Fans have often heard about the studio meddling that occurred with Justice League after Zack Snyder left the production due to the sudden death of his daughter. This included whole scenes being reshot, new lines added, and even the color-grading being changed.
A new remaster of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released on HBO Max last month, sporting improved colors and a new aspect ratio. Even before its release, Warner Bros. seemed to interfere in the production of the Man of Steel sequel.
Something as simple as the title was apparently chosen by executives and marketing at the studio, which screenwriter Chris Terrio was none too pleased about.
WARNER BROS. v CHRIS TERRIO
In an explosive interview with Vanity Fair, Oscar-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio laid out his many issues with Warner Bros. as well as his work on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
When asked about what Terrio wanted to avoid when writing Dawn of Justice, he said that he didn't want the conflict between Batman and Superman to be “a sitcom joke” and make it uncomfortable for audiences:
"I didn’t want to make it a sitcom joke that Batman and Superman are trying to kill each other. If I’m going to work on this movie, it’s going to be dark and operatic, and it’s going to be uncomfortable. Zack and I come from very different approaches to filmmaking, but I immediately liked him because he isn’t cynical and he wears his heart on his sleeve. I’m cynical enough for any room that I enter into."
Terrio elaborated further and noted, that in his drafts of the movie, it was not titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This caused him to be “as surprised as anyone” by the final title:
"I wrote drafts of the Batman/Superman movie, which wasn’t called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by me. I did not name the script. In fact, I found out what the movie was called along with the rest of the world on the internet. I was not consulted on the title of the film, and I was as surprised as anyone. I would not have named it Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
After being asked whether Zack Snyder chose this title, Terrio couldn't say for sure. Despite this, he affirmed that it was “the first step toward creating ill will for the film” and laid the blame on the studio and marketing:
"I don’t know exactly who named it, but I suspect it was the studio and I suspect it was marketing, to be honest with you. It might have been the first step toward creating ill will for the film. I suspect that putting the words “Batman” and “Superman” into the title had some marketing component to it."
The screenwriter further expressed that he thought that the title was “tone-deaf” and that it made the film out to be something it wasn't:
"I heard it and I thought, It just sounds self-important and clueless in a way. Tone-deaf. The intention of the film was to do something interesting and dark and complex, not quite as Las Vegas, bust ’em up, WWE match as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
DAWN OF STUDIO MEDDLING
It seemed like the underperformance of Man of Steel really was the beginning of the end for the colloquially named Snyderverse by fans. So, when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which starred three of the most well-known superheroes on the planet, didn't crack a billion dollars, they reversed course hard.
Considering the changes they made to Justice League in reaction to this, it is even more difficult to bear that those changes weren't even worth it in the end. Warner Bros. might have just been better off delaying Justice League, letting Zack Snyder finish it and then discontinuing their plans for his other films. In the end, all it managed to do was rile up a fan base that will now never be satisfied and waste budgets all around.
However, people have noted on Twitter that Zack Snyder was actually the one who proposed the title, which is a bit awkward considering Terrio's very disparaging comments about it.