Just two days after Warner Bros. Discovery made the stunning decision to cancel the HBO Max movie bat girla shameless CEO, David Zaslav, sought to reassure Wall Street that there was a coherent plan for DC’s future.
“You look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman – those are brands that are known all over the world,” Zaslav said in a conference call Thursday. “We did a reset. We’ve restructured the business that we’re going to focus on, where there will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing only on DC. We believe we can build a much more sustainable business.
DC has long wanted to emulate the success of Disney-owned Marvel Studios, which Kevin Feige built into the highest-grossing film franchise in history. Zaslav recently brought in Feige’s former boss, retired Disney film chief Alan Horn, as an adviser. During the earnings call, Zaslav suggested that DC would try to emulate the Marvel playbook.
“It’s very similar to Alan Horn’s structure, [former Disney CEO] Bob Iger and Kevin Feige got along very well at Disney. We believe we can build a much stronger and more sustainable growth business out of DC,” Zaslav said. “In this context, we will focus on quality. We will not release any film until it is ready. …DC is something we can improve on.
DC proceeded by stops and restarts after the conclusion of the definition of Christopher Nolan Black Knight trilogy concluded ten years ago. The studio first tapped Zack Snyder to oversee its planned universe, which the filmmaker launched in 2013 with Steel man. However, Snyder lost the trust of studio executives after the 2016 split. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justiceand some of the films from an ambitious slate of 10 projects announced in 2014 never materialized, including Justice League 2. Executive Walter Hamada took the reins of DC Films in 2018 and has prepared a number of films, including several for HBO Max to fulfill WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar’s tenure. Now those plans are changing once again.
Zaslav touted a number of upcoming DC movies, including black adam and Shazam! Fury of the godsand responded to rumors that some of these films may change dates without confirming or denying any details.
“We are very excited about them. We have seen them. We think they’re great and we think we can make them even better,” Zaslav said in terms of marketing and distributing the upcoming movies, which also include the flashwith controversial actor Ezra Miller.
Miller was accused of choking a fan in Iceland in April 2020, and Business Intern released a report on Thursday containing a lengthy interview with the parents of an 18-year-old who say the actor has been caring for their child since he was 12. Warners’ plans for the flashwhich has a June 2023 release date, have been closely watched.
The exec also revealed that while he’s focused on theatrical releases, “a number of films will be released with shorter windows…and with different marketing campaigns. But we’ll still be nimble and the focus will be.” on the theatre.
Before the pandemic, theater owners could require an exclusive theater window of 74 days to 90 days. Now, a movie opening at $50 million or less domestically can be made available at home as soon as two to three weeks after its theatrical release (Universal was the first major Hollywood studio to strike such terms.) .
Zaslav’s comments come at a difficult time for DC. On Tuesday, Warners broke the news that it was setting aside its $90 million bat girl film, which was deep in post-production ahead of an expected HBO Max release. Several sources noted that Warner Media Discovery opted to use the film’s losses as a tax cut rather than release it. The move raised concerns that other films could follow, with blue beetle filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto loves tweets asking Warners to protect his DC movie, which was originally developed for HBO Max before being upgraded to theatricals.
Zaslav said expensive movies for streaming don’t make economic sense.
“The goal is to grow the DC brand. To grow DC characters. But also, our job is to protect the DC brand, and that’s what we’re going to do.
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