Live-action comic book movies are a lucrative business for both Disney and Warner Bros. Disney’s Marvel Studios has earned over $10 billion for its parent company, and Warner Bros.’ DC movies are starting to gain a foothold with the combined earnings of Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. However, those movies also take substantial investments of time and money to make.
With so many accumulated comic book stories to be told, a market has grown for animated, direct-to-video movies for both Marvel and DC. The budget to make those movies is much smaller, they require fewer resources, and they can tell stories that might not quite work in a live-action format. While DC’s recent animated adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic The Killing Joke was somewhat controversial, that has not stopped them from developing new animated projects.
Two of those projects are the upcoming Justice League Dark, which will be the first movie adaptation of the comic before the long-delayed live-action version directed by Doug Liman makes it to the big screen, and Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, which revives the campy, live-action Batman TV series from the ’60s in cartoon form. Both movies will be released direct to digital video as well as Blu-ray and DVD – but before that happens they will make their debut at New York Comic Con in October, according to a new press release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will be shown in its entirety on Thursday, October 6 at 5:30 PM on the Main Stage at NYCC, and will be followed by “an entertaining panel discussion amongst Adam West (Batman), director Rick Morales and screenwriters Michael Jelenic and James Tucker.” The panel will be moderated by Sam Register, who is both Warner Bros. Animation President and the film’s executive producer.
Justice League Dark will be featured at the Main Stage of the Javits Center on Saturday, October 8 at 4:45 PM. While the full movie will not be shown, there will be footage from the film as well as a panel discussion accompanying it. According to the press release:
“The spotlight panel will include the first official film footage from the all-new animated Justice League Dark, and an enthralling discussion led actors Matt Ryan and Jason O’Mara alongside the filmmaking trio of producer James Tucker, director Jay Oliva and character designer Phil Bourassa.”
The continued attention given to the direct-to-video animation market is a boon both for the studios who get to make some additional money off of their intellectual properties without huge investments and for the comic book fans who get to see characters and stories in movie form that they might not get to see otherwise. Both Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Justice League Dark look like they could end up being worthy new additions to Warner Bros.’ catalog.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders arrives on Digital HD October 11, 2016 and on Blu-ray and DVD November 1, 2016. Justice League Dark arrives on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD in early 2017.