The re-launch of DC Comics movies has been anything but smooth, particularly for fans of the original comics.
Both March’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and this month’s “Suicide Squad” recorded steep box office drops in their second weekend of release — and an anonymous open letter to Warner Bros. Entertainment chairman Kevin Tsujihara emerged last week claiming trouble behind the scenes for next year’s “Wonder Woman” starring Gal Gadot.
But those alarm bells may be premature — since the cavalry is on the way (and not a moment too soon for some nay-sayers).
What that cowardly letter posted to Pajiba failed to point out is that DC Films has a very big ace up its sleeve in Geoff Johns, who has won numerous awards as a writer for his excellent work in comics like “The Flash” and a beloved “Superman” story with the villain Brainiac.
In the wake of the reception from fans to “Batman v Superman,” Tsujihara smartly promoted Johns from DC Comics’ Chief Creative Officer to co-president of DC Entertainment with longtime studio exec Jon Berg.
That alone should get fanboys excited because the duo serve as co-producers for the upcoming DC Films, including the “Justice League” movies (along with new onscreen Batman Ben Affleck).
Johns and Affleck are currently co-writing the screenplay for a stand-alone “Batman” movie, directed by and starring Affleck, and he’s credited as co-writer (with Alan Heinberg) on director Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” due next June. He also gets a story writer credit for “Aquaman” with director James Wan.
Here is the kicker: Geoff Johns was recruited by the filmmakers themselves to work on these movies, according to sources close to the studio, and didn’t pitch or assign himself to the projects.
The fact that three different filmmakers asked for Johns’ input should speak volumes for fans since a comics-savvy guy will play a critical role in shaping the upcoming DC movies — even if he’s arriving too late to influence this year’s two projects, which have taken a drubbing from critics.
So before fanboys hit the panic button, the studio is giving Johns the opportunity to emerge as the fan-centric playmaker who can successfully go on offense and create a Marvel-style shared universe for Warner.