There is nothing about a prospective "Green Lantern 2" that doesn't reek of flop sweat. DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. are scuffling in their race against Marvel/themselves to develop a new chain of franchises based on comic book characters, and the performance of "GL" this summer has certainly hurt momentum. With "The Dark Knight Rises" pegged for next summer and "The Man Of Steel" after that, they're going to want to diversify, lest the studio be forced to greenlight a bunch of actual real movies with interesting original characters not made to sell Happy Meals. Ye gods.
When originally developing "Green Lantern," Warner execs employed an outline from writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim that included story designs for a second film. However, a little bird tells the L.A. Times that the outline will now be heavily revised, if not completely re-written from scratch. And it seems clear where this is headed: the WB wants to go, ahem, "darker."
“To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action," says Warner Bros. head Jeff Rubinov. "And we have to find a way to balance the time the movie spends in space versus on Earth.” We're with him on the second idea, as the film ping-ponged poorly between deep space and Generic City #308. But edgier? Darker? The nineties are over, Jeff. We were already surprised at how poker-faced Martin Campbell's space saga really was, as he's a pretty silly character and Ryan Reynolds is more of a comic personality. If anything, shouldn't it be lighter? Or are we just using code for "More like Batman"?
While the piece doesn't comment about Messrs. Berlanti, Green and Guggenheim (who are also responsible for a script to "The Flash" that Rubinov calls "solid"), there is the suggestion that they will seek a replacement for Campbell, who has insisted he's not interested in returning for a sequel anyway. And yet, the question continues to hang in the air: do we want another "Green Lantern"?
“We had a decent opening so we learned there is an audience,” says Rubinov, employing some pretty fuzzy math. "Green Lantern" was not only the weakest performer of this summer's superhero films, grossing $154 million worldwide, but it also had the weakest opening, as its 3D advantage couldn't even vault it over the star-less "X-Men: First Class." Not to mention that overall viciousness of the reviews or the toxic word of mouth that caused business to fall by over 63% in both the second and third weekends of release, an impressive feat. Since the piece alludes to a "Justice League" film in development, perhaps the best idea, from a financial perspective, is to re-introduce the Emerald Guardian in an ensemble film. Or maybe just not spend $300 million on making a superhero movie. We're not financial analysts or anything, but that just generally seems unwise when we're talking about stuff like "Green Lantern."