Even though the box office and critical reception for Director Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern was slightly on the terrible with a side serving of meh and the film has yet to come close to making its money back, Warner Bros. is considering boldly moving forward with the franchise and developing a sequel to the film, despite the utter lack of fans clamoring for it.
Green Lantern has only pulled in $114 million domestically and $40 million internationally for a total gross of just over $154 million. Although granted, maths is hard, considering that the film cost $200 million to make, that isn’t exactly good. But perhaps the film can make up the rest on home media, plus the totals don’t take into account the merchandising profits, of which there were many. Still, while the film may eventually make back its numbers on the back in, it was still savagely ripped by both critics (including us) and audiences, and currently sits on Rotten Tomatoes with a 26-percent approval rating (although the audience rating is higher at 53-percent approval rating).
One common criticism was that the film seemed to be designed more to set up a sequel and a potential franchise than it was in telling an engaging origin story. There was even a surprise scene in the credits that—without going into spoilers—was specifically there to set up a sequel. It was shoehorned in and made very little sense in the context of the character it focused on, but that could all be settled in the next film—assuming that there is one. And according to WB film groups President Jeff Robinov, a sequel may actually be in development right now.
“We had a decent opening so we learned there is an audience,” Robinov, told the LA Times in a recent interview. “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.”
The film took in $53 million during its opening weekend, which isn’t exactly amazing, but with the early reviews crushing the movie and the general apathy towards the film thanks to the lukewarm reception of the trailers, $53 million was still a decent figure. If the film had managed to win over audiences, it could easily have gone on to a decent stay in theaters and a healthy overseas gross. It didn’t and word of mouth murdered the film, but the potential was there. And according to sources close to the LA Times, WB felt the problem was not with the concept but with the execution.
Again, according to sources, the studio is placing the majority of the blame on director Martin Campbell, which almost certainly assures that he will not return for the sequel. It is slightly complicated though by his contract, which apparently gives him the first shot at directing the next Green Lantern, which means that if a sequel goes ahead he is likely to receive a decent payday from WB in order to get him off the project.
Not surprisingly for those that saw Green Lantern, work on a sequel began even before the movie hit theaters. An outline was said to have been handed in by the original screenwriters, but there is a very good chance that WB will either make major changes or scrap it altogether and begin fresh.
There is also one further complication to throw into the mix of a Green Lantern sequel. WB is eager to continue making movies based on DC superheroes, but they will likely stick to one a year. Next year will belong to The Dark Knight Rises, while Zac Snyder’s Superman outing, The Man of Steel, is scheduled for summer 2013. That may leave space for Green Lantern in 2014, but Robinov also claimed that the studio has a “solid script” for The Flash, and WB is still tentatively planning on a Justice League film in the future. That might mean a Green Lantern sequel is several years off. Of course, WB could simply change their schedule and push multiple DC characters per year, but so far they haven’t seemed inclined to do so.
Still, good news for the people that loved Green Lantern, all ten or so of you. The original film had its problems—lots and lots and lots of problems, but many of them had to do with the origin story. A sequel may actually be able to move past those issues and deliver the GL story fans have been hoping for. Or it could always be Green Lantern 2: Green Lantern Boogaloo and bomb like the original, then the studio could simply reboot the franchise a few years later like Sony is doing with The Amazing Spider-Man.