Monday, June 27, 2011

A Green Lantern Sequel? Not So Fast.

With its critical lambasting and toxic word-of-mouth translating into an underwhelming premiere last weekend and a precipitous 66% drop-off this weekend, the time has come to officially classify Green Lantern as at best a disappointment, and at worst a flop. And believe me, despite the shellacking I gave it last week, there's no one more broken up about this than I am. Green Lantern is one of my favorite characters, and I'd have loved nothing more than to see this movie elevate the brand into the mainstream consciousness the same way Iron Man did for that character and that property.

Alas and alack, with all the franchise machinery at their disposal, the filmmakers forgot to craft a good enough movie to serve as its beating heart, thus making Lantern the 2011 equivalent of 1998 franchise non-starter Godzilla. Like that monstrosity, which had home studio Sony bravely promise a forthcoming sequel even in the face of brickbats from critics and apathy from audiences (sound familiar?), the folks at Warner Bros. have now confirmed that they're going ahead with development on another Green Lantern installment. But if you enjoyed the flick and are breathlessly awaiting Part Deux, you probably shouldn't break out the green bubbly just yet. 

I mean, what else are they supposed to say in this situation? "Yeah, we may have flushed $300 million down the toilet on a movie that it turns out no one wanted to see. Whoops." Remember the sequel to Superman Returns that we all saw and enjoyed a few years ago? No? Oh yeah, because it was never made, despite assurances from the studio that a second entry was in the offing, and director Bryan Singer even signing on for same. And that movie at least had the benefit of clearing almost $400 mil worldwide. Trust me, Green Lantern would kill to be getting those kinds of numbers. 

But with its domestic and international box office thus far signaling a very tough slog ahead of it, it's pretty hard to spin this as anything other than a modest break-even, and that too will depend greatly (or even entirely) on it moving a lot of action figures and a lot of blu-rays. No, more than likely what will probably happen is that the hypothetical GL sequel will spend a few years fermenting in the development pipeline before quietly being poured down the drain and (maybe) given another go in a new configuration at some point down the line. What a shame.

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