Before the era of interconnected superhero movie universes that came from Marvel Studios and DC Films, comic book movies came out less frequently and differed quite a bit from one another.
The early days of modern superhero movies did start the careers of many major players that are still going today; Marvel CCO Kevin Feige started as early as 2000 on X-Men and Sam Raimi created his 2000s Spider-Man trilogy before taking on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Another big name still going is DC Extended Universe mainstay Zack Snyder, who is three months away from bringing the Snyder Cut of Justice League to HBO Max. Before joining the DCEU, Snyder made his name on 2000's action movies like 300 , even dipping his feet into comic book movies long before they dominated pop culture as much as they currently do.
This includes his work directing 2009's Watchmen , a film that Snyder now believes was created about a decade too soon...
In a recent interview on TheFilmJunkee's Youtube channel, DCEU director Zack Snyder admitted that he may have brought 2009's Watchmen to the world "about eight to ten years" after it released.
"Well look, I think Watchmen is one of those movies that was probably made about eight, ten years before it should've been made, by the time I made it...
Snyder goes on to say that the general movie audiences have "caught up" with the superhero movie genre:
But I feel like now, movie audiences have caught up with comic book audiences... In that movie, the true deconstruction is appreciated now. Where at the time, it was like 'What? This doesn't make any sense.' And I was like 'No, no, no.' Because it's fetish, people are like 'Wait, what? Superheroes dress up... Get aroused?' And I'm like 'Look, it's complicated.' But if you take it all away, that's the whole thing.
The filmmaker then shared his praise for Watchmen creator Alan Moore and the themes that he explored in his DC graphic novel:
And I think Alan [Moore] did an amazing job of taking the mythology all the way to its final, where it always would end up... If you take it seriously, this is how it ends."
The full interview can be seen here:
WHAT THIS MEANS
Even though comic book movies weren't necessarily uncommon eleven years ago, Watchmen took a risk as one of the first R-rated and gritty movies in the genre . Reviews praised it as a very accurate representation of the team from the comics while displaying groundbreaking heavy visual effects that Snyder has become famous for.
However, the film wasn't much of a success from Warner Bros.' perspective; it was a financial flop, earning just $185 million worldwide on an approximate $130 million budget, and garnered lukewarm reception from critics and fans alike with a 65% critic approval rating.
Although earlier movies like 1998's Blade explored the more adult nature of superheroes, Watchmen took it even further with Snyder's action and comic book accurate violence. These kinds of movies are much more prominent in the mainstream culture of 2020, much in thanks to Ryan Reynolds' mature Deadpool franchise , and it seems as though Snyder believes Watchmen would perform better, both critically and financially, had it released in today's environment.
This movie garnered some of the same reactions early in the last decade when Dark Knight trilogy director Christopher Nolan told Snyder that he made Watchmen before its time.