‘Creed II’ just set a Thanksgiving box office record

Is this about people being horny for 'Venom?' We need answers.
Image: sony

As if to prove there’s no justice in the real world, Venom is on track to overpower two previous superhero box office titans — and possibly become one of the most profitable movies of its ilk.

After reaching $822 million in total global earnings over the weekend, Venom has eclipsed both Wonder Woman‘s $821 million and Spider-Man‘s $821 million. 

This might be cause for confusion and concern among superhero movie fans, since Venom received quite, uh, “mixed reviews” from critics and audiences alike.

Yet it’s still projected to become one of the most profitable big budget superhero movies yet after accounting for both its production budget and its gross earnings, according to Forbes.

But not all moviegoers are equally into Venom. The film’s box office success is predominantly attributed to its considerably better international showing (accounting for 74.3 percent of its total earnings), versus its pretty average domestic numbers (making up only 25.7 percent of the total). 

Based on Box Office Mojo‘s numbers, this wide discrepancy between domestic and international audiences is even greater than Batman v Superman, which earned $870 million globally. In contrast to these less-liked entries into the superhero genre, Wonder Woman‘s domestic and international earnings were close to an even split.

Despite fan outcry, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is still killing at the box office

Image: warner bros.

Also over the five-day holiday weekend, Ralph Breaks the Internet came out on top at the U.S. box office, taking in $85 million to become the second-highest Thanksgiving weekend opening ever (after 2013’s Frozen). And in second place was Creed II, whose $55 million haul broke records to become the largest live-action Thanksgiving debut in history. 

Meanwhile, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald highlights still more disparity between the U.S. and international audiences, falling to third top grosser domestically but remaining #1 for the second weekend in a row worldwide.

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/venom-box-office-wonder-woman/

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury: The fight for salvation for two heavyweights

(CNN)Tyson Fury bought a convertible Ferrari in 2016 and made the decision to drive it off a bridge at top speed.

At the time, Fury had it all: a loving wife and children, and was the heavyweight champion of the world.
But he says he was “frozen in 2015” — the time of his greatest triumph when he shocked Ukraine great Wladimir Klitschko.
    The three-year thaw has been long and painful, but in theory, it will reach its climax with another world title shot against Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
    In the intervening time, Fury has very publicly dealt with his demons of drugs, drink and depression.
    It was “the lowest low that anyone could ever have,” he recalled of that moment behind the wheel of the Ferrari where “I gave up on life.”
    Thoughts of his children wrestled him back to sanity, and he quickly sought help.
    A psychiatrist warned family members he was an imminent death risk. The slow climb back to physical and mental health began when fellow boxer Billy Joe Saunders, his cousin and best friend, lured him to his boxing camp in Marbella, Spain.
    Going in, Fury topped the scales at a whopping 392 pounds. By the end of the Spanish camp, he was already 28 pounds lighter.
    Now back on the brink of another heavyweight title, the 30-year-old’s resurrection is almost complete.

    ‘Quick fix’

    Boxing has also been Wilder’s salvation. The American picked up the gloves at the age of 19 — far older than most of his peers — after his daughter Naieya was born with spina bifida. He thought the sport would offer a financial quick fix to help pay for treatment.
    “All I was thinking about was the money,” he said. “I thought everyone made a lot of money by just stepping into the ring. My focus was to do whatever I could to support my daughter.”
    Naieya remains his guiding light in the ring, and he has a tattoo on his hand with the words “Road to Success” to remind him of his personal journey.
    Branding himself a leader, king and soldier, the 33-year-old Wilder has a contrasting boxing background to that of Fury.
    The son of a pastor, the family were just $50 away from going broke on a number of occasions.
    At his parents’ behest, he worked hard and became a college basketball star before getting his then girlfriend pregnant with Naieya and quitting college for a life within the ropes.

    Shed ‘a welterweight’

    In contrast, Fury’s name alone meant he was born to box. As he said back in 2014, “While other kids watched cartoons, I watched video tapes of boxing.”
    But it was not his namesake Mike Tyson that he aspired to emulate, instead Michael Spinks, renowned for his skilful boxing and footwork.
    Born into the traveling community prematurely at little more than a pound, for a time Fury was the self-styled “Gypsy King” in the ring. Undefeated in his 27 fights, Fury insists the greatest threat to his own thrown has always been himself.
    As he has said repeatedly this week, “The only one to stop me being successful as a boxer is me.”
    The turnaround has been remarkable. “I’ve come back from wanting to commit suicide and 28 stone [392 pounds) to as fit as a fiddle and in a great place mentally,” he said.
    Fury has shed nearly 140 pounds — akin to an entire welterweight — and much of his return to form and fitness is down to the relatively unknown trainer Ben Davison, who was working initially with Saunders in Marbella.
    Shedding that weight has only been part of the fix. Post-Klitschko, Fury took cocaine and drank heavily. On the road to recovery, religion has been key. At his lowest ebb, he prayed to God. There are still days where he thinks “this is shit.”

      Anthony Joshua on Tyson Fury & Deontay Wilder

    Getting inside Klitschko’s head

    The one major blot in his own salvation story is a positive test for a banned substance in February 2015 for which he received a two-year backdated ban from UK Anti-Doping, which left him free to box again in December 2017.
    But there is no doubting his self-belief as a boxer. Against Klitschko, no one gave him a chance but he completely outboxed the Ukrainian.
    The secret to that success lay in the build-up. Famously turning up as Batman to one press conference, Fury was a conundrum the normally methodical Klitschko could not work out.
    It was the same in the ring — one sparring partner likened Fury to an octopus, with attacks coming from everywhere, making him immensely difficult to prepare for.
    As one of Wilder’s team, Mark Breland, put it: “Even Tyson Fury doesn’t know what he’s going to do. If he doesn’t know, then how can his opponent know? Tyson is the most awkward guy in the division, he’s the hardest to figure out.”
    The evidence of Wednesday’s final press conference would suggest Fury has got inside Wilder’s head, such was the vitriol from the American. The alternative, cynical view would simply be that two men had millions more to be made from the pay-per-view audience — the thinking being no publicity is bad publicity.
    For his part, Wilder is adamant he won’t fall into the same traps as Klitschko: “This is not Klitschko. I looked him in his eyes at the first press conference and said I’m not Klitschko, you can’t get in my head.”
    Trying to assess the fight is nigh-on impossible. Fury has added Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach to his corner, either an astute bit of business or a late sign of panic from Fury and Davison, depending on your take.
    Wilder is the No.1 ranked American, Fury Britain’s No.2 behind Anthony Joshua, who is primed to face the winner in April in London.
    “Either of them that’s ready, if you’re serious, talk about me post-fight all you want, but if you’re not really serious about fighting, leave me out of it so I can focus on fighting someone else,” said Joshua.
      A Joshua fight would finally unify the division. First, comes Saturday night in front of Wilder’s home crowd, although Fury insists home advantage will have little impact with Wilder not heralded in the same way as Mike Tyson and the past American heavyweight greats.
      Either way, it is a salvation for both; Fury for his mind, Wilder for his child.

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/30/sport/tyson-fury-deontay-wilder-boxing-world-title-spt-intl/index.html

      Heres What Would Happen If Superheroes Had Babies (14 Illustrations)

      People say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and we have to agree. But could it possibly fall any closer than this? The father’s genes most definitely won the womb wars in this artist’s imagination when he decided to illustrate the world’s most beloved comic book characters becoming dads.

      Brazil-based artist Lucas Eduardo Nascimento, also known as Dragonarte to his 110k fans on Facebook and over 80k Instagram followers, drew a series of badass, yet adorable babies of superheroes and their first meetings with their fathers in the maternity ward. With the uncanny resemblance for all to see, these superbabies are already making their dads proud and our hearts melt.

      We wish these mini versions of superheroes had their own sequel to the famous comics but it seems that Marvel and DC have yet to appreciate the creative potential of this illustrator.

      Whether you are a fan of cute newborns or menacing superheroes, you will definitely enjoy these ‘father and son’ moments this artist has prepared for you.

      #1 Batman’s Baby

      #2 Deadpool’s Baby

      #3 Spider-Man’s Baby

      #4 Iron Man’s Baby

      #5 Alien’s Baby

      #6 Robocop’s Baby

      #7 Chuck Norris’s Son

      #8 Flash’s Baby

      #9 Hawk’s Baby

      #10 Fantastic Baby

      #11 Wolverine’s Baby

      #12 Aquaman’s Baby

      #13 Torch’s Baby

      #14 Martian’s Baby

      Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/illustration-children-of-superheroes-lucas-eduardo-nascimento/

      Is Anne Hathaway Still Annoying? An Investigation Betches

      Just a few years ago, Anne Hathaway was one of my least favorite celebrities. Sure, she had acting talent, but everything about her persona as an actress was so over the top, and she often came across as a total try-hard. The other day I was watching The Princess Diaries, and I had an important realization: I think I like Anne Hathaway again. What has changed? Is it me? Is it her? To find out, let’s go back to the beginning, and see what really happened. Today also happens to be Anne’s 36th birthday, so I’m really giving her a chance to redeem herself.

      In my estimation, Anne Hathaway’s career can be split up into five rough phases. A lot has changed since the days of The Princess Diaries, so let’s take a closer look at Anne’s trajectory, and how we feel about it. Back in 2002, 20-year-old Anne didn’t suck. She wasn’t ever like a Hilary Duff-level of lovable or anything, but she was quirky, cute, and–most importantly–not pretentious. She knew how to do family movies without seeming dumb and annoying, and she perfectly pulled off the balance of clumsy but poised and mature. She also avoided any of the scandals that befell other young stars of her generation.

      The second major phase of her career was when she really focused on becoming a ~serious actress~. This included movies like Brokeback Mountain and The Devil Wears Prada. Both of these are classics, but it’s easy to see where Anne’s annoying streak started to come into play. Anyone who takes themselves too seriously gets old really quickly.

      The period from 2009-2011 was where things really got rough. At this point, Anne was a big name star, but some of her movie choices were seriously questionable.  She took off her clothes a bunch in Love and Other Drugs to show us she’s a grownup, but let’s be honest, we were all busy looking at Jake Gyllenhaal. Also, Alice in Wonderland is so f*cking weird and I’m still mad I had to watch it once when I was babysitting.

      Looking at the whole timeline, 2012 is where the sh*t really hit the fan.  In the same year, Anne ruined the last Batman movie and cried way too much in Les Mis, for which she somehow won an Oscar.  On top of thatAnne managed to give the most eye roll-worthy Oscar speech in recent memory while showing us all her nips in her gown. Her pretentious-ness was a lot to handle, and it was hard to take her seriously.

      So where are we now? After winning her Oscar, Anne laid low for a few years, putting out some projects here and there, but taking a break from really being in the spotlight. Honestly? It was the best decision she’s ever made. Now, she’s back on the scene, but she seems way more self-aware about basically everything. Her role in Ocean’s 8 this summer was totally hilarious, and we haven’t seen her do comedy like that in a very long time. She’s also gotten into the big business of celebrity commenting on Instagram, and she had a really lovely Insta exchange with Lady Gaga after she saw A Star Is Born.

      View this post on Instagram

      I keep thinking how we move through things so quickly these days (how could we not?); I know my personal capacity to absorb something new is often maxed out. For example, a movie opens, we are “obsessed” for a weekend, we move on. I do this too: even when I really love something, I get distracted by the next thing, don’t fully digest the experience and I quickly move on, like the world exists only to entertain me, like great art is unlimited, that my consumption of it as an everyday all-you-can eat buffet is acceptable. We are so fortunate- a ton of worthy, excellent movies are going to come out between now and the end of the year, and our plates are going to become increasingly full. That said, I think A Star is Born is so special, so ambitious, so audacious and so brilliantly human that it shouldn’t just be a news story for one weekend. Even being so excited about what’s coming out, I want to really luxuriate in appreciation for A Star is Born. I saw this film back in August at the Venice Film Festival and I still walk around feeling lucky I was in that audience. This film surprised me in the best possible way; it even killed some cynicism that I didn’t know had snuck into my heart. I loved it. I hope you see it. Bravo @ladygaga. Bravo #bradleycooper. Thank you. Encore 🌹

      A post shared by Anne Hathaway (@annehathaway) on

      So basically, Anne Hathaway is doing great right now, and I’m excited to see where this takes her. Hopefully she can keep things normal and down to earth for as long as possible, because she really is a great actress. Happy birthday Anne, keep up the good work!

      Images: Shutterstock; Giphy; @annehathaway / Instagram

      Read more: https://betches.com/?p=41618

      The future of human-robot interactions looks a lot more optimistic after this video

      Image: Rockstar Games / Eidos Montreal / Naughty dog – Composite by mashable

      It’s Villain Week here at Mashable. In honor of the release of Venom, we’re celebrating all our favorite evildoers from film and TV all week long. Spooky, scary!


      Not every video game needs a villain, but a good one can make a strong game even better.

      Villains give us reasons to fight. They motivate the story. Sometimes, they even see the error of their ways and switch teams. Usually though, villains represent the ultimate threat, the last obstacle to overcome before you can lean back in satisfaction as a game’s credits roll.

      There’s a long and colorful history of memorable video game villains. We’re ranking them here based not on who’s “best,” but rather who’s “worst.” The more evil and detestable, the better.

      10. Trevor Philips (Grand Theft Auto V)

      Image: rockstar games

      Ah, Trevor. Pretty much any playable character in a Rockstar Games release qualifies as an anti-hero. But Trevor’s unhinged and antisocial behavior elevates him above the rest.

      I guess he’s not your traditional villain, since you’re actually playing as Trevor for large portions of Grand Theft Auto V. But he’s memorable for his antics as a thief, a liar, and a murderer, and he lives that life whether you’re playing as him or against him.

      9. Captain Martin Walker (Spec Ops: The Line)

      Image: Yager development

      Spec Ops: The Line delivered one of the most brilliant bait-and-switch twists I’ve ever seen in a story-driven action game. Spoilers ahead.

      Your journey through a sandstorm-wracked Dubai is essentially a play on Apocalypse Now. Captain Martin Walker is introduced as one member of a squad that’s been sent to Dubai to restore order in the wake of the “Damned 33rd” Infantry Battalion and their PTSD-addled commander enacting a brutal form of martial law on the local population.

      Only that’s not what’s really going on. By the end of the game, you learn that the Damned 33rd’s commander is dead, and many of the atrocities witnessed during the game were actually committed by Walker himself. It’s a dark, powerful turn that, in a matter of minutes, reframes the narrative around the idea that you’ve been a terrible scourge the entire time.

      Two all-time great villains so far, and both of them were playable characters. That’s not weird, right?

      8. Agent 47 (Hitman)

      Image: IO Interactive

      Technically speaking, the smooth-talking, fabulously bald star of the Hitman series is as lethal as you want him to be. Even though murder is on the menu in the end, every time, there’s nothing stopping you from knocking out possible witnesses instead of just killing them. Hell, your score is higher when you play the part of a conscientious hitman. Yay for only killing who you must!

      But! Going completely non-lethal (save for your targets) brings a lot of added challenge to Hitman. It takes a lot more time to render someone unconscious out than snuff them out completely, and when you do the latter they never wake up.

      Another playable villain. What’s going on here?

      7. Booker DeWitt (BioShock Infinite)

      Image: Irrational Games

      BioShock Infinite is a thrilling game. And a confusing one. Spoilers!

      You play as Booker DeWitt, and you’re up against Zachary Comstock, the founder of the floating sky city Columbia who also happens to be an alternate universe version of Booker. You don’t learn that detail about Comstock until the end, though.

      And so you spend the game murdering your way across Columbia, which is populated with an army of Comstock adherents. Then, once all truths are revealed, you actually take the step of wiping Comstock — and the city he built — from existence.

      Comstock is the villain here, let’s be clear. But Booker is Comstock. So Booker is the villain? Why are all of the best video game villains characters you control?

      6. Wander (Shadow of the Colossus)

      Image: sony

      Let’s just impose a blanket spoiler warning for the rest of this list.

      It’s clear early on in Shadow of the Colossus that something isn’t quite right. By the time you’ve led Wander to his first skyscraping Colossus — one of sixteen massive boss fights that make up the sum total of this otherwise combat-free game — you’re nagged by a creeping sense that your efforts to resurrect your dead lady love will involve tearing down this beautiful world.

      That’s exactly what happens. Wander defeats the 16 Colossi, only to discover that in the process he’s unleashed a powerful magical being that’s been imprisoned for an unspecified amount of time. Oops.

      5. Batman (Batman: Arkham Knight)

      Image: Rocksteady games

      I know what you’re thinking. “Batman? Seriously???” 

      Yes. For all of their technical and narrative excellence, the Arkham games took a weird turn in the last entry — Arkham Knight — when they gave the Caped Crusader a literal tank to use in his never-ending effort to keep Gotham City safe.

      The bat-tank doesn’t fire explosive shells and it’s not technically built for destruction. What’s more, remote-operated drones are primarily what you’re shooting at when you’re in the tank. But. It’s a freaking tank. Big, heavy, destroys pretty much anything it rolls through. Collateral damage in the extremes.

      Sorry Bats. The game expects us to suspend our disbelief, but Arkham Knight turned you into everything you claim to stand against.

      4. Nathan Drake (Uncharted series)

      Image: naughty dog

      Come on. Nate Drake? The Indiana Jones of video games?!

      Have you played an Uncharted game lately? Nathan Drake may be a lovable scamp of a treasure hunter, but he’s also handy with bullets and the guns that shoot them. 

      The climbing and puzzle solving in your typical Uncharted game is broken up by extended combat sequences in which you’re expected to lay waste to armies of bad dudes. Sure, Drake doesn’t gun down innocents (at least not knowingly). But make no mistake: He’s a mass murderer. In most civilized countries, dude would spend life behind bars for his crimes.

      We’ve gone completely off the rails now. Action video game heroes are actually villains, confirmed.

      3. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider reboot series)

      Image: eidos montreal

      Past Tomb Raider games have leaned in on action, but the Tomb Raider reboot from 2013 kicked off a new era for the series, one featuring a much more violent Lara Croft. It’s technically aping Uncharted in a lot of ways, but Uncharted went there first by openly aping Tomb Raider. (And both draw inspiration from Indiana Jones.)

      Just like Drake, new Lara is a literal mass murderer. Over the course of any one game in the reboot trilogy, you’ll gun down hundreds of nameless dudes. Her coming of age journey is bathed in blood. She might see herself as a hero and a defender of the little people, but the families of the guys she gunned down would probably feel differently.

      2. Mario (Super Mario World)

      Image: nintendo

      This could really apply to multiple Mario games where Yoshi also appears. Mario is the scourge of the Mushroom Kingdom, crushing its residents beneath his mushroom blood-soaked boots. But what really makes Mario worthy of god-tier villain status is his cruel treatment of Yoshi.

      Yoshi, for those who might not know, is the smiling green dinosaur that Mario can ride like a horse. Yoshi has a number of abilities, including a great high jump. Mario can also use his dino friend as a launchpad, jumping as Yoshi and then jumping off of Yoshi at the apex of the first jump for extra height. 

      This usually happens to bridge some otherwise uncrossable gap. Which means it ends with Yoshi inevitably plunging to his death in one of the game’s many bottomless death pits. Not too surprising that a guy who stomps living creatures just because they’re in his way would betray a friend like this.

      1. IRL gamers (You know who you are)

      Image: Shutterstock / MaryMistan

      Twist! #NotAllGamers, amirite?

      Here’s a good litmus test: If you’re offended at the idea that real-life gamers are the most dreadful villains in video games then you’re probably part of the problem.

      Let’s review. Over the past year alone, angry gamers have prompted firings at two major studios, ArenaNet and Riot Games. They’ve harassed newly jobless Telltale Games developers because the company’s layoffs mean a partially released episodic game (probably) won’t be finished. They got weirdly aggressive over the role women play in a historical strategy game.

      And don’t forget GamerGate, the hate group that’s engaged in an open campaign of harassment — primarily targeting women in the industry — since 2014. I’m going to weather a few days of attacks on social media after this publishes, simply because I invoked that detestable group’s name.

      Yes, games are always going to struggle to strike the right balance between likable characters and entertaining action. Our favorite heroes are never going to stop being villains from a certain point of view. But the people who play these games aren’t lines of code. They’re people. They’re capable of change. And yet, many choose not to. I can’t think of anything more villainous.

      Read more: https://mashable.com/article/video-game-villains-ranked/

      Ben Affleck ‘Taking Things More Seriously’ As He Stays In Rehab – Perez Hilton

      We have the latest news on Ben Affleck‘s road to recovery.

      The 46-year-old actor has now completed his first month of rehab for struggles with alcoholism. But multiple sources tell

      Affleck is committed to turning things around for good this time. Not just for himself, but for his family too, with an insider claiming:

      “He seems to be taking things more seriously this time. He feels really bad and sorry about doing this because of the kids.”

      The Batman actor and ex-wife Jennifer Garner, who reportedly staged Ben’s intervention, share three kids together: daughters Violet, 12, and Seraphina, 9, and son Samuel, 6.

      A second source reiterated that getting help “is all that matters to him right now.”

      “Ben is not shy about his issues around addiction, particularly since he made that conversation public.”

      We hope Ben continues to get better!

      But we also can’t help but wonder if that means things with new flame Shauna Sexton will cool off as he focuses on his health…

      [Image via WENN.]

      Read more: https://perezhilton.com/2018-09-25-ben-affleck-continue-rehab/

      Telltale Games likely to close after final season of The Walking Dead

      Clementine from 'The Walking Dead.'
      Image: telltale games

      UPDATE, 6:06 p.m. ET: Telltale Games has issued an official statement, which has been added below. Story has been updated throughout.

      Beloved game studio Telltale Games went through a major downsizing.

      The company went through a major round of layoffs Friday, dropping the size of its studio from about 250 people down to just 25 people as the developer moves toward “majority studio closure,” Gamasutra, The Verge, and US Gamer, and former Telltale employees reported Friday.

      Known for its narrative-driven chapter-based games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale is holding onto the small group of people to complete the final season of The Walking Dead, which still has three announced episodes expected to release in September, November, and December, according to US Gamer.

      According to reports, the second Wolf Among Us game and the recently announced Stranger Things game have both effectively been canceled. 

      Telltale Games started in 2004 and rocketed in popularity with their critically acclaimed Walking Dead game in 2012, introducing their narrative, episodic style to a broader market. Along with games based on The Walking Dead, Telltale created narrative games based on other popular series including Minecraft, Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy, and a whole bunch more.

      Read more: https://mashable.com/article/telltale-games-layoffs/

      Henry Cavill Flying Away Is an Opportunity for DC to Start Over

      The latest death of Superman is upon us: Henry Cavill, the English-born actor who’s played the Man of Steel in three movies, is reportedly leaving the DC Universe. What Warner Bros. will do going forward is unclear, but the studio did release a statement today saying "we have made no current decisions regarding upcoming Superman films." And with that, for the first time in years, the onscreen fate of one of DC's most critically and commercially bulletproof characters is up, up in the air. And maybe it should stay that way.

      Ever since 2013's Man of Steel, Warner Bros. has been attempting to replicate the shared-storyline success of Marvel's decade-old mega-franchise. It could have worked. Warners had plenty going for it: A galaxy-sized archive of DC Comics characters and narratives; access to major stars like Ben Affleck (Batman) and Will Smith (Deadshot); and a hit-making architect in writer-director Zack Snyder. But whereas the Marvel films balanced gravitas with humor and comaradery, Snyder’s brooding vision was full of aggro heroes and city-leveling catastrophes. The resulting movies were bombastic, baffling, and unaware of their own joylessness (not to mention expensive). By the time of 2017's failed Justice League—the equivalent of a two-hour screen-saver, full of unhappy performers and unconvincing CGI—it was clear the studio's unification plan would need to be rethought.

      Now, DC's big-screen interconnected universe may be dead for good; at the very least, it's on ice. Deadline notes that Affleck—who has portrayed Batman in a trio of Warner Bros. films—likely won’t be returning to the cowl-and-growl role that resulted in one of the more depressing memes of all time. And a long-ago-promised sequel to Justice League will likely slip off IMDb at some point soon, much to the chagrin of no one, save for Jason Momoa's abs sommelier, who was looking forward to that bonus.

      Instead, Warner Bros. is focusing on stand-alone stories featuring characters like Wonder Woman, Shazam, The Joker, and Batgirl. Wonder Woman 1984 will take place in a Supes-free past, while the recent Aquaman trailer was almost exclusively about Aquaman, with no winking big-star cameos. Even the in-the-works The Batman looks to remain grounded in Gotham.

      These are characters who are creeping toward their 100th birthdays, yet have remained fundamentally unchanged for decades. Both are due for some sort of radical re-thinking.

      For those who've endured the studio's labored, Martha-lovin’ attempts to bring their heroes to the multiplex, the new DC Existential Unilateralism (or DCEU) feels like the only sane approach. Characters like Batman and Superman were never intended to play well with others: They’re outsiders—one a billionaire loner, the other an awkward alien—whose social skills and inflexible ideology all but demand they work in fortresses of solitude. One of the more inspired elements of the Tim Burton-directed Batman was to play up the fact that Bruce Wayne wasn't particularly suave or assured; instead, he was a night-crawling nut who barely felt at home in his own mansion. The idea of Burton's Batman having a sustained conversation with another hero, much less teaming up with one of them, was unthinkable.

      That first modern Batman movie turns 30 next year—which points to another reason for Warner Bros. to pull the limelight from some of its better-known in-house heroes: There’s very little left to say about them. The last four decades have seen eight live-action movies with Superman, and ten featuring Batman. Villains have been recycled, costumes have been refurbished, origin stories have been reiterated. These are characters who are creeping toward their 100th birthdays, yet have remained fundamentally unchanged for decades. Both are due for some sort of radical re-thinking.

      But first, they need to disappear for a while. It took almost two decades for the camp-Batman of the '60s to transform into the noir-weirdo Batman of the '80s. The same amount of time passed before audiences were willing to let go of the square, small-screen Superman of TV, and embrace Christopher Reeve's winking, more emo Man of Feels. Those sort of changes require a prolonged absence—one that allows characters, and viewers, to evolve at the same rate. If you want moviegoers to believe a man can fly, it helps to ground him for a while.

      Plus, the more DC moves away from its flagship capers, the better their chances of finding weirdness in the margins. A few years ago, Marvel’s Ant-Man—a character whose exploits were were relegated to the three-for-a-dollar discount-boxes—became a household name. And the Guardians of the Galaxy were essentially cult heroes until the 2014 hit movie bearing their name. Similarly, DC's television efforts have found ways to make mainstream heroes out of lesser-known properties like Black Lightning, Firestorm, and Hawkgirl.

      There are several other potentially compelling—possibly even fun?—DC characters that could work in movies (the Wachowskis were angling to make a Plastic Man film as far back as the mid-'90s). But for now, the strategy of an Aquaman here and a Supergirl there is far more sensible given the glut of superhero headlining acts that have put DC's characters in such dire straits (both on and off screen). Batman and Superman can afford to take some time off. There's plenty more to marvel at.


      More Great WIRED Stories

      Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/henry-cavill-superman-dc-future/