Director Zack Snyder was almost fired from Justice League prior to filming, according to The Wrap. He was reportedly kept on over financial concerns.
“They were already in deep prep on Justice League and it would have cost a fortune. There’s stickiness to a director because there’s so much cost to unstick him,” an unnamed insider told the Hollywood trade. “Warners is a studio that almost to a fault always wants to project strength.”
Somewhat unsurprisingly, The Wrap links Snyder's reported rocky relationship with Warners to the poor reception and underwhelming box office performance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. According to the trade, Snyder was kept on partially because of Time Warner' impending merger with AT&T.
Feports of AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner didn't come to light until October 2016, but Snyder began filming Justice League in April 2016. The Wrap's report infers that even in April the acquisition talks were underway - enough to factor into financial decisions about Warner Bros. films.
According to the Hollywood trade, the merger would reportedly bring financial windfall to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and would have also benefitted Warner Bros. Pictures President Greg Silverman, to whom Snyder reported until Silverman was replaced by current WB Pictures President Toby Emmerich, so Snyder was purportedly kept on in order to not jeopardize the studio's financial position.
Instead, The Wrap reports that DC Films co-President John Berg was a fixture onset to help guide production. Warner Bros. also elected to film Justice League as a standalone film, rather than filming it and its sequel concurrently as originally announced.
Snyder did eventually leave Justice League in May after completing initial filming, however his departure reportedly stemmed from his daughter's death rather than any kind of corporate mandate.The Wrap's new report says that Snyder's decision to leave the production entirely after his daughter's death may have stemmed in part from disagreements over the direction of the film's final cut, on which Avengers director Joss Whedon was already consulting, leading to Whedon taking over the project entirely which resulted in extensive reshoots.
Justice League opened to $93.8 million in North America - the lowest domestic DC Comics based superhero film opening since 2011's Green Lantern, and was once again drubbed by critics.