All of the conversations surrounding the fallout from Zack Snyder’s Justice League have painted Warner Bros. as the bad guys, even though the project in its current form would never have existed without the studio’s full support and backing. The boardroom knew that if they gave the filmmaker creative carte blanche and $70 million to finally put the finishing touches on the DCEU epic, then they would have a surefire winner on their hands.
After all, WarnerMedia had an expensive new streaming service to market, and the Snyder Cut was a guaranteed method of driving up subscriber numbers and generating huge buzz online. However, for some reason, WB have been viewed as the villains because they don’t want to continue the SnyderVerse, with HBO Max positioned as the white knights ready to ride to the rescue, even though it was the film division who funded Justice League 2.0 and sent it straight to the platform owned and operated by its parent company.
The latest report on the matter claims that WB actively blocked Zack Snyder’s Justice League from scoring a big screen release in China and refused to have it show in theaters there. It’s said that this is because they didn’t want it to succeed, but it’s important to remember that as well as having a notoriously strict censorship board, the Chinese government only allows 34 foreign films to hit local cinemas on an annual basis.
Naturally, every major Hollywood outfit chooses its biggest hitters to fill that gap in the market, and the 242-minute length of Justice League means that the number of screenings per day would be cut in half, having a huge effect on its earning potential. Not only that, but the theatrical edition topped out at $106 million in China the first time out, which is less than Godzilla vs. Kong made in a week.
If Warner Bros. didn’t want Zack Snyder’s Justice League to succeed, they wouldn’t have given it the green light in the first place. The more likely issue is that they want the SnyderVerse to go away, and not giving it a Chinese release is a sensible business call rather than a spiteful move to sabotage one of their own movies.