For a couple of days, the hashtag #SellZSJLToNetflix or #SellSnyderverseToNetflix has been trending on Twitter. This hashtag is basically an appeal by fans of the “Snyderverse” (DC movies directed by Zack Snyder) to Netflix. Fans want the streaming service to continue producing the DC movies that Zack Snyder had planned but could never make due to the regime change at Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD). This includes “Justice League Part 2,” “Batman,” and more. However, it isn’t just a fan campaign anymore. Director Zack Snyder has “liked” a post made by a fan with the same above hashtag on the social media platform Vero. So, it looks like he is backing the effort. But is it possible for Netflix to continue Zack Snyder’s DC movies on their platform? Let us discuss that and more.
Why Warner Bros Discovery Won’t Sell The Rights Of DC Characters To Netflix
The “Snyderverse ” fans trending the hashtag think that Netflix can make DC movies and stream them on their platform if David Zaslav, the WBD boss, licenses out the rights to the characters who will be involved in these projects. After all, the rights to DC Comics’ characters are owned by WBD. They think that it’s possible because WBD has licensed the rights of another DC Comics property to Netflix, “The Sandman.”
Currently, Netflix has renewed “The Sandman” for an extended season. Also, they think that Netflix will be able to get Zack Snyder on board for these films since he already has a contract with them. He has already made “Army of the Dead” and “Army of Thieves” for the streaming service, with other movies like “Rebel Moon” currently being developed. However, there’s one thing they are not taking into consideration. DC Comics is WBD’s crown jewel. During the investors’ Q&A in 2022 for WBD’s Q2 call, David Zaslav said they wanted to make high-quality DC movies. He also said they want to build a long-term business by making live-action content with DC Comics characters. So, the chances of them licensing the rights to their most popular characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are out of the question.
Characters in Netflix’s “The Sandman” are not as popular as the three mentioned above. Also, WBD is focusing on building a superhero franchise, something that “The Sandman” doesn’t qualify as. As such, it objectively doesn’t make sense for Warner Bros. Discovery to license out the rights of characters like Superman and Batman. But another question again arises. Wouldn’t it be profitable for the company to license the rights and make more content with the popular characters? After all, wouldn’t they make more money this way? During the 2022 Capital Markets Technology, Internet, Media, and Telecommunications Conference, Zaslav said he wanted DC to be streamlined. This means that he didn’t want there to be four batmen. As such, it doesn’t make sense for a company that wants to adopt a streamlined approach to licensing out the rights to its superhero characters to have different versions of the same characters again.
Why Netflix Wouldn’t Buy The License For DC Characters
Logically, it doesn’t look like WBD will license the rights to its famous characters. However, even if we hypothetically assume that the company will license the rights to its characters, it won’t be such a profitable venture for Netflix. Let’s look at the numbers. Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” was made on a budget of $200–225 million. His next DC film, “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (BvS), had a $250–300 million budget.
Following the disastrous reception to BvS, Warner Bros. reigned in his sprawling plans for “Justice League,” but they didn’t skimp on the budget. The movie is reported to have initially cost $275 million to make. Snyder’s later departure and Joss Whedon’s entry as the director ballooned the budget by another $25 million due to extensive reshoots. Now, the movie has a grand total of $300 million. When WB decided to make “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” the unfinished film needed extra scenes, and its CGI also had to be completed. As per “The Wrap,” this cost the executives another $70 million. Thus, the total for what was ultimately one movie with two versions came to an eye-watering $370 million. This makes it one of the highest-budget movies of all time. In comparison, rumors say that the actual profits made by his movies weren’t great, especially when the marketing budget is included with the production budget for the films.
As such, considering the precedence, it doesn’t make sense for Netflix to get the rights to DC characters and then continue Zack Snyder’s vision on their platform. Netflix indeed produced the Snyder-directed “Army of the Dead” for $70–90 million, but it was a project they had all the rights to. As such, they can continue building a franchise out of it without fearing any legal complications. Also, Netflix will have to sign off on a way higher production budget if they make DC movies with the same cast as “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” After all, stars like Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck don’t come cheap. So logically, it doesn’t make sense for the streaming company to invest so much in it.
Viewers of Netflix’s Marvel shows like “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” will remember that Marvel Studios refused to renew the rights for these characters after a set time. Also, they will remember that all of those shows felt cheaply made. If WBD goes through with licensing, this situation might repeat itself, and that’s something Zaslav wouldn’t want. As such, the fan effort to see Zack Snyder’s DC vision brought to life is remarkable. But it’s sadly unrealistic.