for a very long time. They don't waste millions of dollars on fruitless endeavors, nor do they call their audience "dumb". I do believe, though, they have made some crucial mistakes, whilst Marvel's MCU has done so well. But it isn't too late. In fact, DC could have huge ticket sales if they were to make a few little changes to how they work. Here's a few ways DC can learn from Marvel's cinematic universe as a franchise, and become a long-lasting success.
DC Needs A Feige!
If you haven't heard of Kevin Feige, you're not weird or alone. Most people will say they've never heard of him. However, you have heard of his work. Feige is the president of Marvel Studios. He ultimately makes the decisions when it comes to the MCU and what movies get made as part of the MCU. Feige is the puppet-master of the whole operation. Because of him, the MCU can rightfully claim that "it's all connected". DC needs a head, and I'm not talking about Warner Bros in general, I mean DC specifically using the same model as Marvel with Kevin Feige in charge.
Some say Zack Snyder fills this role, but I don't quite agree. To me, Snyder is DC's equivalent to Joss Whedon (the director behind The Avengers and it's sequel) or maybe even the Russo brothers (the directors behind Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War). He's the man in charge of blending the properties - but Feige does so much more. He ensures that the MCU's offerings are cohesive and yet distinct, overlooking the work of the likes of Whedon and the Russos. He's got his hands in every pie Marvel makes, so to speak - which won't be the case with Snyder when it comes to DC's expanding universe.
DC Needs A Plan
When you consider Marvel's structured phases, the way DC has been working could be seen as loose in comparison. Suddenly without warning or build-up, we heard that they were going to come together and bring Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Flash (among others) into the same universe. In fact, this was even announced at a board meeting! It all feels very rushed, whereas Marvel doesn't roll that way. They've always had a detailed plan in mind. Before Iron Man was even shot, they knew Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers were coming. Seeds were laid throughout Marvel Phase One, such as Nick Fury's entrance in Iron Man's post-credit scene, leading to the finale: The Avengers.
Similarly, The Avengers laid seeds for phases 2 and 3. Because of how connected they are, fans end up seeing every Marvel movie, even if they aren't a huge fan of the headlining hero. DC is basically trying to skip most of step 1 and jump straight from Man of Steel into Batman vs Superman. Imagine if Marvel had started out with Thor and then gone straight into The Avengers! I personally wouldn't have seen it.
DC wants to make you come see BvS by saying it's the beginning of the Justice League. Average movie-goers may not know what that is. I had never heard of the Avengers before The Avengers was released. I saw Iron Man in the commercials and considered it to be another Iron Man movie. Fans of Man of Steel will probably go see BvS, as well as fans of the Nolan trilogy - but I'm thinking unless BvS is amazing, they won't all be able to get past the fact that BvS has no connection to The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Batman Begins. Wonder Woman and Aquaman will only draw people who have previous knowledge of them from comics or TV. In other words, Batman and Superman are very well known, the rest of the Justice League aren't. The general audience may have heard of them, but they're not familiar like Batman and Superman. You've got to put money into your heroes individually first, to reap the rewards of the team-up film. You've GOT to. Trying to side-step this process will only hurt you, and no-one wants DC to get hurt like that.
DC Only Needs ONE Universe
I may not be a genius in any respect, but I'm not an idiot. Nonetheless, I struggle to keep track of which DC property belongs to which universe. I know Arrow and Flash are from the same universe. Gotham goes with the Bat Trilogy right? Is it stand alone? Is Supergirl the Man of Steel's cousin? Of course, major fans will know the exact universe that each show and movie belongs to, but DC are looking to appeal to more than just the hardcore fans with their DCEU.
Don't even get me started on the whole Flash timeline thing either. It's all thoroughly confusing to me. Marvel offers movies and 7+ series that are all connected and relatively easy to follow. Because of their planning and hard work, every fan can keep track of the MCU. DC needs to do some explaining and housecleaning so I'm not so confused!
DC Needs A Single Tone
Again, because of planning, even though every Marvel film is wildly different (Ant Man was a heist film. The Winter Soldier was a spy film.) they all feel the same tonally. I can tell that Guardians of the Galaxy is from Marvel even though no Avengers are mentioned or shown - and that's because of the humor and feel. If I was never a DC fan, I wouldn't have considered how Batman and Superman are connected. Before I was a nerdy fanboy, I loved superhero movies, just not quite enough to dig into characters and their backstories and their relationships. I feel like a large section of the movie going audience share that naivety with comic book characters. Historically, Batman movies are dark and brooding. That's a major part of Batman's character whereas Superman's Man of Steel was bright and (a little) hopeful. These two properties kind of clash in my opinion. They could use this as a contrast between the dark Batman and the light Superman, which is often how they are handled within comic books, but the trailers seem to all be dark and menacing. I hope the film finds that balance, and gives these two beloved characters their own characteristics whilst both belonging to the same universe tonally.
DC Needs To Take Risks
Marvel isn't afraid of failure. Marvel even gives movies to characters that are unknown to wider audiences. Most people had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man. Marvel took huge risks putting those out and yet, we now know and love these properties that were only really known by comic book fans prior to release! DC can absolutely do the same. They have obscure properties too. Give them movies! You never know how us fans will react!
I have to admit, it's been years since my love for DC cooled off. At one point in my life, I believe I told my parents that I would NEVER see anything like Thor or Captain America. I'd never heard of them, and how could they possibly be as good as Batman?! I don't think I was the only person who felt like that either. Somewhere along the line, DC lost their direction and Marvel stole me away. DC needs to make some changes. They've GOT to start planning their moves! Otherwise, I'm going to loose what is left of my interest, and classic characters like Batman and Superman will get left in the dust.