Warner Bros. has big plans for the future of its DC Cinematic Universe - even more of which are expected to be unveiled during the upcoming 2015 International Comic-Con in San Diego. As it stands, though, the studio's DC slate already includes ten films with official release dates between now and 2020, including the 2016 releases Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (from director Zack Snyder) and Suicide Squad (from director David Ayer).
WB clearly has a lot on its plate, with so many superhero films to develop on top of additional, non-comic book projects (see: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). The studio has also been planning to produce several other films based on Vertigo comic books - an imprint of DC Comics - such as The Sandman (which Joseph Gordon-Levitt is helping to develop).
Deadline, however, is now reporting that all of Vertigo properties currently being developed for the big screen are instead going to be handled by New Line Cinema - a subsidiary production company of WB. The reasoning for this move is that WB already has more than enough to take care of with its main set of superheroes (which are considered to be more important at the time), along with the other tentpoles on its docket.
It appears the first Vertigo movie to be produced under New Line will be Sandman - seeing as the Neil Gaiman adaptation is further along than most other Vertigo adaptations. Gordon-Levitt - who made his directorial debut with Don Jon - will both direct and possibly star in the project. Most recently, Gordon-Levitt described the film as "completely faithful" adaptation in terms of spirit - meaning, The Sandman should be as mature in tone and content as its source material. Vertigo comic brands, in general, tend to fall more on the adult side of the fence (tonally-speaking), so that might be another reason WB has decided to further separate them from the other DC adaptations in the pipeline.
In related news, THR is reporting that Justice League Dark looks to remain under the WB umbrella. The project is based on the DC Comics series of the same name, which features a varied cast of characters, ranging from Deadman and Zatanna to Constantine and Swamp Thing - the latter of which have had comics published by the Vertigo imprint. Similar to DC Comics' move to bring those characters into the main universe, WB may yet attempt to incorporate Justice League Dark into the main DC movie universe.
However, Guillermo del Toro - who penned the Justice League Dark script and has been hoping to direct it - is no longer working on the project, according to THR. With so many other projects taking up his time and attention (Crimson Peak, Pacific Rim 2, etc.), del Toro's move from the project does make sense, despite how long he has been working on Justice League Dark.
It no doubt would've been fun to see del Toro's take on Justice League Dark, with the director having already proven his adeptness at comic book monsters and supernatural horror alike - key elements of Justice League Dark. With del Toro gone, the next big step now is going to be finding a suitable replacement - one who will (fingers crossed) bring their own unique vision to the project (and get it out of development limbo).
Neither The Sandman nor Justice League Dark have official release dates at the moment. We'll let you know when that changes.