Actually, DC Studios was right to fire Superman Henry Cavill

In 2012’s Dark Knight Rises, Batman’s enemy Bane threatened to tear Gotham City apart.

Bane lost. But ten years later, DC Studios is picking up where the villain left off, wiping out much of the existing DC Extended Universe of superheroes.

It was announced on Wednesday that Henry Cavill was fired as Superman, a cape he has worn since 2013. DC’s new heads, James Gunn and Peter Safran, also recently scuttled director Patty Jenkins’ plans for Wonder Woman 3. Meanwhile, actor Robert Pattinson’s Batman films and Todd Phillips’ Joker sequel, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, are allowed to move forward but will not be part of the DCEU.

Goodbye forever. For the most part, DC’s movies are terrible and make a pittance at the box office compared to rival Disney-owned Marvel Studios. Warner Bros., who started the comic book bloodbath this summer with the dramatic take on “Batgirl,” finally figured it out.

It is a major shock that has been a long time coming. Unlike Marvel, DC has suffered one embarrassing flop after another. The summer film “Black Adam,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the titular anti-hero, grossed just $389 million at the worldwide box office. The Suicide Squad, with decent reviews, grossed $168 million in 2021. And “Wonder Woman 1984” grossed just $169 million at the end of 2020. “The Batman” was the top performer in March with $770 million.

Henry Cavill will not be returning to play Superman in future DCEU films.
Henry Cavill will not be returning to play Superman in future DCEU films.
dwayne "The stone" Johnson's DC film "Black Adam" was a box office flop.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s DC film Black Adam was a box office flop.

The series of startling failures could be attributed in part to the pandemic and WB’s short-lived strategy straight to HBO Max, which has since been shelved by WB Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav. At the same time, however, some of Marvel’s 2021 and 2022 films have been big hits, notwithstanding the broader industry challenges: Spider-Man: No Way Home ($1.9 billion) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. ($955 million). . DC movies also tend to anger critics, who far prefer the more consistent MCU.

The bottom line is that DC is a monster mayhem that needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up, regardless of what those crazed Zack Snyder fans will tell you. But the demolition will not be easy.

The high-profile, high-stakes effort is one that almost nobody in Hollywood wanted to take on.

“The whole city turned down the job,” said an industry source. “It was almost Todd Phillips. You begged him.”

James Gunn (left) and Peter Safran (right) are the new co-CEOs of DC Studios.
James Gunn (left) and Peter Safran are the new co-CEOs of DC Studios.

Ultimately, Warner Bros. Discovery chose Gunn, who directed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and DC’s The Suicide Squad, and Safran, who produced DC’s Shazam and Aquaman. The duo helped Zaslav find a Dick Cheney-esque replacement for Walter Hamada and eventually landed on the gig.

Some don’t believe Gunn, who has been in the role since October, is up to the task of transforming the ailing studio.

“Gunn has never driven anything,” the source said. “I wonder if great filmmakers will work for another inexperienced director who puts films through a giant mill of a system. He’s not Kevin Feige [of Marvel].”

Ezra Miller as The Flash in "justice league" in 2017.
A standalone “Flash” film is still slated for release despite recent controversy from star Ezra Miller.
© Warner Bros./Courtesy of Everett C

In any case, a young Superman film that he wrote and says isn’t an origin story, Gunn begins with guns blazing. No director has been announced yet.

Some DCEU movies are already in the can and will be released in 2023 for now. This includes “Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash (starring controversial Ezra Miller), Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. After that, it’s the Gunn show.

Another thorn in their side, however, is that NBCUniversal is reportedly eyeing a purchase of Warner Bros. Discovery, so any strategic changes Gunn and Safran are making could soon be jettisoned anyway. Zaslav denied WB is for sale during a town hall, but the industry source insisted “it’s a cash-strapped company that’s being sorted out for sale.”

One thing is clear: The Marvel Cinematic Universe has released 30 movies worth $25 billion and an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture for “Black Panther.” To even come close to competing with this behemoth, DC must change at lightning speed. Actually, DC Studios was right to fire Superman Henry Cavill

Emma Bowman

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