Warner Bros. is hoping their recently announced executive shakeup will improve the fortunes of the unofficially titled DC Extended Universe. The franchise fell into a state of disarray following Justice League's release last November, as the team-up film received mixed reviews and disappointed at the box office. It shockingly became the property's lowest-grossing offering, despite being the first time DC's titans united in live-action form. Changes were in order following this performance.
The first domino came when Walter Hamada was appointed to oversee all of WB's comic book movies, essentially replacing Jon Berg and Geoff Johns as DC Films president of production. And just a couple of days ago, Toby Emmerich was named the studio's new chairman, with Sue Kroll shifting to a producing role. Additionally, it's been stated WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara will be less involved in the day-to-day operations of the movies. If it all goes according to plan, these moves will allow the DCEU and Warner's other tentpoles to flourish.
A report by The Wrap further details the behind-the-scenes changes, saying the idea was to make things more efficient. For the past two years, WB operated with "greenlighting-by-committee" (which might explain why so many DC projects are in development), but now Emmerich is the one in charge. Under the new alignment, the only person he reports to is Tsujihara, giving Emmerich the ultimate green light.
Another objective of restructuring, according to an insider, is to better the way DC's films are marketed. The source specifically pointed to the omission of Superman from the Justice League campaign as a reason why the would-be blockbuster struggled in its opening weekend. It's true the trailers made good use of Batman and Wonder Woman, but the Man of Steel remains one of the company's most popular characters and would have been a strong selling point for Justice League. The decision to keep Superman out of a majority of promotion read as a thinly-veiled attempt to maintain the illusion he really died in Batman V Superman (when everyone knew that wasn't the case) and ultimately made his return in the film anticlimactic. In retrospect, WB may have been better-served putting Clark Kent front-and-center.
It's unfortunate the DCEU has gotten off to such a rocky start, but WB deserves credit for attempting to course-correct so they can salvage their flagship franchise and hopefully find great success in the years to come. Ideally, this year's Aquaman will usher in a new era for DC movies and the series will be able to flourish from here on out. If the projects on the docket fail to make an impact a la Justice League, then the studio will really be searching for answers.
Source: The Wrap
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 2 (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019