DC Movies to Follow 10-Year Plan Like Marvel Cinematic Universe, Says Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav
DC superhero movies will follow a 10-year plan similar to Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav confirmed during an earnings call webcast that the franchise will be reset to build a cohesive plan for future DC movies. The company has announced a “reset” for the DC Extended Universe, with a dedicated team laying out long-term plans focused on quality over quantity. The news comes in the wake of WBD scrapping the Leslie Grace-led Batgirl movie, which was in its final stages of post-production.
“You look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, these are brands that are known everywhere in the world,” said Zaslav in the webcast. “We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business. We’re going to focus where there will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC.” Going forward, DC will try emulating the Marvel Cinematic Universe playbook, akin to the structure laid out by Alan Horn, Bob Iger, and Kevin Feige at Disney. As part of that, Warner Bros. Discovery is going to focus on quality and will not be releasing any movie “before it’s ready.”
The studio confirmed that cancelling Wonder Twins, Batgirl, and Scoob! Holiday Haunt was a difficult part of this strategy, but it did not fit their vision to maximise financial returns. Reports indicate that Batgirl was subject to test screenings, with audiences calling it “irredeemable.” The movie, which was originally planned for an HBO Max release will no longer see the light of day, in cinemas or on the streaming platform. Some reports also claim that Warner Bros. Discovery chose to cancel the movie as a tax write-off.
Films that revealed their trailers at San Diego Comic-Con last month — Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods — and The Flash are marked safe, and is something the company is really excited about. “We are very excited about them. We’ve seen them. We think they are terrific, and we think we can make them even better,” Zaslav added. It is also worth noting that Batgirl was never mentioned at the San Diego event.
As for other in-development projects such as the John Cena-led Peacemaker season 2, filmmaker James Gunn assured on Twitter that it is safe from studio interference. An HBO Max exclusive, the DC series is now headed to Prime Video in India on August 14. Even Matt Reeves’ The Batman sequel, starring Robert Pattinson is being seen as a quality product at the WBD offices.
From here on, the studio will be focusing on theatrical releases only, now that COVID-19 is not a major hurdle, albeit some films will be released with shorter windows and different marketing campaigns. This is in reference to the drastic move of the old WarnerMedia regime that put all 2021 Warner films on HBO Max on the same day as the theatrical showing. The studio also has plans to merge HBO Max with Discovery+ to create a brand new product — debuting summer of 2023 in the US, and mid-2024 in Asia Pacific. Discovery+ is available in India, HBO Max isn’t.
Following the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, DC Comics handed over its reigns to Zack Snyder, who launched his own expansive universe with Man of Steel. But, the 2016 sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received mixed reactions, and studio executives lost confidence in him after Justice League.
DC has been in a constant state of flux since — at one point, Michael Keaton was set to become the Nick Fury-type figure in DCEU, but those plans ended with the cancelling of Batgirl. Keaton was said to have filmed a scene for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but Ben Affleck is seemingly replacing him there.