I think Green Lantern will end up being a bona fide bomb. It has a 200 million dollar production budget and a 100 million dollar advertising budget. It’s at an anemic 89 million domestic, with a second week plummet of 65%, high even by the usual high standards of blockbuster second week drops. It’s sputtering around overseas. It may crawl towards 180 global, but that’s still well below the budget. And on top of that all, it seems like people don’t particularly like the movie.
And yet Warner Bros is going ahead with a sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Why?
There are a couple of reasons, some of which are real and some of which are posturing. The studio doesn’t want to admit defeat on the movie, because that will hurt the film in future weeks and on home video. By claiming they have a sequel coming down the pike it looks like confidence on the studio’s front, and this could interest ticket buyers. “There’s going to be a second one? Maybe I should see it!”
Also, Warner Bros doesn’t want their DC superheroes brand to look weak compared to Marvel. Yes, it’s good old Marvel vs DC again. DC has a whole bunch of possible franchises lurking, and they don’t want the superheroes to carry the stink of death. Part of what made Thor work was that people liked Iron Man and they see the Marvel movies as one franchise.
The real world reason can be summed up as such: Harry Potter. The studio’s cash cow ends in a couple of weeks, and they need something to replace it. Christopher Nolan is being a bit bitchy to them and making sure that his Batman franchise won’t be that moneymaker, since he’s looking to end it with The Dark Knight Rises. There’s hope for The Man of Steel, but the Superman franchise has been tricky at best and as of right now nobody is completely confident in the script they have.
Warner Bros has known for months that Green Lantern wasn’t going to work; in the final months the biggest executives at the studio got their fingers into the editing of the film, trying to make something workable from it. What they’re probably doing now is writing the first film off as an investment in the series - they know what people responded to, and this time they can pick a director who will be more comfortable with all the special effects. Oh, and they’ll make the whole damn thing cheaper, too. Expect to see much less Oa and much more Sinestro on Earth.
That is if they even make it. Disney claimed they’re making another Tron movie, but there’s been zero movement on that in reality. I expect that Warner Bros will wait until home video comes in for Green Lantern before they actually pull the trigger. It’s the Batman Begins scenario, where they’re hoping the movie finds an audience at home. But unlike Begins, the studio is making a public show of support up front, before the film bounces out of the top five next weekend.