WB learns some lessons, ignores others with the Gotham City Sirens movie
Despite overwhelming reasons to take its DC films in a new direction, Warner Bros. is apparently doubling down on its current strategy. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, WB is planning another addition to the increasingly crowded DC film slate. The studio is developing the film Gotham City Sirens, a film based on the comic of the same name that stars Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy.
The film will star Margot Robie, who will reprise her role as Harley Quinn; she will be reunited with Suicide Squad’s director David Ayer, who will direct. Although it is way too early for any real confirmation on this, it would also make sense for Ben Affleck to appear as Batman. A release date or window hasn’t been mentioned, but 2018 or 2019 seems likely.
As for the other roles, assuming the film sticks with the comic’s lineup (and it looks like it will given a tweet from Ayer with a picture of the three comic stars), there’s a good chance the characters will be introduced in another DC movie first – especially Catwoman. WB is currently developing a Batman solo film with Affleck, which will presumably make it to theaters before Gotham City Sirens. It would make sense to introduce Catwoman in that film, and possibly even Poison Ivy.
There is also talk of a Suicide Squad sequel, and potentially a Deadshot solo film. Depending on the timing, the new characters could be introduced in any of those films.
The news of the new film will probably be met by mixed reactions from comic fans. Robie’s Harley Quinn was a highlight of Suicide Squad, but that’s not saying a lot. The film was a mess. It was disjointed and it seemed to confirm the stories that Ayer had a much different, grittier film in mind, but after seeing it WB paid for extensive reshoots to make it more lighthearted, then edited the two films together.
Whether that is true or not, the film met with critical disdain and mediocre audience reactions. On Rotten Tomatoes, Suicide Squad has a 26-percent rating from critics and 65-percent from audiences. But even with the poor reviews, the film went on to earn $745.6 million worldwide, so who cares if people actually liked it or not?
Ayer is a talented director, but he was the wrong choice for the type of film WB wanted, and yet they are turning to him again for Gotham City Sirens. Yet again, rather than listening to the criticisms, WB decided to just push more of the same with the same people. After Batman v Superman WB was reportedly making some major changes, but those changes haven’t been apparent. Batman v Superman has an almost identical Rotten Tomatoes rating to Suicide Squad 27-percent from critics and 64-percentwith from fans, and yet Zac Snyder is currently finishing work on Justice League and may stay involved in multiple DC films as a producer.
Meanwhile, The Flash is looking more and more like a disaster in making after losing its second director due to “creative differences,” while Aquaman was just delayed with no explanation (although it did just announce the casting of Patrick Wilson as the villain, Ocean Master).
The new film joins a list of DC movies that are sure to make money but may not be any good. Eventually, that will lead to diminishing returns. Next up for WB is Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017, and it will need to hit around the $500 million mark to be seen as a box office success. It will be followed on November 17, 2017 by Justice League, which will need to be in that same range (or higher), although given the hype and potential, if doesn’t clear $1 billion and get love from fans many will consider it a failure.
So will WB just keep churning out mediocre DC films as long as they make money? Probably. Gotham City Sirens may be another on that same, unremarkable list.