It's no secret the Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe has struggled to find its feet. From major management shake-ups to rumors of creative struggles to lackluster critical and commercial performances, films like Justice League and Suicide Squad haven't exactly been viewed as successes. However, the studio is anything but deterred -- and ready to learn from its mistakes as it moves ahead with a slate that includes Aquaman, Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984.
Warner Bros.' strategy for future efforts? Well, it's simple: Make better movies.
While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, recently promoted Warner Bros. Pictures Chairman Toby Emmerich was asked to draw a conclusion from the studio's DC film releases. "I think the good movies work better," he replied. "Somebody once said the best business strategy in motion pictures is quality. And I think in a world of Rotten Tomatoes and social media, what’s been proven the better the movie — particularly in the superhero genre — the better it performs. You can’t hide the bacon anymore."
When asked whether critical response really does matter for superhero films, he explained that the "better film" has to not only have the Rotten Tomatoes advantage, but has to be timed correctly as well.
"I would say no matter what, the better the movie is the more advantage it is," Emmerich said. "Now when you’re talking about art, I do believe that it’s tough to judge art at the moment when its presented to the world. My father was very involved in the arts, he was always taking me to museums and galleries and historical buildings. He believed any kind of art — whether it’s fashion or sculpture or architecture or filmmaking or music — it takes 20 years to judge the quality of something. Twenty years after Sgt. Pepper or Born to Run comes out, then you can understand what that album was. I guess when I say 'quality," I don’t want to judge anybody’s movies completely at the moment of release. But I would say there are movies that are right for their time, that an audience is ready for, that’s in sync with the zeitgeist, and I think you need a movie whose quality is recognized at the moment of release so it’s in touch with the culture of the moment. We’re at a unique moment around the planet and certain types of movies are working better than others at this moment of time. And I do think Aquaman will sync up with the global culture zeitgeist of what’s happening right now.
Aquaman's first trailer is set for release next month during Comic-Con International in San Diego, so we will soon be able to see for ourselves whether Emmerich's predictions are correct.