If you were lucky enough to attend Warner Bros.’ San Diego Comic-Con panel for Justice League, or just happened to be following along at home, it’s understandable if you were too caught up in all the hype to even question whether or not everything was going along swimmingly. I mean, they released a fun new trailer loaded with a bunch of cool imagery, debuted a unified poster, and were riding the wave of excitement and anticipation–caused, in part, by the success of Wonder Woman–right along with fans.
Okay, maybe the rumors that Ben Affleck was on the way out as Batman had people a little concerned; he addressed it during the panel, also saying, “Batman is the coolest part in any universe — DC, Marvel–It’s incredible.” And if those pesky reshoot stories and the news that Joss Whedon was coming in to work on the film in place of Zack Snyder had fans worried, Ray Fisher, a.k.a. Cyborg, did his best to calm things, saying, “They’re brief if anything. Zack picked a great director to help clean up for us.
But if Variety‘s new write-up is to be believed, there’s a lot of money and time going into the Justice League reshoots as Warner Bros. hopes to capitalize on the success of Wonder Woman at seemingly any expense. This movie is the linchpin in the DCEU and will launch the DC Comics characters into the next wave of standalone features; they have to get this right. So it’s understandable that WB is laying down substantial funds and demanding quite the busy schedule from the studio’s cast and crew to get it done, but that’s also understandably causing some headaches.
When it comes to your standard reshoot–a fairly common practice in Hollywood, known as “additional photography”– typical costs are anywhere from $6-10 million and time added amounts to a week or two. According to Variety’s sources, Warner Bros. is already in for an additional $25 million for the two months worth of reshoots that have occurred in both London and Los Angeles. And while that much money and time is enough to produce a whole other mid-budge film, it’s a fraction of what Justice League will cost over all, and an even smaller fraction of just how much the film’s ultimate box office tally will be.
Further complicating things, however, is scheduling and cast availability:
Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, Batman and Wonder Woman respectively, are fine; they don’t currently have any other films on their plates. (Affleck is, of course, always busy with other projects, but they mostly exist within WB’s DCEU at the moment, save for an untitled sequel to The Accountant.) But Ezra Miller and Henry Cavill, The Flash and Superman, are going to need their superhuman speed to stay on schedule and accommodate the additional photography.
Miller next appears in Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel, which started filming earlier this summer. Being the same studio for both pictures, scheduling is relatively easier, but sources indicates some difficulties getting Miller matched up with other cast availability. Enter Cavill, who had expected to finish shooting the sixth Mission: Impossible movie before becoming Superman again, who now has to hop between productions thanks to Justice League reshoots. The most amazing part of this whole story is summed up as follows:
Because of this, a mustache he grew for his character in the “Mission Impossible” sequel will have to be digitally removed in post-production. Paramount, which is distributing the “Mission: Impossible” sequel, would not allow Cavill to shave the facial hair while production was taking place.
Mustache Wars aside, there’s also the question of credit: With Whedon stepping in to direct substantial reshoots, how will his contributions and Snyder’s existing work be reconciled and attributed? Whedon’s been on board for months now, but insiders state that no co-director credit will be granted. Sure, he’ll be handsomely rewarded financially and may get a producing or screenplay credit, much as Tony Gilroy earned a screenwriting credit for his work overseeing reshoots for Gareth Edwards‘ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (You can also apply this line of thought to Disney’s current situation with the untitled Han Solo movie; this really is becoming more and more common, isn’t it?)
Whedon’s contributions reportedly include punching up the dialogue, as he is wont to do, and smoothing the exchanges between characters. The Avengers helmer has also apparently worked on “connective tissue” needed to link existing sequences and reshoot, though the write-up quotes Snyder’s current set pieces as “usable” … which is not exactly high praise.
We’ll find out how this whole production works out in the end when Justice League opens November 17th.