After more than two years of Zack Snyder fans campaigning for the release of his original Justice League, WarnerMedia shocked audiences when it was revealed that a four-part incarnation of his storyline would be coming to HBO Max, with at least one analyst citing that this was likely motivated more by appeasing Snyder himself than a decision motivated by financial gain. With Snyder's project far from complete, rumors claim it could cost roughly $70 million for reshoots and visual effects, with Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore's Senior Media Analyst noting that this move by the company is likely more indicative of investing in Snyder as a filmmaker more than an attempt to reap the financial benefits of releasing this specific project.
“Everyone looks at studios as these monolithic financially motivated entities, but when you see something like this it tells you that more is going on,” Dergarabedian shared with Observer. “There’s an X-factor to consider. Do we want this person to work elsewhere or do we want keep them in-house? If it doesn’t make hard financial or objective financial sense on its face, then there are subjective motivations and factors at play. They want to be in the Zack Snyder business just like Warners wants to be in the Christopher Nolan business. It’s long-term strategy.”
Snyder debuted in the world of DC Comics' superheroes with Man of Steel in 2013, with Warner Bros. execs also tapping him to set the foundation of their comic book universe going forward. While his follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first film to see the iconic heroes share the screen together, was a major financial success, it was a critical failure, as was David Ayer's Suicide Squad. Before shooting had been completed on Justice League, Snyder left the project due to a family tragedy, with Marvel's The Avengers director Joss Whedon completing the project and helming reshoots. The theatrically released Justice League wasn't just a critical disappointment, but a financial one as well.
For years after Justice League's release, Warner Bros. execs and sources related to the project largely pointed out that it wouldn't be financially prudent to release a "Snyder Cut" of the film and they would rather put the calamity behind them.
Dergarabedian pointed out that, not only does the investment into completing the project and marketing it bode well for their confidence in Snyder's future endeavors, but that it also offers audiences incentive to subscribe to HBO Max.
“Maybe they’ve got plans for this that will make it feel more appealing to a broader cross-section of audiences or maybe it’s about having the best-reviewed project irrespective of its financial performance,” Dergarabedian detailed. “This is much more specific than how Marvel has developed its crossover audience appeal. What it really shows is a long-term commitment, patience, and loyalty to a filmmaker to create something grand.”
Additionally, this move would seemingly show fans who have been campaigning for the project's release that the studio saw and understood their wishes and were happy to grant them.
Stay tuned for details on Zack Snyder's Justice League, which is slated to debut sometime next year.
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