Green Lantern may have a future on the big screen, but likely not with the same director.
Despite the big-budget superhero movie’s disappointing box office performance so far, Warner Bros. executives still want to find a way to make a sequel work. Bringing superheroes from its DC Comics unit to the big screen is a top priority for the studio, and executives believe that the problem with “Green Lantern” was in execution, not concept. They even have ideas on how to turn things around next time.
“We had a decent opening so we learned there is an audience,” said Warner Bros. film group President Jeff Robinov, pointing to the film’s box office debut of $53 million. “To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action…. And we have to find a way to balance the time the movie spends in space versus on Earth.”
After its so-so opening, “Green Lantern” fizzled at the domestic box office, ending up with only $114 million. Its overseas performance in important countries such as Great Britain, Germany and Russia has also been weak. (For much more on the fate of all four of this summer’s superhero movies, see our analysis of the genre’s cinema season.)
Warner Bros. already has an outline for a sequel on hand written by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, who all worked on the script for the original. However, several people familiar with the thinking of executives there who were not authorized to speak on the record say Warner will likely make significant changes to the outline, if not start over from scratch, in developing a sequel.
One change the executives are quite certain of, however: They would like a new director. Warner Bros. was not thrilled with the work of “Green Lantern” director Martin Campbell, the people said, and would likely seek a new director for a sequel should one go into production.
However, one person close to Campbell said the director’s contract gave him an option to work on a sequel, meaning the studio would likely need to reach some accommodation with the “Casino Royale” and “Legend of Zorro” director in order to go ahead without him.
Of course, the future of DC superhero movies is still somewhat up in the air. “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final chapter of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, comes out next summer, followed by Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, “Man of Steel,” in June 2013. Later that year or in 2014, Warner could go ahead with a second Green Lantern or Flash movie. Robinov said the studio has “a solid script” for the Scarlet Speedster. The executive also remains interested in bringing DC heroes together for a “Justice League” movie.