After David Zaslav shelved ‘Batgirl’ and declared a fresh ten-year plan is in the works, the continuing future of the comic book power house is less clear than it’s been in years.
Weve done a reset. Thats how Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav described DC on Aug. 4, days after he made the call to shelve the $90 million HBO Max film Batgirl. The mogul said thered now be considered a team that could develop a 10-year arrange for DC, although whos on that team is unclear.
And Zaslav took digs at former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilars strategy of developing straight-to-streaming films. Weare likely to concentrate on quality. We have been not likely to release any film before its ready, said the executive. DC is something we are able to make smarter.
The remarks weren’t well received inside DC, in accordance with multiple insiders who used exactly the same word to spell it out members of the film division: pissed. And DC Films president Walter Hamada nearly exited after learning of the shelving of Batgirl before being convinced to remain on at the very least before Oct. 21 release of Dwayne Johnsons Black Adam. (That film had a June test screening, including a fresh post-credits scene introducing a fresh element to Johnsons invest the DC Universe.)
Before Warners sale to Discovery, Hamada was gearing around release 3 or 4 films per year. The executive was induced in 2018 tochart a fresh course for DC following a road map spearheaded by Zack Snyder imploded in the wake of the disastrous release ofJustice Leaguein 2017.
Hamadas plans were thought to have included an emergency on Infinite Earths event, a undertake the seminal DC Comics story that has been adapted for TV on The CW. Rumors circulated about introducing the trick Six, a villain team that in the comics have already been Suicide Squad antagonists. More concretely, Warners had films predicated on Supergirl, Green Lantern Corps and Static Shock expected within the next few years, and also a J.J. Abrams-produced Black Superman film from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Development has slowed, with none of these features attaching directors.
Some key collaborators have obtained assurances their projects are safe. The Suicide Squad filmmaker James Gunn has multiple projects in development at DC, including season two of Peacemaker, that is continue. Insiders say Blue Beetle, starring Xolo Mariduea as DCs first Latino superhero to topline a movie, can be on track because of its August 2023 release date. After Batgirls cancellation, observers had feared for the project, considering that it at once was slated for HBO Max before being upgraded to theatrical. The studio can be moving full steam ahead with a sequel to Joker, with Lady Gaga confirming her casting the morning of the WBD earnings call.
Zaslav turned heads when, among DCs upcoming films, he highlighted on an earnings call not merely Black Adam and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom but additionally The Flash, starring the embattled actor Ezra Miller. Weve seen them. We think they’re terrific, and we think we are able to make them better still, Zaslav said of these films. The optics weren’t good, coming days after axing Batgirl, which may have been the initial DC Extended Universe film to star a Latina, Leslie Grace.
Work has kept through to The Flash, which includes been testing well. Miller participated in regularly scheduled additional photography on the summer, apparently without incident, before being charged with burglary their third arrest this season on Aug. 7 in Vermont. Still, neither DC nor Zaslav has indicated the film will move from its June 2023 release date, though insiders say the studio is evaluating all options.
Kim Masters and Borys Kit contributed reporting.
This story appeared in the Aug. 10 problem of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.Just click here a subscription.