Should Warner Give Up the Fight for Superhero Supremacy?

There's no disguising the truth that Green Lantern has thus far been a box office failure, both here in the U.S. and worldwide. Box Office Mojo puts the domestic gross at $91 million through Friday. The total rises to $120 million if you count overseas viewings in the gross.

With numbers like that, you'd think Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) would move on rather than make a sequel. Not so fast. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is mulling a second go at putting DC Comics' Emerald Knight on the big screen. (An initial THR report said studio executives already decided on a sequel.)

This is what happens when you let a wizard run your world. Harry Potter, in this case.

Since Hogwarts first arrived on the big screen in 2001, Warner Bros. has reaped the windfall from more than $6 billion in worldwide box office receipts. Operating profit from filmed entertainment exceeded $1.1 billion last year, more than double 2001's total. Finding a replacement for Harry Potter is key to growing that profit base.

Yet investors skeptical of the wisdom of staying with the Lantern franchise may have a point. The original trailer impressed few, in part because it emphasized comedic timing over epic adventure. See for yourself:

Seeing this doesn't inspire me. Rather, it takes me back to Ryan Reynolds' early work in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. Judging by the Lantern's light box office haul -- which Fools predicted -- I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Don't get me wrong. A good blend of comedic timing is important. A few mild cracks made Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) Thor enjoyable. Sporting interplay between James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender at key moments makes X-Men: First Class poignant and adds depth and interest to characters that were interesting to begin with. As a result, News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWS  ) 20th Century Fox is sitting on $320 million in worldwide box office receipts.

Warner wasn't wrong to try to cash in on Reynolds' natural charm. The screenwriters -- all four of them -- just failed to find the right blend of epic adventure and comic relief.

Betting on a sequel would mean betting that whoever writes the follow-up can walk the inevitable tightrope without falling. Can it be done? Is the effort worth it? We're asking you. Use the comments box below to let us know whether you think Time Warner would be justified in funding a sequel.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Time Warner and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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