Will Warner Bros.’ Executive Power Struggle Hurt DC Superhero Movies?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 13th, 2012 at 11:43 pm,

Warner Bros Power Struggle Justice League Will Warner Bros. Executive Power Struggle Hurt DC Superhero Movies?

Love of cinematic entertainment can often blind one to a diamond-hard truth: For all their ability to make us laugh, send a chill down our spine, transport us to dreamlike worlds, and inspire us to greatness, movies and television are still a business. And that business’s internal workings and profit needs can sometimes interfere with its goal to entertain.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than with the venerable Warner Bros. studio, known for decades for its relative reliability and smooth corporate environment. Recently, rumblings of unrest have begun to emerge from the far-reaching media empire – rumblings that may have far-reaching implications for many beloved entertainment franchises, including DC Comics’ Justice League.

In a feature article published by The Los Angeles Times this past weekend, it was asserted that a quiet struggle for the top spot of Time Warner, Inc. has begun to slow and outright sour projects within the corporation. According to the feature, current Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes announced in 2010 that he would postpone his planned retirement in order to groom one of three division executives to take his place in 2013. These three candidates are the heads of Warner’s Motion Picture, Television, and Home Entertainment divisions: Jeff Robinov, Bruce Rosenblum, and Kevin Tsujihara, respectively.

Instead of fostering an environment of cheerful competition and divisional improvement, Bewkes’ challenge has apparently created a gradually curdling atmosphere of paranoia that is said to be strangling cooperation between the three departments. Employees are said to be increasingly sticking to their own divisions, afraid to show disloyalty to any of the three executives. Contracts – some as major as Time Warner’s contract with Legendary Pictures – have not been renewed due to fears that fallout over the power struggle will make funding for projects unexpectedly shrink and/or vanish.

Time Warner owns countless subsidiary corporations, some of which are entertainment titans in their own right. These include movie distributor New Line Cinema, television networks such as HBO, and other companies like DC Comics. If The Los Angeles Times‘ article is accurate, these subsidiaries are also straining under the increasingly acrimonious race for Chief Executive.

Warner Bros Power Struggle Rosenblum Robinov Tsujihara Will Warner Bros. Executive Power Struggle Hurt DC Superhero Movies?

From left to right: Executives Bruce Rosenblum, Jeff Robinov, and Kevin Tsujihara.

This environment of mistrust and bet-hedging may partially explain why DC Comics has been so slow in its attempts to catch up to the ferociously successful pace of Marvel Studios. After the failure of Green Lantern to launch a Marvel-style shared cinematic universe, DC is once again searching for ways to make properties other than Batman viable on the big screen (we even offered up 5 tips on how to do it). With the possibility of a companywide shakedown in the wings, the prospect of devoting resources to properties such as The Flash, Wonder Woman, or any other DC title must be tenuous, indeed.

That said, an uncertain corporate environment obviously hasn’t kept the entertainment giant from making inroads with such plans. After all, next year will see the release of Man of Steeland Justice League film is intended to to go head-to-head with The Avengers 2 and Star Wars: Episode 7 in the summer of 2015. In the context of corporate political struggle, the decision to make Justice League the starting point of a shared DC film universe makes quite a bit of sense (read our explanation why). The superhero team-up film will begin production after the new Chief Executive is chosen next year, leaving plenty of room to figure out whether the new Warner Bros. environment is amenable to launching a franchise loosely modeled after Marvel’s. Man of Steel is an exception to this, of course, but that film is also heavily backed by a guaranteed name in Dark Knight Trilogy director, Christopher Nolan.

All three of the named candidates for Warner’s Chief Executive chair are accomplished men; no matter which of them ends up getting the spot, Time Warner, Inc. will probably be in good hands. However, one wonders if the toxic environment left by their ascent will be conducive to the growth and well-being of the company – not to mention its many promising projects.

Justice League will (hopefully) be released in summer of 2015.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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  1. Since the 80’s, s*** has always floated to the top at that company.

  2. WB is really becoming a joke

  3. This harks back to an earlier post on another topic.

    DC/WB Do not have the right element to make a decent Justice League Movies, nor the finances it would seem.

    So, who really wants Justice League with this pooch screw?

    • Finances?? They are sitting onto of middle earth eating they have no.finances is rediculous.

      • Normally I am not like this.

        But WTF did you just say?

  4. Just so long as the movies start flowing: fast, furious, and finely-done.

  5. This is sad. Struggles over power and money are slowing down everything else. Is it too much to ask everyone to get along, appoint whoever will best further the company, and move on with their projects? Or am I being too young and naive here?

    • I would more say overly optimistic and unrealistic but I do share your sense of sadness. That people who make literally more money in a year than most of us will make in a lifetime, own more houses than people in their family and insure more modes of transportation than they will ever realistically use does make this seem extremely petty and selfish.

      It’s unfortunate that people with so much still feel the need to struggle for MORE power and money, especially when they have the opportunity to do such great things in their position (even if that’s making such frivolous things as great movies)

      • I beg to differ. Both my Parents were surgeons. Dad developed a device that has become common place in 95% of Hospitals in the world. He was rather well known in Hospitals and Medical Universities and taught his craft all over the world.

        Mom, she is a neurosurgeon, and considered one of the best.

        Me and my sisters grew up without having to worry about anything, we were loved and taken cared of, but not greedy or arrogant.

        Parents donated a lot of money to charities and places to help those less than us, and it trickled down to the kids, and it trickled down to our kids.

        Did any of us have to work for a living, Yes, because it was our Parents belief that material wealth means nothing, if you are not rich of the heart and soul.

        But, people are attracted to money, fame and power. Sad, but that is why we have a bunch of movies out there that were not that good, but someone saw how much could be made.

        • @ Jeff W: Your family and parents sound like wonderful people who we should all aspire to be like. But I believe they are exceptions to trends with rich people, and people in general. It is basic human nature (or at least societal pressure) that we all want more, no matter how much we have, especially when it comes to material possessions.

          So, these Time Warner executives are just kinda stuck in the loop of a culture that always aspires to have MORE.

          @mongoose: Yup, completely agree. It’s so sad.

          • I should not have went on, but we are a family of Helpers.

            Do not know when or who started it, but it has been our way for long time.

            Maybe if I had the money, I would buy DC Comics lol.

          • I agree with Ezra and your parents sound like the type of people others should aspire to being like.

            And while I don’t have a clue what your parents make or what they are worth, these jarhead Execs. most likely make 10’s of millions yearly. We are talking obscene amounts of money rivaling what the top movie stars get paid and spending it all on things no one really needs (or should feel the need to have like, as I said 20 cars…..Sorry Leno 😉 )

    • Corporate butt kissing has killed the Justice League.

  6. I’ve been saying how screwed WB are & DC should seperate themselves.

    • yeah, DC should go somewhere more stable… like disney!

      • Oh boy, Disney would take over the world.

        But in all seriousness, maybe DC can join forces with Legendary, and they’ll both secede from WB. I’d be pretty happy with that.

    • Warner Bros Animation is the only reason I think DC should stay with WB, even then Cartoon Network is going to cancel “Young Justice”.

  7. This basically means unless they can make a movie that makes billions like the Avengers Warner will not gamble on a Justice League film in the near future.

  8. WB has been rotten with bean counters since the 80’s…… Money grubbing lawyers and accountants are interchangeable.

    So, will this power struggle dim the “glorious” future of WB?

    Answer: It can’t make things any worse.

    • Yes it can. It can spread to HBO, who is still putting out good work, or CNN who still feels somewhat moderate between MSNBC and Fox News. TBS is a consistent cable network performer. WB has put out more than TDK’s in the last 4 years and still has the largest catalog of any studio of recognizable content (Bollywood makes a lot, but not really good, content). And yes, it can diminish DC in the marketplace.

      • Back to my point. Who are these guys? Do any of these three men have any comics street cred, or even any movie making experience? Slim to none. I checked on IMDB. All three are either lawyers or MBA guys.

        Again. It makes no difference who wins this WB power struggle. The main focus will remain: Make as much money as possible in as short a time as possible. As for WB’s legacy for quality, creativity and memorable, important films……. That idea has fallen by the wayside long ago for Warner Brothers.

  9. Will it affect our chances of getting a Justice League movie?


    Will it affect our chances of getting a GOOD Justice League movie?

    there are so many ways to put this… yes, affirmative, aye, beyond a doubt, definitely, indeed, indubitably, most assuredly, of course, positively, precisely, surely, undoubtedly, unquestionably, bees, and my personal favorite: CSI Miami opening “YEEEEEAAAAAAAHH!!!”

    • LMAO!!! :)

    • :) There is strong need for a like button on screen rant.

  10. Can we just get this movie already!

  11. Oh brother..sighs…

  12. “Justice League” can do better than “The Avengers” if it takes itself seriously.

    So please…PLEASE…go back to the dark, mysterious, brooding yet brutal, traditional Batman. I feel like Batman should scare the s**t out of the audience, not just the person he is interrogating/fighting. Kevin Conroy still holds the best Bat-voice IMO, not just because he is a voice actor (which is so much harder than it looks) but because he understands what Batman is and puts that emotion into his delivery

    • Agreed about Kevin Conroy. He’s been involved with the character more than any live action actor has.

      • Same goes for Mark Hamill aswell as the voice of The Joker which he took seriously as any live action actor has. Hamill’s Joker as you could tell had more than unique laugh that made his great despite being a voice actor like Conroy.

        • @Wally.

          You mean the way Joker can go with a normal talk with laughter and switch to a deep “I am about to Murder” you tone.

          Yes, Hamill was great as the Joker.

        • Oh yeah, both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are my favorite Batman and Joker. Hamill’s Joker just somehow gives off that reason a lot of people are afraid of clowns; he can be very funny and entertaining, but at the same time very twisted and horrifying (“Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker”, anyone?)

  13. Warner bros. needs to forget JLA instead they need to stick with what they have and that is a since of logic. If they created a suicide squad movie they would not have to do a ton of spin off movies. On top of that the characters are ready to go. If you gave them a Christopher Nolan feeling you will attract all the batman people. I am talking about the New 52 suicide squad too not the old ones. They should have Harley Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, Amanda Waller, Black Spider and Shark King. These heroes/Villains are more realistic because you can relate to them when they are both good and bad. Give Harley the Heath Ledger feel to her. Give Deadshot the silent assassin feel. Give Black Spider the feeling that he is better than everyone else because he thinks he is a hero. Give El Diablo the vigilante look and have his face be make up and make him sad about his past as a criminal. As for the Shark King I am not sure what to do with but maybe they could switch him with Bane.

  14. to those bitching about how sh*tty warner bros is, i’m assuming you have hated all of the christopher nolan films (dark knight trilogy, inception), 300, watchmen (which was at least true to the novel), the hangover (#1 at least), all of the harry potter films over 10 years or whatever, i’m sure you’ll hate alfonso cuaron’s next film gravity, argo, cloud atlas, man of steel, etc. calling the only studio that would back something as crazy as inception or cloud atlas or gravity or the list goes on – even when they don’t work at least they’re going out on a limb with some of their stuff in between the kind of crap that EVERY studio puts out. just because you’re not getting your pet comic book project. you guys are the reason studios dismiss fanboy bitching as nonsense most of the time.

    • Sadly I must agree with you… Warner Bros. won’t listen to us because we all want want want and eventually we get it and hate it. However some of the movies you pointed out are good we still don’t get a JLA movie. We as fans are doing exactly what Warner Bros. is doing we are running around with are head chopped off because of the avengers. And in retaliation Warner Bros. has decided JLA must be made into a movie. But instead of giving people the EXACT same thing only with different heroes do the SUICIDE SQUAD!

  15. screw having a competition, WB should just take a page out of pop culture and outright hire Ari Gold … end of discussion … forget about it

    • +1

  16. I dont think DC will ever burden anything from Warner Bros I would let DC move on to the next level to see what’s going on ? Then move forward.

  17. Power Struggle? and yet DC Comic TV shows make it to AIR? i mean if they are having problems. how do the movies/tv shows they make gets made?

  18. It truly is appropriate the perfect time to generate a few programs money which is time to be very glad Sega. I have check this out upload and when I may just simply I must counsel you several fascinating items or maybe guidance. You may may generate future reports about it content. I’m going to find out more reasons the item!