- Henry Romero/Reuters
- “Justice League” director Zack Snyder’s next movie is “Army of the Dead,” a zombie-heist thriller for Netflix.
- Netflix is the perfect home for Snyder’s violent, hyper-stylized approach to filmmaking, which made him an odd fit for the DC Extended Universe.
- “There are no handcuffs on me at all with this one,” Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter. The streaming giant is known for giving filmmakers freedom, and it’s attracted high-profile directors like Alfonso Cuarón and Martin Scorsese.
- There are also no box-office expectations when it comes to Netflix.
Director Zack Snyder is moving on from the DC Extended Universe to Netflix for his next movie.
Snyder will direct “Army of the Dead” for the streaming giant, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. The movie was originally set at Warner Bros., Snyder’s home for all of his feature films so far except for his first: a remake of George A. Romero’s classic zombie movie, “Dawn of the Dead,” which was released by Universal in 2004.
That means Snyder is returning to his roots with “Army of the Dead,” which THR describes as a “zombie horror thriller” about a group of mercenaries who venture into a quarantine zone in Las Vegas to pull off “the greatest heist ever attempted.”
“There are no handcuffs on me at all with this one,” Snyder told THR. “I thought this was a good palate cleanser to really dig in with both hands and make something fun and epic and crazy and bonkers in the best possible way.”
That’s what makes Netflix and Snyder the perfect pairing.
Ever since “Dawn of the Dead,” and then with “300” and “Watchmen,” Snyder has been known for a violent, hyper-stylized, and in-your-face approach to filmmaking. In other words, “crazy” and “bonkers.”
It’s what made him a curious choice to tackle Superman with the 2013 reboot, “Man of Steel.” At his core, Superman is a character who embodies hope and positivity, a far cry from the pessimistic world of “Watchmen.” That’s why viewers were astonished when Superman kills the villain at the end of the movie, only after leveling half of the city of Metropolis.
- Warner Bros.
Snyder’s DCEU problems continued with 2016’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” in which Batman also kills (a lot) and Superman rarely smiles. The movie was torched by critics. He then stepped away from “Justice League” after a family tragedy, and Joss Whedon came in to finish, but the movie was ultimately a disappointment critically and financially. It has a 40% Rotten Tomatoes critic score and made only $657 million worldwide – it was supposed to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s $1.5 billion-grossing “Avengers.”
The problem with these three movies is that Snyder had handcuffs on. “Man of Steel” and especially “Dawn of Justice” were bleaker than the Superman movies that came before them, but at the end of the day, they were still PG-13-rated superhero movies made for a mass audience.
There are no handcuffs with Netflix. The streaming giant is known for giving filmmakers the freedom to do essentially whatever they want, and that has attracted high-profile directors like Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Scorsese, David Ayer, and now Snyder.
There are also no box-office expectations on Netflix. The company rarely releases viewership numbers, but has recently revealed limited details about some of its biggest movies and TV shows. Netflix said that “Bird Box,” its thriller starring Sandra Bullock, was viewed by 45 million accounts in its first week of release last month, an original film record.
It wouldn’t be surprising if “Army of the Dead” also achieved impressive numbers. But if it doesn’t, it’s not as devastating as “Justice League” making much less money in the US than “Avengers: Infinity War” did in its opening weekend.