Smaller Budget for BIRDS OF PREY
It is great to hear that Margot Robbie, Cathy Yan, and the new DC Films division of Warner Brothers (post-ATT merger) are moving forward with the BIRDS OF PREY film, featuring Harley Quinn. The best part of this news, to me, is the mention of a smaller budget. I think moving forward with more modest budgets on the DCEU films is an important step because it reduces the pressure on box office performance. With less invested and less pressure, this reduces the likelihood of studio executive interference in the creative process.

Think back to BATMAN V SUPERMAN, where you can draw a straight line from the $250 Million production budget to the fact that WB required 30 minutes to be trimmed for theatrical release. (Although I love the theatrical version, I admit that general reception was better for the extended cut.) SUICIDE SQUAD also sported a hefty $175 Million budget, with the studio execs stepping in to make sure it was audience friendly. And then of course there's JUSTICE LEAGUE, with a budget reported around $300 Million and the most extensive levels of studio interference. Regardless of what you think of the executive's decisions, we can all agree that they were understandably motivated by a desire to protect that large investment (even if several of their actions may have had the opposite effect).

WONDER WOMAN had a more modest budget and was also given more creative freedom. In the future, I think some of the films -- especially the ones that are more street- or city-level in terms of their heroes and villains -- would be very well served by budgets in the range of $80 to $125 Million. Let the filmmakers have freedom to do what they can with that money, and then see how the audiences react. If it's only $400 Million at the box office, great. If it strikes a chord and runs for $800+ Million, even better!