In the wake of Justice League‘s critical reception and box office performance Warner Brothers has been subject to a wide-range of scrutiny from fans and the media for the last two and a half week. Many have been trying to figure out what happened behind the scenes and what wrong and now we’ve found out a very specific detail. Today, we have all found out something in particular.
According to The Wrap, Warner Brothers did intend to terminate Zack Snyder’s employment after Batman v Superman. Several Warner Brothers executives went to Greg Silverman who was president at the time and requested Snyder be removed from Justice League. Reports say that Silverman was “quite harsh on Zack” but he could not fire him since production for Justice League was well under way just weeks after Batman v Superman debuted in theaters last year. The decision to keep Snyder on the film ultimately fell to Warner Brothers CEO Kevin Tsujihara. Jon Berg who is president of DC Films also flew to London to monitor the film’s production.
Joss Whedon was brought on to the film for a specific reason. Warner Brothers executives wanted to make the film “more lighter and fun” in response to the negative critical reception of Batman v Superman stating it was “too dark” and “depressing.” This came right around the time when Snyder’s daughter had committed suicide and the general public did not know until May when he officially stepped down. Despite this heartbreaking tragedy, Snyder put forth his best effort to bury himself into the task at hand, but of course he would later step down. The additional pressure coming from Warner Brothers to make alterations to his film couldn’t have come at a time like that. “It stopped being a good situation on any level,” according to The Wrap’s source.
The problems did not stop there. There were the constantly reported re-shoots, which included several new scenes involving Henry Cavill’s Superman. There was one problem though with a lot of these re-shoots. Cavill had another role in Mission Impossible 6, which he was shooting at the same time as he was doing the re-shoots and the role required a mustache that he was contractually allowed to not shave. This forced Warner Brothers to make the decision that it would be digitally edited out of the film when the film was just a few months away even though delaying the film was the best idea. Now here is where the plot begins to really thicken…
As many know AT & T and Time Warner are in the middle of a $85 billion merger deal that they assumed would be closed by the end of this year. One source reportedly told The Wrap that Warner Brothers CEO Kevin Tsujihara and President Toby Emmerich “wanted to preserve their bonuses that they would be paid before the merger,” and were worried “that if they pushed the movie, then their bonuses would have been pushed to the following year and they might not still be at the studio.”
In other words, the current plight of the DC Extended Universe and in extension Justice League has never fully been the fault of Zack Snyder. He was already off of the film by the time Warner Brothers had begun to make the major alterations to the film that drew so much ire. Cuts which had been made due to the critical backlash of Batman v Superman and corporate greed.