5 Ways to Prep: Wonder Woman
By George Rose
June 1, 2017
It wasn’t long ago that the superhero genre flooded the marketplace with testosterone-fueled action extravaganzas that almost always became successful and profitable adaptations of historic comic books. Men in spandex being directed by men and marketed to a male audience; the three main ingredients to blockbuster filmmaking. This weekend we have Wonder Woman, a $100+ million budgeted superhero movie about a woman in a skirt, directed by a woman and marketed to everyone on the planet. How could this be anything less than a massive equal opportunity achievement?
A decade ago, we were introduced to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). It teamed up Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk. They each got their own movie before leading up to the mega mash-up, The Avengers. All individual appearances led to moderate success, but together they blew up the box office and broke the opening weekend record in 2012 with over $200 million, eventually earning over $600 million domestically and $1.5 billion worldwide. And with great power comes… DC’s attempt to replicate the same success. Granted, DC Comics movies were the original superhero blockbusters, with Superman and Batman dominating the 1970s through the 1990s. Then, Marvel changed all that in the 2000s by properly planning a cohesive connection between all of their properties before bringing them together. DC, on the other hand, threw a bunch of shit at the wall and hoped some of it would stick.
With Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy over and Disney’s MCU taking over the galaxy, Warner Bros. announced their own DCEU (DC Extended Universe). First up was Man of Steel, the Superman reboot released in 2013, one year after The Avengers. The natural assumption would be the DCEU following this up with maybe a Batman, Flash and Aquaman movie before releasing their superhero mash-up, Justice League. Oh no, no no no. If they did that, it would be totally copying the same idea. Plus, Disney’s MCU was well beyond the mash-up idea and were actively working towards bigger ideas like pitting their superhero brothers and sisters against each other in their Civil War.
So, the DCEU goes, “Let’s rush the mashup, skip right over the first time everyone works together and go right into… what’s the not-copyrighted version of Civil War?... right into the Dawn of Justice, because dawn comes before daylight and maybe conflict comes before teamwork… so yeah, let’s do that and nobody will notice we’re rushing things! GENIUS!” In 2015 we got Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, aaaaaaaand we all remember how that went. Not a Superman sequel, not a Batman introduction and barely a platform for Wonder Woman, it was a disastrous film that didn’t just throw shit at the wall; it threw three kinds of shit at the wall, they merged into one mega doomsday dump and that collective pile of wasted opportunity fell flat on the floor without even momentarily sticking to the wall.
But hey, it cost $250 million to make and earned $873 million worldwide so it was profitable. That’s more to produce and less of an earnings than Avengers but it made some money and the DCEU had plans for several future films, so the show must go on. Next up was Suicide Squad, and everyone was so pumped. Marvel never did a supervillain movie, so DC finally had something original to talk about. Fans were super excited until the reviews came out. For such an “original” property, it performed very similarly to the other two DCEU films. It opened well, made a few dollars by DC standards and was HORRIBLE. Just a total waste of time, money and opportunity.