Warner Bros. Discovery’s 2022 earning call shined a light on CEO David Zaslav’s overhaul plans for the DCEU and that includes structuring the DC brand as its own studio and identifying its A-tier IPs such as The Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman as their own franchises alongside other behemoths akin to Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. And aside from confirming a 10-year plan for DC similar to MCU, the WBD head also remarked on Batgirl’s cancellation. Here’s a highlight of the key points announced during the conference.
After receiving a query on WBD’s plans for the DC Films during their earnings call Q&A – Zaslav got candid on the new leadership’s desire to build the DC Extended Universe over a 10-year period similar to Kevin Feige’s roadmap for Marvel Studios. That starts with a potential soft or hard reboot.
“We have done a reset. We’ve structured the business. There will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC. It’s very similar to the structure that Alan Horne and Bob Iger put together very effectively with Kevin Feige at Disney. We think we could build a long-term, much more sustainable growth business out of DC, and as part of that, we’re going to focus on quality. We’re not going to release any film before it’s ready. We’re not going to release a film to make a [financial] quarter, we’re not going to release a film [if it’s not working] The focus is going to be, how do we make each of these films, in general, as good as possible? DC is something we can make better, and we’re focused on it now. We have some great DC films coming up. ‘Black Adam,’ ‘Shazam!,’ and ‘Flash.’ We’re working on all of those. We’ve seen them, and we think they’re terrific, and that we can make them even better. That’s what Mike [De Luca] and Pam [Abdy, Warner Bros.’ new motion picture heads] are doing.”
WBD is structuring DCEU into its own DC Studio, hints Zaslav
From the looks of it, Zaslav is committed to first exploring DC’s trinity to its fullest and that, unfortunately, sets aside C-tier IPs such as Batgirl. Warner Bros. Discovery Reporting Structure presentation also confirmed there will be a DC Studio as a motion picture division alongside New Line Cinema, Warner Animation Group etc. It seems Alan Horn will be one of the execs overseeing the DC film roadmap.
— Azraël (@DavidActucine) August 4, 2022
Even though WBD’s vague unveiling of its new strategy failed to clear up what’s in store in the near future, Snyderverse fans still remain hopeful, especially after the HBO Max video presentation including footage from Zack Snyder’s Justice League with scenes of Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. But even while Henry Cavill’s Superman was front and center, the character’s future remains a mystery.
Prior to addressing their strategy for the DC brand, the WBD CEO hit on the financial aspect of making a big budget movie, like the $90 million Batgirl exclusively for streaming service, even though it lacked showing the profitable outcome.
“This idea of expensive films going direct to streaming — we can’t find an economic case for it, we can’t find an economic value to it, so we’re making a strategic shift.”
HBO Max and Discovery + are also merging to form a single streaming platform expected to launch in the US next summer and eventually roll out to Latin America in fall 2023, Europe and the Asia Pacific in 2024. The studio is also considering releasing a free ad support version of the service. But streaming is just one of the business models that WBD looks to prioritize among its plan to target audiences on Cable, Network TV and theatrical.
There’s no word yet if Aquaman 2 and Shazam! 2’s release dates will be moved again. However, a good sign was Lady Gaga’s announcement confirming her involvement in Todd Phillips’ Joker 2 and clearly, it does not seem to be a coincidence the news dropped prior to the earnings call. In addition, it’s safe to say Matt Reeves’ The Batman 2 starring Robert Pattinson doesn’t come under Zaslav’s scanner too.
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