Warner regrets giving Zack Snyder the green light for Justice League
Studio insiders have "lamented" the decision to cave to fan requests.
It's well known that Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder aren't the best of friends after a particularly heated dispute over Justice League that lasted for years before fans demanded to see the film as it was intended, not the Joss Wheadon debacle. Fans liked what they saw and thought it was worth the wait, while critics were far more lukewarm in their assessments. But above all, it was a success in terms of viewership. 2.2 million watched Zack Snyder's version in the first week in America alone. It should also be noted that HBO Max was not offered anywhere else at the time and once it reached the Asian market, so many people watched it that the whole platform crashed. So of course there is no doubt whatsoever that it was right to release Zack's version, but Warner is obviously a long way from admitting it.
According to a long Variety article about the future of Warner and DC, the studio regrets giving the film the green light. They claim to have heard from people on the inside about how that decision was a mistake and write like this in the article:
"Privately, studio insiders have lamented that "Zack Snyder's Justice League" never should've happened. Rather than quiet the unceasing online campaigning to #ReleasetheSnyderCut, the four-hour HBO Max feature only further entrenched the vocal and extremely online "Snyderverse" fanbase in opposition to the leadership at the studio in general and at DC in particular."
The problem here, they claim, is that by releasing Snyder's version of the film, they let the fans win. Their online campaign, run by Snyder himself, made the film company look like the only villain in the drama. They simply had to sit in shame while Snyder and his fans celebrated in the streets. But it didn't stop there. As soon as Warner approved the demand to release the film, they gave the power away to the people. Now they had got their way and immediately realised that now they could do the same thing again with other projects. And sure enough, #ReleasetheSnyderCut was replaced with #RestoretheSnyderverse almost immediately. Also on the wish list was an Ayer Cut of the first Suicide Squad and a standalone Ben Affleck-Batman reel, as well as two more sequels to Justice League. It was a hashtag fest out there and Warner now realised they had opened Pandora's box.
Now nothing came of it anyway as the main person himself, under no circumstances could imagine returning to Warner and DC with all the bad blood flowing under the bridges. He and Netflix had already hit it off and he was now free to do whatever he wanted, according to the agreement. Which, as you know, is two zombie films but also a sci-fi production that is in the works at the time of writing, Rebel Moon.
It's rarely one person's fault when two fight (unless one person is called Putin, of course), but given how much has come out in retrospect about how badly Warner actually handled the situation, it's unsurprising that he sought other hunting grounds. In the end, they also released the film to pump up the number of subscriptions, not because they were being nice and listening to the fans or wanted to appease Zack Snyder. They were simply pandering to Snyder's fan base and it wasn't even very subtle, so the fact that they are now trying to don the role of the victim is just tragic.
Trying to get out of this isn't going to be very easy, of course. Snyder's fans haven't forgotten and won't forget in a hurry. Meanwhile, Warner takes credit for most of the DC projects, even though they're still based on Snyder's original vision, which technically began with Man of Steel. So if, for example, The Flash comes off and turns out to be a smash hit, it's a win for the Snyderverse as Barry Allen first appeared in Zack's Justice League.
What do you think of Warner's handling of this matter?