Aquaman 2’s Reported Production Problems Already Seem Lost At Sea

Aquaman 2’s Reported Production Problems Already Seem Lost At Sea

Did you know that Aquaman (2018) is the highest grossing DC Universe movie? At least according to The Hollywood Reporter, it is the “highest grossing” DC movie of all time at 1.148 billion dollars. Which, absolutely bonkers considering what a weird over-developed riot of CGI that film was. And of course the sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, coming on the heels of three turnovers at Warner Bros. looks like it’s already heading into rough waters.

THR reports that the film just wrapped it’s third round of reshoots with Jason Momoa in New Zealand just before SAG-AFTRA called a strike. Three rounds of reshoots is incredibly expensive and relatively rare, especially for massive films like Aquaman. Additionally, the reasons behind these reshoots are likewise dismal.

“While a timeline is not clear, from summer 2022 to the beginning of 2023, The Lost Kingdom underwent two rounds of reshoots and held several uninspiring test screenings,” writes Borys Kit at THR. Uninspired screenings! Screenings that were apparently so bad that one of the Warner Bros. brass—Pamela Abdy—apparently got in the edit booth in an effort to fix it. Readers, it is pertinent to tell you that the Abdy cut apparently “scored lower than the previous version. That led to another round of reshoots.” Yikes.

So to tally there are several edits, a handful of leaders, new leaders under Peter Safran and James Gunn, three reshoots, and, also, a note that the issue of how to integrate Batman into this movie was apparently a problem. But this studio has dumped so much money on this production that if it’s not a wet dog of a movie, it will be by the time it comes out… supposedly in December this year.

Oh, there’s also an additional complication, thrown in as kind of an aside in this article, which is that “every frame of the movie involves visual effects, another major cost.” Not every scene. Every frame. This is absolutely bananas amounts of work—even if, inevitably that work is going to range wildly from touch-ups and object removal to the sort of grandiose VFX work necessitated by the blockbuster superhero movie machine—especially when VFX houses are overworked, underpaid, and also un-unionized at a moment when co-ordinated labor movements are having their moment.

So while reshoots are done, post-production, VFX, editing, mixing, so forth and so on are all still being worked on. If all this tweaking, fine-tuning, filmmaking-by-committee results in a shining pearl in the DC crown, maybe it’ll be worth it. But I doubt it.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

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