Published: Jul 5, 2016 12:00:00 PM

wonder-woman.gifThis is a recurring segment, "Whiny Questions, Simple Answers," where I gather the whiniest question I come across on the internet in a given week, and provide a straightforward answer.

This week's question again addresses the DC "Snyderverse."

We did our analysis of the new Batman V Superman - Ultimate Cut and it's earned greater praise over its initial release.

Coupled with the semi-positive reports from the set of the now-filming Justice League movie, also helmed by Man of Steel and BvS director Zack Snyder, the question cannot be avoided.

Zack Snyder's Movies Have Grossed $1 Billion In Total

This is not truly a "whiny" question. It is a question worth addressing though. Why does Zack Snyder, the guy who thought it'd be fitting to have Batman MURDER-CRUSH a billion crooks in Batman V Superman, (the complete opposite to Batman's governing principles) direct more movies?

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Go back to the start of Zack Snyder's career: his Dawn of the Dead remake. It's a 2 out of 4 star movie, if I ever saw one, grossing $81 million on a $26 million budget. Nevertheless, it was a hit, and it was made for cheap.

However, it was not until Snyder refined George Lucas' "photograph humans against a green screen" technique with the, ahem, HISTORIC action slashter-piece 300. This is a fascinating film from a business standpoint. Snyder did so much with so little in 300. Remember that. Nearly the entire movie was shot in a warehouse in Montreal. The filming process was all burly men running up different sides of a fake rock waving rubber swords at each other. That would look stupid in full motion, so Snyder perfected the "speed-ramping" technique, where the camera could zoom in for slow-mo shots, over-crank to heighten the hit-impacts in battle, and zoom out for wide shots. It allowed him to shoot a very fake-looking movie and fix it with editing and a few dashes of digital blood added with Maya and After-effects.

It grossed $456 million on a $65 million budget.

And, as we have come to learn, he started his tradition of creating BANGER trailers with 300, starring a throbbing Nine Inch Nails track and his gonzo interpretation of Frank Miller's original 300 comic. Release the film in March, and the dudes yelling does the rest.

 

 

Next, he made Watchmen. It was supposed to be un-filmable. He made, well, I'll be generous and call his end product, the most expensive 6th-grade play ever. The visual was there and it told the story, but Snyder did not understand Watchmen as a text. Nevertheless, he made it for cheap at a $130 million budget, and grossing $185 million, which is barely breaking even, but the film helped shift a few million copies of the book, along with extra merchandise.

His next movie was a CGI film about owls doing mid-air martial arts on each other. I'm not going to talk about it here.

Then Snyder made Sucker Punch. It should have been his suicide note. An $89 million gross on an $82 million budget.

But, aha, in desperation, Warner Bros., who was desperate to not be left behind in the superhero genre with the close of Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, needed a Superman movie immediately. Who had created fast, efficient, cool-looking comic book action films in the past for their very studio? Zack Snyder. Nolan was in to be the guiding hand. The studio just needed some jerk who knew how photograph an ultra-jacked Superman throw a punch at some other super-powered idiot, a visual that audiences had been longing for since General Zod fell down an ice-pit like a punk in Superman II, and Neo and Agent Smith had their mid-air battle in The Matrix Revolutions.

Snyder's Man of Steel was a decent success, grossing $668 million on a $255 million budget. Once again, with no time to spare and once again desperate not to fall behind the Marvel juggernaut, Warner Bros. kept Snyder in position for Batman V Superman, which mustered an $872 million box office gross on a reported $250 million budget. In the process, they crowned him the guiding hand of their whole sinking comic book film vessel.

According to Box Office Mojo, Snyder's total lifetime gross on only 7 films is a little over $1 billion. Even with underperformers like Watchmen and Sucker Punch, his movies make an average of $171 million. Studios want a safe bet, so they bet on Snyder.

Simple answer: he makes movies efficiently for studios who want precisely that.

-- Alex Crumb
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