File this under "N" for never-gonna-happen-in-a-million-years. Still, nothing wrong with dreaming of what could be.
Superhero team-ups on the big screen are a rarity, only just beginning to happen thanks to the recent efforts of Marvel and DC to create films starring the Avengers and the Justice League. The idea of a crossover team-up featuring both Marvel and DC characters on the same screen is nothing but a pipe dream — except for creative fans.
A collective of CGI animators calling themselves Root End have launched a Kickstarter project to finance just such a project they call Batman v. Iron Man: The Jokers. The all-CGI movie would take the conceit of being set after The Dark Knight (but not after Rises) and the first Iron Man film. The filmmakers see it as an alternative sequel to both films, though the focus appears to be on Batman since the villain is Heath Ledger's version of the Joker.
They've created a teaser trailer for the movie that you can watch right here.
Looks pretty cool, right? And the CGI is certainly impressive. As long as no one's making any money off of it, which would be illegal, what's the harm?
Well, there are a few negatives working against the Root End crew. The first and most obvious is that both Marvel and DC are obsessive and possessive when it comes to protecting their brands. Marvel's owned by Disney; DC's owned by Warner Bros. Neither of those entities is known for a willingness to overlook copyright infringements.
Second, it's a Kickstarter project, where Root End is trying to raise funds to pay for all that CGI animation. There's no way that any crowdfunding campaign can guarantee backers that not one penny of the pledged money is being pocketed by the creators. The hefty amount of money Root End's animators are seeking doesn't help their case: they want a whopping $96,000 to create Batman v. Iron Man. If they can manage to double that, they plan to stretch their 15-minute film to a half hour.
The last and probably the most foolhardy decision the creators made with their Kickstarter campaign is the fact that should the movie be fully funded, only backers will be allowed to watch it. To be fair, the lowest pledge amount is just $5, so it's not like they want a c-note from everybody who wants to see this movie.
But every fan film that gets made is posted online for anyone and everyone to see. It's just smart business — a fan film is a living, breathing business card, advertising the skills of the filmmakers. Root End probably has the best of intentions in keeping the movie private, but the business model they've set up too strongly resembles a for-profit transaction.
At the time of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign has raised a little under $1,500 from 65 backers, with 25 days to go in the campaign.
Root End's animators obviously have talent, and we wish them well and hope they see success. But the legal quagmire surrounding this thing all but guarantees it'll never see the light of day. Here's a thought: Marvel or DC should hire these guys to make straight-to-home-video CGI movies for them. Or maybe there's a video game developer that could use Root End's skills in crafting high quality cutscenes.