v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 American superhero film
featuring the DC Comics characters Batman and Superman. Directed by
Zack Snyder and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is a
follow-up to 2013's Man of Steel and is the second installment in the
DC Extended Universe. It was written by Chris Terrio and David S.
Goyer, and features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry
Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne,
Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Gal Gadot. Batman v Superman: Dawn of
Justice is the first live-action film to feature Batman and Superman
together, as well as the first live-action cinematic portrayal of
Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. In the film, criminal
mastermind Lex Luthor manipulates Batman into a preemptive battle
with Superman, whom Luthor is obsessed with defeating.
The film was announced at the 2013 San
Diego Comic-Con International, after the release of Man of Steel.
Snyder stated that the film would take inspiration from the Batman
comic book series The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, but
clarified that it would follow an original premise. The incarnation
of Batman in the film would also be different than the character's
portrayal in the previous The Dark Knight Trilogy, serving as a
cinematic reboot of the character. The film is also inspired by
narrative elements from the "Death of Superman" story arc.
Pre-production began at East Los Angeles College in October 2013,
with principal photography starting in May 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.
Additional filming also took place in Chicago.
v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered at the Auditorio Nacional in
Mexico City on March 19th, 2016, and was released in the United
States on March 25th, 2016, in 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D, 4DX, premium large
formats and 70 mm prints. Following a strong debut that set new box
office records, the film experienced a historic drop in its second
weekend and never recovered. Despite turning a profit, it was deemed
a box office disappointment and received negative reviews from
critics. The film went on to become the 46th highest-grossing film of
all-time. A director's cut, dubbed the Ultimate Edition with 30
minutes of additional footage, was released digitally on June 28th,
2016, and on Blu-ray and DVD on July 19th, 2016.
The story begins eighteen months after
Superman's destructive battle in Man of Steel with General Zod in
Metropolis. Superman has become a controversial figure, a savior to
some a menace to others. Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated in
Gotham City as the vigilante Batman for nearly two decades, sees
Superman as a potential threat to humanity. After learning of
Batman's form of punishment, Clark Kent, Superman's alter-ego, seeks
to expose Batman via Daily Planet articles. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne
learns that a Russian weapon trafficker has connection with LexCorp
mogul Lex Luthor and when attending party at LexCorp, where he meets
a mysterious antiques dealer named Diana Prince. Wayne later
discovers that Luthor is not only experimenting with kryptonite, but
also investigating metahumans, one of twhom turn out to be Prince.
Ben Affleck as Bruce
Wayne / Batman
A billionaire socialite and owner of Wayne
Enterprises who dedicates himself to protecting Gotham City from its
criminal underworld as a highly trained, masked vigilante. The
Batsuit in this film is made of fabric as opposed to the armored
suits in previous portrayals, and a mechanical suit is also featured
which Batman uses in his fight against Superman.
On Batman's suit, Zack Snyder commented
"I had a really strong idea about what I wanted to do I
really wanted to do sort of a fabric-based Batman; not what's become
the more normal, armored Batman. That's how we evolved it."
asked what makes this Batman different from the previous portrayals,
Affleck said this Batman "is a little older, he's a little more
world weary. He's been around the block once or twice so he's a
little wiser but he's definitely more cynical and a little darker and
more jaded", adding that Batman has gotten "more exposed to
the violence and the criminal element of that world over time."
The film's Batman was influenced by Frank
Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which shows Batman in his 40s.
Snyder said, "I definitely wanted an older Batman. I wanted a
war-weary Batman. That's why, in a lot of ways, Ben was really
perfect for me - we kind of aged him a little bit. It worked really
great. I'm really excited about the Batman we created."
Affleck also commented on The Dark Knight
Returns influences saying "I think everyone's heavily influenced
by that... that's the seminal work. So, I don't think that there's
any of these which have been made that haven't drawn from that book
because it's so good." On Affleck's casting as Batman, Snyder
said "Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry's
Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a
man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a
seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in
billionaire Bruce Wayne." Affleck praised Snyder for tackling
the impact of the destruction caused in Metropolis in the previous
installment, saying "One of the things I liked was Zack's idea
of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing
that there are real people in those buildings", adding, "And
in fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne's building so he
knew people who died in that Black Zero event". Brandon Spink
portrays a young Bruce Wayne.
Henry Cavill as Clark
Kent / Superman
A Metropolis-based Kryptonian survivor and
a journalist for the Daily Planet who uses his extraterrestrial
abilities to protect humanity. Superman's suit in Batman v Superman
is somewhat similar to that in Man of Steel, but with enhanced, high-tech-style
surface detail and a shinier, more metallic-looking cape. A quote
written in Kryptonian was added into Superman's symbol which says
"Where we had thought to stand alone, we will be with all the world".
to how Superman has embraced his role as a hero since the previous
installment, Cavill said "He's more used to this gig, doing his
best to save as many lives as he can", further explaining,
"He is no longer frantic. He's no longer a wet behind the ears
kind of superhero." And as to how Superman views Batman's
approach to crime fighting, Cavill said "He doesn't agree with
his form of justice. For this farm boy, who tries to do things the
right way, justice at any cost is not something he can come to terms
with" hoping to use his position as a journalist for the Daily
Planet to "show the world what this Batman dude is doing."
The film addresses the destruction caused
by Superman and Zod in Metropolis, a part of Man of Steel that was
criticized for being too extensive for Superman, to which Snyder
responded "I was surprised because that's the thesis of Superman
for me, that you can't just have superheroes knock around and have
there be no consequences".
On what the public perception of Superman
is in the film, Cavill said "In this movie, everyone has split
into different directions as to how they feel about this alien",
adding, "Some people love him, some hate him. Other people fear
him. Is he a tyrant?" When asked how Superman has evolved since
Man of Steel, Cavill said "Superman himself isn't that
different. He does however have to deal with a new set of problems
because he's now been revealed to the world. This film is more about
how the world in general and Batman in particular sees
this alien, and less about the evolution of Superman." Cavill
described Superman and Batman as being the "two sides of the
same coin. They have the same goal, but use very different methods to
achieve it. Understandably, that leads them to clash with one
another, and their conflict is a historic moment."
Gal Gadot as Diana
Prince / Wonder Woman
A 5,000-year-old Amazonian princess and
daughter of Zeus who poses as a wealthy entrepreneur. Wonder Woman's
suit is made out of chrome-painted polyurethane and she uses her hand
wraps and sword harnesses. Gadot described her character as having
"many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day she's a
woman with a lot of emotional intelligence".
Wonder Woman's compassion, Gadot stated "it's all her
heartthat's her strength. I think women are amazing for being
able to show what they feel. I admire women who do." On her
thoughts on portraying Wonder Woman, Gadot said "You know Wonder
Woman, she's amazing. I love everything that she represents and
everything that she stands for. She's all about love and compassion
and truth and justice and equality and she's a whole lot of woman.
For me, it was important that people can relate to her."
Describing her role in the film, Gadot said "In this movie you
get a glimpse of who Wonder Woman is she's being introduced
into this DC Comics universe. But we were talking about her
strengths, her facade, her attitude. Why is she acting the way she is?"
On Wonder Woman's battle scene with
Doomsday, Gadot stated "I remember after we did that take, Zack
came to me and he said, "Did you just have a smirk?" I said
"Yeah." And he asked, "Why? I think I like it, but
why?" "Well if he's gonna mess with her, then she's gonna
mess with him. And she knows she's gonna win." At the end of the
day Wonder Woman is a peace seeker. But when fight arrives, she can
fight. She's a warrior and she enjoys the adrenaline of the fight."
Gadot also stated "I don't want
people to think she is perfect", further explaining, "She
can be naughty." On Gadot's casting as Wonder Woman, Snyder said
"Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female
characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not
only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality
that makes her perfect for the role." Gadot underwent a diet and
training regimen, practiced different martial arts and gained 17
pounds of muscle for the role. Gadot was previously offered the role
as Faora Hu-Ul in Man of Steel but refused because she was pregnant
at that time; this allowed her to be later cast as Wonder Woman in
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
A reporter for the Daily Planet and love
interest of Clark Kent. About her role, Adams stated that "Lois
is still sort of like the key to the information, she's the girl
going out and getting it and figuring it out and putting it together
and all of that, so she's very much involved." When asked on her
thoughts on portraying Lois Lane in the film, Adams replied "I
love that she's fearless. I'm not that way so it's really fun that
she really is not afraid of the consequences." On Lois Lane and
Clark Kent's relationship in the film, Adams said "What's great
about this is that, as far as the relationship with Lois and Clark
goes, when we meet them you can tell that they've been in a
relationship for while", further explaining, "So it was
great to get to develop that sort of intimacy and that sort of
friendship that I've developed with Henry, to get to bring that to
screen." She also described Clark Kent as being Lois Lane's
connection to humanity and said "She may have some tunnel
vision, but she's got a job, moral standards. [When] we met her
before she would do anything to get the story now Clark has
instilled some faith in humanity in her. Her relationship with Clark
is the closes thing she has to anything faith-based, you know?
Although moving in with Clark brings issues."
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
An eccentric young businessman and
hereditary CEO of LexCorp who is obsessed with defeating Superman.
Luthor is usually depicted as bald in the comics while the film's
version of Luthor depicts him with hair throughout the majority of
the film. When speaking about his portrayal of Luther compared to
previous portrayals, Eisenberg sad "When you're doing a movie
like this and playing a character that's already been played, the
further away it is from those previous incarnations the better",
adding, "Because chances are, especially with a guy like Gene
Hackman or Kevin Spacey, you're not going to get favorably
compared." Eisenberg explained his character's background has a
having "a core of reality", saying "[Luthor] has a
back story that's tragic and an emotional inner life that's
authentic. That's in the movie. It was my interest in playing the
character with a real emotional core, and this writer, Chris Terrio's
interest in creating a character that seemed viable in reality."
On Luther's behavior and attitude towards
Superman, Eisenberg said "He is a narcissist of the first order
but complicated in that way as well in that he is terribly troubled
and competitive and vengeful. He looks at Superman not as somebody to
destroy but as genuine threat to humanity." Eisenberg described
his role as Lex Luthor as his most advantageous role yet, saying
"In a lot of ways Luthor is more of a stretch than any character
you would do in an independent movie, which is normally the place you
stretch. So in that way it was not at all compromised. If anything it
was the best, most advantageous role I've ever been given. The
opportunity to do an interesting character on a movie of that scale
is incredibly rare." Eisenberg describes a theme in the film,
saying "It raises the question of how one man can have so much
power. These are the kind of things that we talk about authoritarian
states. They're addressing geopolitics in this movie and not in a way
that's pretentious or esoteric"
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Clark's adoptive mother. On her role as
Superman's mother, Lane stated "I always said if I had a son
that would be the ultimate test. Raise a good man there's
something noble about that." Lane said she was impressed by Zack
Snyder's imagination and said "Who gets offered the opportunity
to bring such things to the screen for millions of people? That's
tremendous. It's an honor and a burden and I can't imagine
shouldering that load." On Martha Kent's support for her son
Superman, Lane stated "I think that she's reminding him he does
have a choice", further explaining, "He doesn't have to be
yoked to this destiny. He can actually feel the pleasure of making
Laurence Fishburne as
The editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet
and Clark and Lois' boss. When asked about reprising his role in the
film, Fishburne said "I was happy to come back to the character.
I got really excited when I read it and I saw what was at the center
at the movie which was this huge fight between these two titans."
On Perry White's role in the film,
Fishburne said "He's dealing with the fact that his medium looks
like it's going the way of the dinosaurs so that's a difficult
position to be in", adding, the "good news is he's got a
great reporter like Lois Lane and a new great reporter like Clark
Kent who are interested and hungry to do the job." Describing
Perry White's working relationship with Lois Lane, Fisburne added
"she's my favorite child and she's my problem child."
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Bruce Wayne's butler, chief of security
and trusted confidant. Irons described his take as Alfred Pennyworth
as being a "quite a different Alfred than we have seen so far.
Zack Snyder had very clear views about what he wanted. I would just
say he's more hands-on perhaps than just a butler." When asked
what makes his Alfred different then from previous portrayals, Irons
said "Zack Snyder, the director, wanted to create a completely
different Alfred. So I felt I didn't have to carry any baggage from
previous ones. It's sort of a reincarnation if you'd like. I had a
feeling I was creating my own Alfred, more of a man who can actually
do anything if he has to." Irons further described Alfred as
being, "a lot more hands-on in our film than he has previously
been", adding, "He's a bit of a grease monkey, and he's
very involved in the decisions Bruce makes."
Holly Hunter as June Finch
The United States Junior Senator from
Kentucky who heads the political argument on Superman and his
actions. Describing her experience on being in the film, Hunter said
"It was really fun to be part of a giant, massive piece of
machinery, headed up by Zack Snyder, who is thoroughly at home in
that uber mega environment. Most people would have a nervous
breakdown with that kind of pressure, and he's enthralled." When
asked how she got involved in the film, Hunter said "Zack asked
me. He came to me with an offer, and I was like, 'Yeah, that would be
fun.' It's fun to mix it up. I have scenes with Superman. He looks
phenomenal. And to see Ben [Affleck, who plays Batman] and Henry
[Cavill, who plays Superman] together is quite formidable." On
acting in a superhero film, Hunter stated "Being somebody who's
like a theater geek that I am, I can just go right back to Aeschylus
and Euripides and Sophocles, they were writing about gods and
goddesses versus humans, and how gods could distort pervert or help
people get what they want. And so, for me this didn't feel foreign
because that was the translation that it went through for me, that
was my filter."
On her character's views on Superman,
Hunter stated "What is her problem with Superman? That absolute
power corrupts absolutely, when power is acting autonomously,
unilaterally with no legislation, with no boundaries, with no law,
except for the ones that he deems in his own mind, that can be detrimental."
Robin Atkin Downes as Doomsday
A monstrous creature created by Luthor
through combining General Zod's DNA with his own with the help of
Kryptonian technology. Downes portrayed the character through
motion-capture and voice-over work. The role was kept under heavy
secrecy that Downes did not knew who he was playing until the second
trailer was released. On his role, Downes expressed he was proud to
be part of the film and his admiration of helping bring Doomsday to
life in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When asked why Doomsday
was chosen to be in the film, Zack Snyder stated "To go up
against heroes like Batman and Superman, we wanted to introduce one
of the DC Universe's most iconic and powerful villains", further
explaining, "He is essentially an unstoppable force. He poses a
real threat to the world within the film." Snyder has confirmed
Doomsday will return in the DCEU with Snyder stating "Well, you
have Doomsday, right? He doesnt just crawl out of the ground.
He has his own mythology, right? So that has to be explored."
Downes has previously provided voice roles for various DC animated
films and shows as well as DC video games.
co-starring in the film are Scoot McNairy as Wallace Keefe, an
employee of Wayne Enterprises who is crippled during the destruction
of Metropolis and holds Superman responsible, Callan Mulvey as
Anatoli Knyazev, a Russian terrorist who works for Luthor and Tao
Okamoto (right) as Mercy Graves, Luthors' assistant. Additionally,
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan portray Thomas and Martha Wayne,
Bruce Wayne's deceased parents, Patrick Wilson portrays the President
of the United States in a voice role, and Michael Cassidy portrays
Jimmy Olsen, a CIA agent. Reprising their roles from Man of Steel are
Harry Lennix as Secretary Calvin Swanwick, Christina Wren as Major
Carrie Farris, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Rebecca Buller as
Jenny Jurwich and Carla Gugino returns as the Kryptonian A.I. Kelor.
The corpse of General Zod also appears in the film in a crucial role;
however, Michael Shannon did not film any scenes for the film and the
corpse was created using the physique of fitness model Greg Plitt and
a head-shot of Shannon. Mark Edward Taylor portrays Jack O'Dwyer, an
executive of Wayne Enterprises.
Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher
appear as Barry Allen / The Flash, Arthur Curry / Aquaman and Victor
Stone / Cyborg respectively in brief appearances, which will lead to
their inclusion in the Justice League film. Joe Morton appears as a
role as Silas Stone, Victor's father. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy
makes a cameo appearance as Senator Purrington, whilst U.S. Senator
Debbie Stabenow also makes a cameo. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Soledad
O'Brien, Anderson Cooper, Nancy Grace and Charlie Rose appear as
themselves. Jena Malone was cast as Jenet Klyburn, but her scenes
were cut from the theatrical release, along with Man of Steel
characters Coburn Goss as Father Leone and Joseph Cranford as Pete
Ross; they were restored for the Ultimate Edition home media release.
Jon Stewart has a cameo in the extended cut. To further establish the
interconnection between the films of the shared universe, Chris Pine
appears on Diana Prince's photo as Steve Trevor, as well as Saïd
Taghmaoui and Ewen Bremner in undisclosed roles, which they will
reprise in the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.
Dawn of Justice is Affleck's second film
as a comic book superhero; he played Daredevil in the 2003 film of
the same name, and was initially reluctant to accept playing Batman,
citing that he felt he didn't fit the traditional mold. But once Zack
Snyder showed Affleck the concept, and that it would be both
different from the great movies that Christopher Nolan and Christian
Bale made, but still in keeping with tradition, he was excited.
Affleck previously stated in 2006 that Daredevil had "inoculated
[him] from ever playing another superhero". Affleck is one of
the few actors to play both Batman and Superman. He played actor
George Reeves, who played Superman on television, in the 2006 film
Hollywoodland (above right), and though one could nit-pik he wasn't
actually Superman, he is in the Superman costume for a few scenes of
1949s Batman And Robin serial, Robert Lowery starred as
Batman. Lowery never played Batman in another movie, but he did make
superhero history of a sort in 1956 when he guest-starred on an
episode of The Adventures Of Superman. Marking the first time a
Batman actor shared screen time with a Superman actor.
A Fun Fact: the two actors also appeared
together in their pre-superhero days, in a WWII anti-VD propaganda
film called Sex Hygiene.
Snyder cast an older Batman to be a
layered juxtaposition against a younger Superman; while
"bear[ing] the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but
retain[ing] the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce
Wayne." Nolan was involved with the casting of Affleck and he
was the first actor Snyder approached for the part. The director had
also discussed the part with Josh Brolin. Bale admitted he wanted to
play Batman again after The Dark Knight Rises, though he stated that
his Batman does not belong in any other film and he was never
approached by Warner Bros. to play the role again.
On casting Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Snyder
offered, "Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that
interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and
unexpected directions". Bryan Cranston was considered for the
role before Eisenberg was cast. Producer Charles Roven revealed that
this incarnation of Wonder Woman would use the character's origins in
The New 52, wherein the character would be a demigoddess, and the
daughter of Zeus. This deviates from the character's original
origins, where she was "a clay figure brought to life by the
gods". Olga Kurylenko was considered for the role of Wonder
Woman before Gadot was cast. Dawn of Justice is Ray Fisher's feature
film debut, and the first live-action film to feature Cyborg, whose
role will become more significant in future DC Comics films. It is
also the live-action theatrical debut of Aquaman.
The casting of Affleck, Gadot, and
Eisenberg was criticized. Affleck's casting caused significant
backlash from comic book fans, with multiple online petitions
demanding his removal from the role; unlike previous Batman actors,
he was not considered intimidating enough for the role by the
protesters. Via social media, fans criticized Gadot's small frame in
contrast to Wonder Woman's warrior-like build in the comics.
Responding to this, Gadot stated that she had been participating in
various training regimens to achieve a body that stays closer to the
source material. Fans also criticized Eisenberg's casting, feeling
that the then-30-year-old was too young for the role, and not
physically imposing enough.
This initial negitive fan
reaction to Affleck and Gadot were similar to the objections raised
when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman in Tim Burton's 1989 film and
Anne Hathaway was cast as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. Dispite
the "freak out" on the internet, upon the film's release,
both Affleck and Gadot received considerable praise for their
performances, despite the overall negative reception of the film itself.
v Superman: Dawn of Justice probably had one of the most fit cast
and crew because they have on-board famed trainer Mark Twight, guy
who gave the Spartan soldiers of 300 (2006) their abs and muscular physiques.
Henry Cavill had previously built up his
frame for Man of Steel (2013) and since he had kept up with the
regimen, he was able to gain even more muscle mass for Batman v
Superman. During Cavills peak, he was at 100 kilgrams (220
pounds), but he opted not to keep the size for the duration of production.
The day after Ben Affleck was cast as
Bruce Wayne / Batman, he started an intense 2-hour a day workout
regimen to get ready for the role. The result was a gain of 30 pounds
of muscle and cutting down to 8% body fat.
Gal Gadots previous experience in
the Israeli Defense Forces gave her an edge when preparing for Wonder
Woman. Her training regimen for the role included months of Kung Fu,
kickboxing, sword fighting, Jujitsu, and an intense bulking diet.
CLUB FEATURETTE DEPARTMENT
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition Trailer.
June 2013, Warner Bros. announced that director Zack Snyder and
screenwriter David S. Goyer would return for a Man of Steel sequel,
with the studio considering the release for the film in 2015. The
following month, Snyder confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con
International that the sequel to Man of Steel would feature Superman
and Batman meeting for the first time on film. Goyer and Snyder would
co-write the story, with Goyer authoring the script, and Christopher
Nolan involved in an advisory role as executive producer. According
to Snyder, the film would take inspiration from the comic The Dark
In November 2013, Snyder
clarified his film would not be based upon The Dark Knight Returns
graphic novel. "If you were going to do that, you would need a
different Superman. Were bringing Batman into the universe that
now this Superman lives in." Batman v Superman marks the first
appearance of Wonder Woman in a live-action, theatrical film, which
Warner Bros. had been developing as far back as 1996. In December
2013, Chris Terrio was hired to rewrite the script, due to Goyer's
commitments to other projects. Terrio had previously collaborated
with Affleck on Argo.
The film's official title,
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was revealed in May 2014. Snyder
stated that having the "v" in the title instead of
"vs." was a way "to keep it from being a straight
'versus' movie, even in the most subtle way". Henry Cavill later
stated, "I wouldn't call this a Superman sequel... this is
Batman versus Superman. It's a separate entity altogether. It's
introducing the Batman character and expanding upon the universe,
which was kicked off by Man of Steel." Forbes noted that
although the film originated as a sequel to Man of Steel, it was
"revamped into a backdoor pilot for Justice League and/or an
eventual stand-alone Batman movie."
In September 2000 Warner
Bros. was developing a live action screen adaptation of Batman
Beyond, as well as an adaptation of Frank Miller's 1987 comic book
story arc Batman: Year One. There was one draft of the Batman Beyond
screenplay and Warner Bros. abandoned the project in favor of Batman:
Year One with the intent to to reboot the Batman franchise. Christian
Bale was even approached for the role of Batman. Coincidentally, Bale
would be cast in the role for Batman Begins. At the same time, Warner
Bros. was moving forward on a Catwoman spin-off with Halle Berry (and
we all know how that turned out). However, by June 2002, the studio
decided to move forward on Batman vs. Superman and abandon Year One.
Bros. had a J. J. Abrams' script for a film titled Superman: Flyby,
which had been greenlighted with McG to direct. It was an origin
story that included Krypton besieged by a civil war between Jor-El
and his corrupt brother, Kata-Zor. When McG dropped out in favor of
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Warner Bros. approached Wolfgang
Petersen to direct, however, in August 2001, Andrew Kevin Walker
pitched Warner Bros. an idea titled Batman vs Superman, attaching
Petersen as director. Superman: Flyby was put on hold, and Akiva
Goldsman was hired to rewrite Walker's Batman vs. Superman.
Goldsman's draft, dated
June 21st, 2002, had Bruce Wayne going through a mental breakdown
after his five-year retirement from crime fighting. Dick Grayson,
Alfred Pennyworth and Commissioner Gordon are all dead, but Bruce
finds some solace in his fiancée, Elizabeth Miller. Meanwhile,
Clark Kent is struggling because of a recent divorce from Lois Lane.
Clark and Bruce are close friends, and Clark is Bruce's best man.
After the Joker kills Elizabeth on their honeymoon, Bruce swears
revenge, while Clark tries to hold him back. Bruce blames Clark for
her death, and the two go against one another. Ultimately, Lex Luthor
is revealed to have masterminded the entire plot to get Batman and
Superman to destroy each other. The two decide to team up and stop
Luthor. Josh Hartnett was offered the role of Superman.
Filming was to start in
early 2003, with plans for a five- to six-month shoot. The release
date was set for the summer of 2004. However, Warner Bros. canceled
development to focus on individual Superman and Batman projects after
Abrams submitted another draft for Superman: Flyby. According to
Petersen "[Warner Bros.' chief] Alan Horn was so torn, because
it's such a fascinating concept to do a Batman versus Superman
film." In the opening scene of I Am Legend, a billboard displays
the Superman symbol within the Batman symbol in Times Square. It is
meant as an in-joke by the film's writer, Akiva Goldsman, who also
wrote the script for Batman vs. Superman.
Michael Wilkinson reprised
his duties as costume designer. He updated the Superman suit from Man
of Steel so that it "feels fresh and right for this installment
of Zack Snyder's comic-book universe". The first Batsuit
featured in the film is influenced by The Dark Knight Returns; unlike
the suits seen in previous live-action Batman films, it is made of
cloth instead of armor and is a cast of the physique of fitness model
Rossano Rea. An image of the Wonder Woman costume was revealed at the
2014 San Diego Comic-Con, in which the costume desaturates the red,
blue, and gold colors that make up the costume of most versions of
A second Batsuit was also
unveiled at Comic-Con, and unlike the first, it is armored. Aquaman's
look in this film shows him "tattooed in Maori-like
patterns", and wearing a suit "decked out in shades of
gold, black and silver armor". According to the Warner Bros.
Studios lot, the next generation Batmobile combined inspiration from
both the sleek, streamlined design of classic Batmobiles and the
high-suspension, military build from the more recent Tumbler from the
The Dark Knight Trilogy. Designed by production designer Patrick
Tatopoulos, the Batmobile is about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide.
Must be hard to find a parking spot.
In September 2013, Larry
Fong joined the crew as cinematographer, having previously worked
with Zack Snyder on 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch. Initial filming
commenced on October 19th, 2013, at East Los Angeles College, to
shoot an American football game between Gotham City University and
rival Metropolis State University. At the end of the month,
construction began on the Kent farm seen in Man of Steel for the
film. Principal photography involving the main cast of the film began
on May 19th, 2014, in Detroit, Michigan, with scenes featuring Gal
Gadot as Diana Prince being filmed early on May 16th.
Additional filming began in
Chicago, Illinois in November 2014. Other locations included the
Michigan Motion Picture Studios, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
at Michigan State University, Yorkville, Illinois, and New Mexico.
Sequences of the film, including a scene depicting the murder of
Bruce Wayne's parents, were filmed using IMAX cameras. The planned
shoot in Morocco was shifted to New Mexico due to incidents related
to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Principal photography wrapped on December
Hans Zimmer composed the
film score, emphasizing a challenge to not reuse the themes he
established with the Batman character from Christopher Nolan's
trilogy. Junkie XL, who provided additional music in Man of Steel,
also returned for this film, helping to compose the theme for Batman.
Originally, Zimmer enlisted Junkie XL to compose the Batman material,
with Zimmer planning to focus solely on the Superman side of the
score, but the final Batman theme was written by both composers as a
collaboration. Zimmer noted that he had significant trouble in
finding a new angle from which to tell the story and after the
release of the film, Zimmer announced that he would retired from
superhero films. The soundtrack album of the film was released on
March 18th, 2016 by WaterTower Music.
An estimated $165 million
marketing effort helped promote Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
At the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International, Snyder introduced the
film's first footage intended to be exclusive to the event. A teaser
trailer was scheduled to be screened in selected cinemas on April
20th, 2015. However, on April 16th, the trailer leaked online, and
within a few hours Snyder officially released the trailer to Twitter.
At the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International, Snyder and the cast
attended to present an initial trailer of the film. The trailer was,
unlike the teaser, which received mixed response, positively received
by attendees, who gave the trailer a standing ovation. Mark Hughes of
Forbes said the trailers "both set the stage for a story about
the worlds distrust and fear of Superman, Batmans rage at
Superman and intention to duke it out with the Man of Steel, and
Wonder Womans participation in a big fight featuring the 'Trinity.'"
Bros. Consumer Products partnered-up with a wide slate of global
licensees for a broad, multi-category licensing and merchandising
program, including Mattel, Lego, Rubies, Funko, Thinkway Toys, Hot
Toys, Junkfood, Bioworld, Pez, Seiko, Converse and among many other
licensees to sell merchandise related to the film. (Check out our Big
Store for Batman v Superman collectables and toys).
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
was also a licensee for the film, offering a special edition Jeep
Renegade in exchange for a near-exclusive product placement deal;
aside from Bruce Wayne's Aston Martin, all vehicles in the film were
either from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, or Iveco. Batman v Superman:
Dawn of Justice Cross Fire, an original companion novel tied
to the film, telling a tie-in story set before the events of the
movie, was published by Scholastic Corporation.
A five-issue comic-book
prelude exploring what happened in the weeks and months leading up to
the events of the film was released as a tie-in with Dr Pepper's
character-branded bottles. Also, there are a series of four
minicomics found in Batman v Superman-branded General Mills cereals.
Additionally, those who purchased Batman v Superman-themed Doritos
Family Fun Mix at Walmart received the comic book prequel Batman v
Superman: Dawn of Justice Upstairs/Downstairs. Rocksteady
Studios released a downloadable content for the video game Batman:
Arkham Knight that featured the Batmobile and Batsuit from the film.
The third trailer debuted
on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on December 3rd, 2015. It received positive
responses, with Scott Mendelson of Forbes calling the trailer a
"Saturday morning cartoon nerds wildest dreams."
Molly Driscoll of CS Monitor stated that it looks like the film
"will continue the trend of adapting comic book stories as
timely tales." Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter noted
that based on the trailer's content, the film might be the anti-Civil
War, referring to Marvel's Captain America: Civil War as
"Superman and Batman complete the comic book trope by overcoming
their differences to fight a common foe, alongside a third hero, who
saves them both that feels the most fresh, especially in light
of the Civil War trailer. While that ended with a showdown between
three heroes, this trailer moves beyond that to show three heroes
Warner Bros. did not buy a
Super Bowl 50 commercial; instead, they worked with Turkish Airlines
to put together a pair of Batman v Superman-themed airline
commercials (above). McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter stated that
the spots "inform interested parties about the culture,
geography and history of Batman and Superman's individual stomping
grounds, each one filled with Easter eggs for the comic book faithful
and newcomer alike." Jesse Eisenberg's part as Lex Luthor in
these commercials was praised, as Dirk Libbey of CinemaBlend noted
that "he matches up well with Bruce Wayne by playing the
welcoming billionaire business man. It's a far cry from the somewhat
cartoonish villain weve seen in the clips from the film."
final trailer was released to the public on February 11th, 2016,
which was described as "intense" by Kwame Opam of The
Verge. Mendelson of Forbes felt that Warner Bros. "probably
wouldnt have even dropped this one had the prior trailer back
in December been received better. So now we have this fourth and
final sell, and at least they are going out on a high note."
Jonathon Dornbush of Entertainment Weekly said that the footage
"works to establish Batman as his own independent crime fighting
force, while also providing a deeper look at his existential struggle
In February 2016, Warner
Bros. and Doritos formed a partnership, creating a website offering
fans the opportunity to enter codes found on Doritos purchases
branded with the film's logo, and enter to win movie tickets, tech
toys, and a trip the premiere in New York City. Warner Bros also
partnered with Omaze to give fans who donated a chance to win
"The Ultimate Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Experience", while benefiting three nonprofit organizations
nominated by Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Jesse Eisenberg. "The
Ultimate Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Experience" offered
a fan and their friend the chance to win tickets to the premiere of
the film, as well as fly on a helicopter with Cavill or ride in the
Batmobile with Affleck. Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson
and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drove cars based on Superman and Batman
respectively, at Auto Club Speedway on March 20th, 2016. A tie-in
endless runner video game to the film, entitled Batman vs Superman
Who Will Win?, debuted March 16th, 2016, released by Warner
Bros. International Enterprises.
In January 2014, Warner
Bros. announced that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was delayed
from its original release date of July 17th, 2015, and moved to May
6th, 2016, in order to give the filmmakers "time to realize
fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the
story." The release date was moved once again in August 2014
from May 6th, 2016, to March 25, 2016, with a Warner Bros. insider
saying the studio was "not flinching" in regards to the
previous opening date being on the same day as Marvel Studios'
Captain America: Civil War, but instead stating that March 2016 was a
"fantastic corridor" for them. According to sources
obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. considered the
possibility of having a 70mm release for the film, which was
partially shot in the 65mm IMAX format.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of
Justice premiered at Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City on March 19th,
2016, followed by a New York City premiere on March 20th at Radio
City Music Hall. Following the Brussels attacks, Warner Bros.
originally cancelled the red carpet of the London premiere, but
decided to carry on with the premiere for the fans. The film was
released in the United States and the United Kingdom on March 25th in
3D. It opened simultaneously in North America, China and Japan, the
world's three largest film markets, as well as additional
international territories, with the exception of Poland, where
theaters do not open on Good Friday. The film debuted simultaneously
across 30,000 screens in nearly every major foreign territory across
61 markets, including China, with domestic open across roughly 4,242
locations of which 3,500 theaters (85%) were in 3D, 390 IMAX screens,
470 PLF locations, 150 D-Box theaters and ten 70 mm prints.
The film grossed $166
million in North America in its opening weekend, the eighth biggest
opening of all-time, ahead of The Dark Knight Rises' $160.9 million.
The film had a worldwide opening of $422.5 million, which stands as
the second biggest for Warner Bros. and the fourth biggest of
all-time. It became the fourth film to have a global opening above
$400 million. It also had an IMAX worldwide opening weekend total of
$36 million from 945 IMAX screens, the third biggest ever, behind
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($48 million) and Jurassic World ($44
million). However, both inside and outside of the United States,
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice experienced a notable poor
Friday-to-Sunday hold and set a new record for the worst
Friday-to-Sunday drop for a superhero movie release in modern box
office history with a 58% decline, which was previously held by
its second weekend, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice experienced a
"historic" box-office drop, with a 81.2% decline on Friday
that was "one of the biggest Friday-to-Friday drops any
blockbuster has ever seen", and an overall "68.4%"
drop for the weekend despite not "facing any big competition at
the box office", making it the second largest decline for a
marquee superhero title, behind only 2003's Hulk. Brad Brevet,
writing for Box Office Mojo, reported that "it appeared Batman v
Superman was looking at a drop anywhere from 5868% and it ended
up settling in on the wrong side of those expectations." Scott
Mendelson, writing for Forbes, said "Whether or not the movie is
any good, and whether or not audiences respond to the picture, is
best measured by the second and third weekends... Yes, were
still talking about a $15.35 million second Friday and a $50m+ second
weekend, but in terms of legs, this film sadly doesnt seem to
have any." Continuing this trend, in its third weekend, the film
dropped by 54.3% in which Brad Brevet concluded in a follow-up for
Box Office Mojo that "the legs on this one are proving quite short."
the weeks leading up to the film's release, advance ticket sales
outpaced The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and Furious 7.
Worldwide, it was estimated to gross between $300340 million in
over 35,000 screens in its opening weekend. It passed the $50 million
mark in IMAX ticket sales on its second weekend, grossing a total of
$53.4 million from 571 IMAX screens. Warner Bros. domestic
distribution chief Jeff Goldstein described the film's box office
performance as a "fantastic result, by any measure." Box
office analyst Jeff Bock said "Still, outside of Christopher
Nolan's two Dark Knight movies, and Tim Burton's Batman films when
you adjust for inflation, this is the highest-grossing property in
DC's bullpen thus far. It tops Man of Steel by more than $200
million," and that "overall, BvS successfully relaunched
DC's cinematic universe, but they are nowhere near Disney/Marvel in
terms of critical reception and box office prowess. One can only hope
that bigger and better is still on the way." The film needed to
reach $800 million in revenue at the box office to "recoup its
investment" according to financial analysts. Despite surpassing
this amount, it was considered "a disappointment" for
failing to reach $1 billion, resulting in a May 2016 announcement by
Warner Bros creating DC Films, a dedicated executive team
responsibility for films based on DC Comics, similar to the dedicated
Marvel Comics focus of Marvel Films within the larger Walt Disney
Studios group. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $330.4
million in North America and $542.3 million in other territories for
a worldwide total of $872.7 million, making it the fourth
highest-grossing film of 2016 behind Captain America: Civil War,
Zootopia and The Jungle Book.
v Superman: Dawn of Justice received generally negative reviews. But
a survey showed that the introduction of Wonder Woman was a primary
draw for moviegoers. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes
reported a 27% approval from critics but the aduience score was 65%.
Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average to critic reviews, gave
the film an average score of 44 out of 100, based on 51 critics,
indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by
CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+
to F scale.
BBC News reported that, "the film had
been widely praised by fans after its first screening in New York
last week. But critics have not been so positive about the
Cynthia Fuchs of PopMatters said, "As
youre watching this movie, you might also contemplate your own
part, in being swayed into consuming so much of what youve
consumed before." Adding, "Wonder Womans remains
Batman v Supermans most compelling story, precisely because
its untold." Michael Philips of Chicago Tribune wrote,
"A near-total drag, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays
like a loose, unofficial quarter-billion-dollar remake of The Odd
Couple, in which Oscar and Felix are literally trying to kill each other."
On his podcast Hollywood Babble-On, film
director Kevin Smith, a long-time friend and collaborator of Affleck,
praised Affleck's performance but panned the film, commenting that it
"didn't really have a heart" and was "humorless",
arguing that "there seems to be a fundamental lack of
understanding of what those characters are about. It's almost like
Zack Snyder didnt read a bunch of comics, he read one comic
once, and it was [The] Dark Knight Returns, and his favourite part
was the last part where Batman and Superman fight." On a second
viewing, however, Smith via his Instagram lightened his stance.
Jeremy Irons expressed displeasure with
the film, feeling it was "deservedly so" savaged by critics
and calling the feature "very muddled" while expressing
hope that the forthcoming Justice League (2017) would be better due
to its story being "...a lot smaller, it's more linear".
David Betancourt of The Washington Post and Scott Mendelson of
Forbes praised the film's visual spectacle and the performances of
Affleck, Gadot, Irons and Hunter. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone
called the film "better than Man of Steel but below the high bar
set by Nolan's Dark Knight, adding that "Dawn of Justice is
still a colossus, the stuff that DC Comics dreams are made of for
that kid in all of us who yearns to see Batman and Superman suit up
and go in for the kill."
Jake Coyle of Associated Press wrote,
"it hurtles not with the kinetic momentum of Mad Max: Fury Road
nor the comparatively spry skip of a Marvel movie, but with an
operatic grandeur it sometimes earns and often doesn't." Mark
Hughes of Forbes called it "the follow-up to The Dark Knight
that many viewers and fans wanted or hoped for", adding that
it's "visually stunning, with powerful emotional storytelling
and awe-inspiring action spectacle." Andrew Barker of Variety
said "as a pure visual spectacle... Batman V Superman ably blows
the hinges off the multiplex doors."
Charles Koplinski of the Illinois Times
called it "a brooding, but most importantly intelligent take on
the seminal figures of our 20th century pop culture mythology, a
movie that at once pays tribute to these characters' roots while
offering up modern incarnations of them that ring true for our
times." Nicolas Barber of the BBC called the film "a four-star
epic" praising Affleck's performance as Batman and the visual
grandeur of Fong's cinematography. Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian
gave an ambivalent review; he especially criticized the "very
bad writing", but conceded "there are a lot of moments...
that work" and praised Affleck and Gadot's performances, calling
Gadot as Wonder Woman the best thing in the film.
The film received multiple 2016 Teen
Choice Awards nominations, including Cavill, Affleck, and Adams for
"Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy" and "Choice Movie
Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy", along with "Choice Movie:
Sci-Fi/Fantasy". Gadot was nominated for "Choice Movie
Scene Stealer", with Eisenberg nominated for "Choice Movie
Villain", and Cavil and Adams receiving one for "Choice
An extended cut of the film dubbed the
Ultimate Edition was released on home media platforms, alongside the
theatrical cut. This version received an R rating from the Motion
Picture Association of America, for more violence than the PG-13
rated theatrical cut, and is longer by 30 minutes. The film debuted
in first place on the home video sales chart for the week ending July
24th, 2016. With the release of the "Ultimate Cut", which
was the director's original version of the film before additional
editing, critics noted that the film would have likely been better
received with the additional footage. Ben Kendrick of Screen Rant
stated that while it was more "intelligible", character
portrayal was not "fundamentally changed" and "for
viewers who didnt like Man of Steel or Batman V Superman for
larger reasons, such as tone, approach, and the darker
characterization of DCs most iconic heroes, the Ultimate
Edition is only a longer ... version of a film that ... is likely to
remain divisive, even if the final product is a better film."
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