How can a film make $53 million in three days and be considered a misfire? Ask the producers of “The Green Lantern.” The Ryan Reynolds-starring superhero film was never expected to be the next “Spider-man” or “Batman” but producers had enough confidence in it to allow a production budget of $150 million and a marketing budget of $125 million. With $275 million invested, the film will require strong international business to break even.
So why didn’t it meet expectations? Some critics say that there is superhero fatigue. I disagree. Superhero fatigue would require a series of huge smash successes and, while “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class” both easily crossed $100 million, neither is going to be a box office smash guaranteeing many more movies in either franchise (though both will warrant sequels). The real problem is that “The Green Lantern” didn’t look very good. It didn’t look “boring” and “joyless”, two words commonly expressed in critics bad reviews, but it didn’t look like an exciting action movie I’d want to pay $10 for.
The interesting question is: Why is Christopher Nolan the only person who can prevent a DC Comics movie failure after the year 2000? Let’s look at every post-2000 DC Comics live action film:
2004: “Catwoman.” Widely considered one of the worst superhero movies of all-time. Set back the rights of minorities, minority women, and minority women who dress as cats for decades. At least Halle Berry personally accepted her Golden Raspberry Award for worst actress of the year. FAILURE.
2005: “Batman Begins”. Christopher Nolan. HUGE SUCCESS.
2006: “Superman Returns”. Attempt to re-boot Superman franchise failed. It made good money, but cost even more. And now there’s no plan for a sequel, just another re-start. SEMI-FAILURE.
2008: “The Dark Knight”. Christopher Nolan. HUGE SUCCESS.
2009: “Watchmen”. Whether you loved it or hated it (I find it very overrated, but with a great soundtrack), it didn’t meet expectations by critics or fans. Blue penises don’t sell tickets, I guess. SEMI-FAILURE.
2010: “Jonas Hex.” Huh? What? You say Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, and Megan Fox starred in this? Budget = $47 Million; Revenue = $10 Million. HUGE FAILURE
2011: “The Green Lantern.” I’m going to be optimistic and call it a low-level success because international tickets will push it into being profitable. But it certainly won’t spawn a sequel. LOW SUCCESS.
2012: “The Dark Knight Rises.” Christopher Nolan. HUGE SUCCESS (I’d put my meager life savings on it.)
Long story short: Christopher Nolan is a DC Comic fanboy’s Jesus.