The new owners of all things Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are exploring a DC Entertainment overhaul, multiple sources familiar with the matter have said. Variety.
It’s been less than a week since Discovery closed its $43 billion deal for WarnerMedia, joining one of reality TV’s biggest producers with one of entertainment’s most venerable brands under the new moniker. from Warner Bros. Discovery. David Zaslav, the combined companies’ CEO, and senior management have toyed with the idea of turning DC into its own solidified content vertical, the sources said.
This decision would potentially affect the development of DC features in the Warner Bros. group. Pictures, streaming series from Warner Bros. Television and DC’s own creative arm – all with the goal of aligning the disparate elements more closely to maximize the value of the superhero stable – often seen as battling Marvel.
Before the merger closed, Zaslav vetted candidates with experience building and nurturing successful intellectual property with the goal of potentially finding someone to serve as a similar creative and strategic czar. that Marvel has in Kevin Feige. One of those candidates included Emma Watts, a former senior film executive at 20th Century Studios and Paramount, but it doesn’t look like Watts will take the job. An insider suggested that Zaslav was less interested in finding a creative guru and more eager to hire someone who had the kind of business background needed to make all of DC’s different factions work more harmoniously.
Insiders say Zaslav believes the success of the merger, which has left the company heavily in debt, will hinge in large part on unleashing the universe’s full potential of DC Comics characters. Discovery insiders believe that while DC has achieved cinematic success with recent films such as “Aquaman” and “The Batman”, it lacks a cohesive creative and brand strategy. Discovery believes that several high-end characters such as Superman have been left to languish and need to be revitalized. They also believe projects like Todd Phillips’ “Joker” are a shining example of how characters from the DC library can and should be leveraged (Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was another opportunity, though “Birds of Prey” missed the target).
DC has begun to find ways for its big-screen films to inspire more streaming content – recent examples include the HBO Max show “The Peacemaker,” which was a spinoff of “The Suicide Squad,” as well as an upcoming series about Farrell’s Colin The Penguin and the Gotham City Police. But the company believes DC needs to do more to expand its approach to comic book pricing, including strengthening the games. Under Walter Hamada, who took over DC Films from Jon Berg and Geoff Johns in 2018, the unit achieved more consistency in terms of the critical and commercial reception of the company’s films. He’s under contract until the end of 2023 and could play an important role in whatever Zaslav has planned.
Zaslav has pledged to find $3 billion in synergies in the newly merged company, a signal of how important cost cutting is to Warners’ new owners. Mining DC’s character library could help control spending as Warner Bros. Discovery owns the underlying intellectual property, insiders say.
Upcoming DC Films projects include a sequel to Zachary Levi’s ‘Shazam’, a sequel to Jason Momoa’s ‘Aquaman’, the long-awaited franchise launch ‘Black Adam’ starring Dwayne Johnson, and a third installment of ‘Wonder Woman’. by Gal Gadot.