Why a Man of Steel flop could kill DC's Justice League movie

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Jan 29, 2013, 9:35 AM EST

Amid all the buzz about DC joining the tentpole party with Justice League, Warner Bros. has a little tidbit worth noting—if Man of Steel bombs, Justice League could be off the table before it even gets off the ground.

Turns out there’s a reason the studio hasn’t moved forward with a director, despite all the rumors that everyone from Ben Affleck (Argo) to Rian Johnson (Looper) is in the running. They’re waiting to see how Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot performs before throwing some momentum behind Justice League.

Here’s the choice excerpt from Variety’s report:

Stakes are high for "Man of Steel." Other than Nolan's Batpics, Warners has not been able to effectively exploit the DC library. Its 2011 "Green Lantern" underperformed, and a "Justice League" film wouldn't likely be in theaters before 2015, as Warner's top brass has indicated that they are awaiting the results of "Man of Steel," which opens June 14, before moving further ahead.

Honestly, it’s hard to argue with the logic. Aside from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. hasn’t really been able to crack the superhero genre with any commercial success. With Marvel scoring hit after hit after hit at the box office, DC is desperate to get in on the action. Much like when Marvel made its first big gamble on Iron Man, it’s go big or go home for DC with Man of Steel. So, no pressure.

It’s also worth noting that the story reiterates earlier reports that Justice League (if it happens) will focus on Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and the Green Lantern. Again, not a bad strategy. You don’t want to cram too many heroes into the first outing, especially when you’re trying to introduce the majority of them for the first time.

What do you think of DC’s wait-and-see strategy?

(Via Variety)