2015 just got really, really stressful for film critics, folks.
Immediately following the court decision confirming Warner Bros.' ownership of the Superman copyright, the company has revealed its plans to release their upcoming Justice League movie, an all-star DC Comics superhero team project intended to compete with Marvel Studios' Avengers franchise, in 2015. For those who haven't been paying attention, Marvel's sequel, tentatively titled The Avengers 2, has already been scheduled for May 1, 2015.
Marvel's got the edge on Justice League however. They have years of good will built up from their existing solo franchises, whereas Warner Bros. is going to be starting from scratch with Man of Steel, a film that may turn out to be incredible but has also been met with concern from some fans over its flashy director, Zack Snyder, and its strange, Terrence Malick-esque teaser trailer. Moreover, Justice League runs the risk of being rushed into production to meet this deadline. Warner Bros. has a screenplay in place by Will Beall (Gangster Squad), whereas Marvel has a not only a screenwriter, but an infrastructure already in place, CGI assets already formed, long-term plans for the franchise and most of its cast already locked in. Justice League probably has Man of Steel's Henry Cavill in place as Superman (though even that's unconfirmed), but no director and no established sense of continuity to inspire audiences to feel comfortable with the direction of the franchise.
You may recall that there was a similar competition in 2006, when Fox rapidly set up X-Men: The Last Stand to compete with Warner Bros.' Superman Returns, a film directed by former X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer. Neither film is well-remembered to this day, which may be a coincidence but we do hope that Warner Bros. pays attention to the failings of the third X-Men movie, many of which fans and critics attribute to the film being rushed into production.
Either way, that's going to be a hell of a summer, isn't it? Not to mention the build up to it, since we'll be deluged with rumors, behind the scenes photos and fan speculation for years prior. It was stressful enough keeping up with both The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises in a single year, but man... a lot of us internet journalists are going to be turning to the inside of a bottle for solace in about two years.
The announcement originally came from The Los Angeles Times, but we expect more Justice League news very soon if Warner Bros. wants to hit that deadline, so...
CraveOnline will be back with more Justice League updates after we hear back from the Watchtower.