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Toby Emmerich Talks About Making Good DC Movies That Connect With The Pop Culture Landscape



After their series of exclusive articles on James Wan’s upcoming Aquaman movie last week, Entertainment Weekly has published a new interview they did with Warner Bros. Film Chairman Toby Emmerich about the future of DC Films. While the bulk of the interview is in direct relation to Aquaman, Emmerich makes a very valid point about Hollywood blockbusters moving forward:

I think the good movies work better. 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.

Obviously this rule of thumb won’t always be the case. It certainly isn’t when it comes to more art-house type films, such as Ari Aster’s recent horror film Hereditary, which is just the latest case of professional film critics and mass general audiences not seeing eye-to-eye on the quality of the film. But in the context of Hollywood blockbusters? Of the superhero genre in particular? Emmerich is right on the money.

Heck, just look at how Brad Bird’s The Incredibles 2 performed this past weekend if you want proof of that- a whooping $180 million opening weekend.

Now, obviously some of the more controversial DCU films initially performed quite well at the box office, despite their poor critical response. “So what gives?” you ask. To that, Toby Emmerich further states:

I would say no matter what, the better the movie is the more advantageous it is. 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.

A lot of this may seem sort of obvious, or vague, but there is some interesting subtext to these remarks. One could look at what Toby Emmerich is saying here and say that he’s implying that some previous DCU entries didn’t have their finger on pop culture’s pulse. And you could even look at his initial remarks about “Good movies” as a tacit admission that the WB executives who were calling the shots prior to him weren’t interested so much in making good movies as they were about selling a DC product- as there are old rumors that the suits didn’t care about things like quality scripts, assuming comic book audiences were just sheep who would flock to any movie with capes in it.

So that’s a possible a takeaway.

Or maybe he’s just tossing PR softballs, and these remarks are all meaningless.

What do you all think though? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments section down below!

SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly


Jonathan Brady

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