An Open Letter to Warner Bros.

Dear Warner Bros. studio executives,

I know you are in quite the situation right now. Christopher Nolan’s excellent Dark Knight trilogy has come to an end, and the Harry Potter franchise has also concluded, leaving you without any real guaranteed money-makers on the horizon. Sure, Man Of Steel is coming out next summer, but, as much as I’m looking forward to it, Superman isn’t the guaranteed box office draw that you thought he was back in 2006. (The less said about Superman Returns, the better.) Further complicating matters, Marvel Studios has really stepped things up with their superhero properties, shining in an arena that you once were undisputed champion of. Their latest, The Avengers, is the #3 box office earner of all time — not to mention a damn fine film directed by one of the most beloved writer/directors of the geek world, Joss Whedon.

So, of course, you want to put the Justice League on the big screen.

Justice League

Image credit: Alex Ross

Do you know why The Avengers worked so well? Because Marvel trusted the property to someone who knew the source material, someone who knew what to do with an ensemble cast, someone who knew how to create and convey meaningful characters on screen. They didn’t just grab an action director that guaranteed them a quick turnaround — they chose the right person for the job, and it paid off for them in spades.

Rumors have hit the Internet that you might be eyeing the likes of Brett Ratner or McG to helm your Justice League project. Hopefully the cries of fans everywhere will be enough to make you rethink this decision. There has even been discussion of the Wachowskis taking the reins. While this would be an interesting choice, I still feel it would ultimately be the wrong one. You were on the right track when you offered the job to Ben Affleck, a proven director who has delivered two terrific films (and with Argo on the way, looks to continue that streak). However, since he turned down the role, I believe there is one director that should be at the top of your list.

Do you really want to get the fans excited? Do you want to deliver a film that actually has a chance to be not only good, but great?

Get Brad Bird.

Cover of "The Incredibles [UMD for PSP]"

His The Incredibles for Disney Pixar is widely regarded as one of the greatest superhero films of all time, and he proved with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol that he can deliver the same laughs, thrills, and teamwork in a live-action format. The man has a passion for superheroes and, in my opinion, is the best choice for a project this important.

Honestly, Bird’s work on The Incredibles alone should be enough to get his name on the list.

Don’t waste time on the McGs and the Brett Ratners of the world. Sure, they can turn in a serviceable picture. They can even do it on time and probably under budget. But looking through their portfolios should be more than enough to scratch their names off the list. Don’t make the mistake that so many studios make of using your accountants as hiring managers.

You have a lot on the line, Warner Bros. This isn’t something you just throw a bunch of money at and hope for the best. A Justice League film could be amazing. Many die-hard Marvel fans laughed at the idea of an Avengers film being worthwhile; they simply didn’t think it could be done well. Most thought it would be impossible. Instead, it turned out to be incredible. And Joss Whedon was the key to its success. He understands that if you don’t care about the characters, the story is meaningless. He writes heroes you can cheer for and villains you love to hate. You need someone who can bring just as honest an approach to the Justice League.

You need Brad Bird.

Yeah, Marvel beat you to the punch on this one, and it was a gamble that paid off big time. But it worked because they planned. They planned and planned and planned. They didn’t make a movie based off of a knee-jerk reaction; they set something in motion back in 2008 and built a movie empire on top of it. And while there have been plans for a Justice League movie in the past (George Miller’s project got all the way to casting and costume design), there didn’t seem to be any real momentum behind it until Marvel proved that it could be done. Unfortunately, anything you do right now with the film is going to seem like you are simply trying to copy Marvel’s success. And maybe you are. But you need to remember something:

You started the blockbuster superhero film. You set the benchmark. You made the world believe a man could fly. Right now, you are being given a chance to do the unthinkable, and I believe that, given the right person is in the director’s chair, you can do just that.

Yes, The Avengers was incredible. Nothing you can do will ever change that. In response, you need to hire someone who has experience with the incredible to helm your Justice League movie. It’s time to reclaim the throne, Warner Bros. Show the world a Justice League it can be proud of. Get the right man for the job.

Get Brad Bird.

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About [rlh]

Ryan L. Haddock is an aspiring writer, emphasis on the "aspiring." He mostly writes short stories, but that is only because he doesn't seem to have the attention span necessary to write a novel. At least, not yet. He is also a husband and a father . . . yet he is still struggling valiantly against the notion that he has to grow up. View all posts by [rlh]

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