No Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batgirl or Really Any Girl Coming from DC Animation Any Time Soon

According to MTV's Splash Page, Bruce Timm has mostly bad news about the future of DC Animation's original features. Due to slow and low returns for their Wonder Woman film (one of my personal favorites) they've opted out of producing a proposed sequel. Worse, it's also discouraged them from adapting Batgirl: Year One or basically any other vehicles for female heroes.

Heavens to Murgatroyd, I didn't even know that was a thing! Batgirl: Year One would've been an incredible animated movie. But now it's dead in the water. That's…it's not even like witnessing the euthenization of a unicorn. It's like hearing about a whole new mystical creature like a walrus with a pipe organ growing out of its back and then learning that, oh yeah, we just clubbed the last one to death on Thursday. 

As for Green Lantern, Hal Jordan's First Flight may well have been his last. At least until the live action film summons major green at the box office, spiking new interest in the character. All we have to go by right now is a sales chart from Wikipedia (I know, I know…), claiming that, as of March of this year, Wonder Woman has grossed $5,666,411, with 318,155 units sold. First Flight garnered $5,414,787 at 320,958 units sold. Compare these figures to those of Batman: Gotham Knight and Superman: Doomsday, which pulled in around 8 and 9 million respectively. iFanboy favorites Justice League New Frontier and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths are at the bottom of the totem pole with Wonder Woman and GL. It's as if quality is entirely inverse to popularity. Well, except for First Flight, which was about as average as anyone's first try at ski ball after not stumbling upon an arcade for eight years. 

We've known that the Batman and Superman titles, regardless of their quality, draw bigger numbers. They're the heavy hitters, perennial favorites for kids and adults even outside of comic buying households. They're the DC equivalents of Spider-Man or Wolverine. They've got a grip on the zeitgeist that other characters like Green Lantern just don't have. Again, this could change with the upcoming Green Lantern film in theaters. Hell, they might even do better with a Saturday morning series. You know GL's a crate of fire crackers just waiting to go off. But in this climate, and as stand-alone features, the second tier or even lower first tier characters just can't compete with the world's finest. 

The real tragedy here though is that Warner is basing the potential for projects like Batgirl: Year One and other girl-oriented features on the failure of Wonder Woman. There's no reason to believe that there isn't an audience for Batgirl. In fact, there's probably more of a chance of her independent projects and brand catching on than there was for Wonder Woman in the first place. Especially given her association with the Bat family. Babs is also cool in ways that Diana just isn't. At the end of the day, profit is king. But I can't help but be sort of savagely disappointed that those little girls at the cons dressed as Hawkgirl or Batgirl or Supergirl aren't going to get the animated movies they rightly deserve. Come to think of it, the movies I rightly deserve too because I love those characters.

It doesn't mean that DC Animation isn't going to continue putting out fantastic material. We're all psyched about Batman: Under the Red Hood, but we'd be even more psyched for something totally out of the box. Like a Plastic Man movie or a JSA movie or Bird of Prey. Or for Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (still not happening). The worst part is that there's really no one to blame. Unless you want to go out into the street and point indiscriminately at a large throng of people who represent the consumer spirit. 

I'll grab my jacket. Meet you outside.  

Comments

  1. No Batgirl Year One makes me very upset as it’s one of my favorite DC Stories I own.  I still think Wonder Woman was probably the best of all the Animated Features so far and to see it sell so poorly is disappointing.

    I don’t understand why people aren’t getting into these as much as they did with Justice League and Batman The Animated Series. 

  2. @jmstump: I think people are not getting into these because of cost possibly.  While I know most of us have seen all of these movies, but how many buy them.  Outside of a few who own them all in Blu Ray/DVD I would think there are very few who do.  We watch them from Netflix or Blockbuster, but that does not equal sales on the market.  Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League were free to watch since they were on basic TV if i remember right.  If we were to compare the numbers of "viewers" of these products I bet they would be close to the same.  If these movies were put on TV first possibly using Cartoon Network you could sell that ad time and possibly grab a view more DVD/Blu Ray buyers in the process, thus recouping some of the cost of the product which would equal them taking more chances on other product

    Also, I would say that removing a Batgirl: Year One video from the board is silly.  Why would you ignore half of the market that you are targeting?  As Paul stated in his article with her association with the Bat-family it definately would out sell Wonder Women.    

  3. I would buy more of these things if i could find them. But let me be clear if i could found them without any work on my part. if they’re at the Music and DVD store than i would get one… i’m not looking.

     I actually showed the New Frontier to a mate of mine the other week. It didn’t go down well. I don’t think there’s much cross-over into the ‘normals’

  4. Doen with stupid sweeping gender based stereotypes of consumers! Way to tell like it is P(Cash) Money.

  5. Nuts. Gotta have ’em.

  6. @Edward – Difficult to find? They’re always prominently displayed when I go to Target in new DVDs.

    @Forestjwp – If I can’t have Batgirl: Year One and the argument is the cost, then I would love to have my Justice League Unlimited back on TV.  😉 

  7. Target. got it. still that is a slight detour from my routine

  8. Grrrrrrrr…So doest his just mean Batman and Superman movies from now on?

  9. well i wouldn’t be surprised if we see em all as shorts on Disc #2 kinda like what they did with Spectre on the Crisis DVD. Its better than nothing, but still not a full story. You’d think BatGirl would be able to get some sales though…

  10. This is sad news. I can’t help but notice that two of the better selling DVDs were among the first to be released. Could it be that viewers just stopped buying the series after not liking the first two or is this related specifically to the lack of Superman and Batman? I guess this could be answered if we knew how well BATMAN/SUPERMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES did.

  11. Awww! I guess that throws all my hopes for a possible Catwoman project one day.

    But whatever, I just want a Flash film soon.

  12. Man, I was really hoping for a Power Girl project one day. Based on Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Amanda Conner, and Paul Mounts, Power Girl work.

  13. I’m pissed. The WW one was by far my favorite. I would eat horse snot for a sequel.

  14. Boo to that!  A Batgirl: Year One movie would have been awesome.  You know, I guess I’m just glad they’re even still making them with such quality at all.  WB could totally cheap out and put out garbage that would still sell just as well.

  15. Further proof that what fans WANT don’t matter to the pencil pushers! Sad actually

  16. Meh.  I know it’s business, but you’re right — they could look at the "Bat" in that name instead of the "girl" and draw a different conclusion about the possibility of success.  And your exotic creature analogy is right on.  ‘Batgirl Year One’ is always the first TPB that I recommend to friends who are interested in superheroes and don’t know where to start.  It’s such a perfect book, and who the hell — boy or girl, old or young — doesn’t love Barbara Gordon?

    Thanks for writing this, Paul! 

  17. What if they called it Batman: Batgirl: Year One? Too many colons?

    What’s odd is that I had more "civilians" ask me about GL: First Flight than any of the others. I thiught that one would have done the best.

    Considering how good the voice cast for these have been, I wonder if we could get the Batgirl script as a radio drama. I’d pay money to hear the cast of Firefly read the script around a table. (Come on, with DC Animation’s fondness for Whedon-y actors, you know Jewel Staite would probably be Babs.)

  18. Paul nailed it in the third paragraph.  These films aren’t going to get made unless there is a reasonable expectation of profit.  Having Batman and/or Superman as the lead character (mentioned in the title) is more profitable than WW or Batgirl.  WW was an excellent film, but it didn’t make "Batman money".  Business is business regardless of medium.  Profit drives everything. 

  19. @HankMcCoy – I would wager my life savings that "Batman: Batgirl: Year One" would sell better than "Batgirl: Year One". Unfortunate.  I’d love to see that Batgirl film.

  20. @ stuclach

     

    plus considering the time and cost involved to make a 75 minute animated film…they expect A LOT of profit back to make it worth their while. Don’t forget who owns DC…. 

  21. I LOVED the Wonder Woman one Too bad it didn’t sell that well, because it was excellent.

  22. "They’re the DC equivalents of Spider-Man or Wolverine"

    Spider-Man or the Hulk. Ask around. People who are not into comics still know who the Hulk is. Only people who are into comics or cartoons know Wolverine. But that’s perhaps a minor nitpick.

    As for whether or not they should make films without reasonable expectation of profit… of course they shouldn’t. What, you think maybe a 75 minute animated Captain Carrot would be advisable? Maybe a 75 minute Firehawk or – oh, I know – a 75 minute Blue Devil flick! Of course not… ten people would buy those, and three of ’em would probably be DC employees 😉 If they think that Batgirl doesn’t have the potential for sales (I have to agree, actually), then they shouldn’t waste resources making the movie.

    Having said that… it’s a damn shame that a Wonder Woman sequel isn’t likely. I rather liked that one.

    If you guys dig the animated movies, buy them. Buy the double disc sets or the blu-rays if possible. Buy them, and they’ll make more. 

  23. "They’re the DC equivalents of Spider-Man or Wolverine"

    have to agree with danielmclark on that one. 

    I don’t think Batman and Superman are the Marvel equivalent of anything. As far as the pantheon of superheroes in the public eye goes, i’d say Superman, Batman and then maybe Spiderman. In large part thanks to the movies and merchandising and also history. I’m sure there’s a kid in some remote village in a 3rd world country wearing a pair of superman sneakers. Little old ladies have heard of Superman, not so much wolverine or Iron Man. 

    And back to the discussion about DVD’s yeah they’ll drive sales, because they’re more likely to pick up a casual viewer. Fanboy sales may be good enough for a comic title, but they won’t drive home video sales. They need lots of crossover into casual fans to make it worth their while.  

  24. Incidentally – if you’re watching these things on Netflix (or pirating them) you’re not helping. Your $8/month subscription to Netflix for unlimited streaming isn’t going to pay the bills at any of the studios – they get a small fraction of that monthly fee. Only buying the DVDs or Blu-Rays will ensure that more movies get made.

  25. @danielmclark – Are you kidding? Wolverine has entered the zeitgeist in such a huge way. Are you forgetting Hugh Jackman’s career and the movies sold on Wolverine? Heck, his own movie made almost $375 million.

  26. Sadly, I understand the idea that they will not be doing any female lead movies. WW was really the best character they had in the stable. If they couldn’t sell her, I doubt a Starfire movie would work.

    That being said I think they’re missing out on the Batgirl movie. They should market it as a Batman movie. Call it something like "Batman: Rise of Batgirl". They could continue milking the Batcow for all it’s worth. You could even make DarkKnightDetective’s day and make a"Batman: Catwoman’s Purrfect Caper".

    Same thing could be done with Superman. "Superman: Supergirl Takes Flight"

  27. Sad news. There is plenty of untapped potential in these movies.  I wish Warner was willing to take more of a chance. Besides last I checked they still made a profit and profit is profit.  It reminds me of TV shows and ratings. Many great shows with great numbers get canceled because it doesn’t hit a specific mark.

  28. Bollocks! This makes me want to buy a thousand copies of Wonder Woman! They are idiots though cause i think Batgirl year one would of been successful enough… They don’t make more girl super hero stuff for girls because they are not into it, Girls aren’t into it because they don’t make more girl super hero stuff, its an endless cycle.

  29. O man. I didn’t even think about a Plastic Man movie. and now it is all I can think about

  30. @wolf and any other Plastic Man fans:

    Have you seen the test pilot for the cartoon? You’d probably get a kick out of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn74McRwEg0

     

  31. It kind of shows how much of a bubble we can live in from time to time. When these movies come out, the websites I visit, it’s often all they can talk about, and when I hear podcast, these films are discussed. so I guess I always assumed they were all hits. I guess it’s good that the announcement isn’t that these films are dead completely, but it is disappointing to see we won’t be getting a large variety. 

  32. @JurassicAlien: They are hits, relatively. The line isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but it’s being dictated by marketing. They’re only going to make movies they can sell.

    Keep in mind that the worst selling of these DVDs outsold the best selling comic book by quite a lot. They are targetinga large market.

  33. The fascination creators have with plastic man just… fascinates me

  34. I’m sure a GL film will happen again, depending how the live action film plays out. Cause if it a hit, then WB will want anything Green Lantern related stat.

    A Plastic Man film is something I am 100% willing to pay for. Bout time the most underrated DC hero gets some spotlight. Unless this is just some cruel prank on my part….*sniff* 

  35. From what i’m reading and what i’ve seen, WB has A LOT riding on the Green Lantern film becoming a gigantic hit. There is so much merch and cross promotion ready to roll within every facet of the Warner empire…the expectations are pretty huge.

  36. They made a huge mistake with Batgirl: Year One. It’s all about titling.

    Batgirl:Year One… it won’t sell as much as it should, no matter how good it is.

     

    Batman: Batgirl Begins….will sell like mad. Just put a pick of Big Bats standing over the shoulder of Batgirl and you’re gold. 

  37. Maybe if they released them over here in the UK, they’d get their damn numbers up! I know I’m dying to see some of these films.

  38. This is terrible. The wonder woman story was my most favorite of all the animation that has come out.

    I believe that a large part of the problem is that the lady characters don’t sell as much as the guy characters because most of the readers are men. They do well, but not as well. This is absolutely the fault of the comic book companies.

    If I am an  exec from an a major comic book company and think that my company is going to be around for the next 20 years, I would start targeting the female market to try to get more girls into comic books. Hiring more female writers on the comics would go a long way in getting more ladies to start reading comics too.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is discrimination in the industry, I just don’t think they’re doing a good job of marketing to women.

  39. "I would start targeting the female market to try to get more girls into comic books."

    The problem isn’t getting girls into comics, because that’s nothing new. That’s been an issue (no pun intended) for the past 70 years. The problem is that the publishers have priced kids out of the industry. I’m 35. I started reading and collecting when I was ten, and comics had just gone to 75 cents. The prices remained reasonable for kids up until the 90’s, when everything went to hell. The publishers figured out that they could make more money if they started jacking up prices and selling multiple copies to collectors and prospectors.

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many kids that can afford comics at four bucks a pop. When it was me, I could blow a week’s allowance on a dozen books. What are allowances these days, ten, twenty a week maybe? That’s three or four comics a week.

    You want to know why the industry is stagnating, it’s because there are fewer and fewer kids involved.

    And don’t get me started on the $15 action figures. 

  40. Whatever happened to “if at first you don’t succeed”, “keep hammering”, or “snowball effect.” All of it is wasted if TPTB just quit. The live/CGI Green Lantern film next year would benefit from a sequel and, given the unlikelihood of a WW live action film anytime soon, a sequel to the animated film makes all the sense in the world as far as building on her exposure.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve started a petition.

    http://www.petitiononline.com/Batman22/petition.html