Warner Brothers announced some big changes on the DC Comics front today—big enough, in fact, to rival last week's Disney/Marvel merger.
Confirming an early report on Deadline Hollywood, WB announced the creation of DC Entertainment, a new subdivision of WB aimed at better exploiting Superman, Batman and the rest of DC's stable of characters across various media platforms. The new company will be helmed by Diane Nelson, who previously served as president of Warner Premiere, the subdivision responsible for many of the animated, direct-to-DVD, DC Universe features. (Nelson also serves as caretaker for the wildly successful Harry Potter property at WB.)
The WB announcement also confirmed rumors that DC president and publisher Paul Levitz will step down from his role with the company. While this certainly indicates that WB is finally beginning to take notice of the DC brand—especially when it comes to the company's movie arm—details are slim regarding the potential effects on the publishing side of DC and any immediate changes we're likely to see on the movie front.
However, that doesn't mean we can't glean a few potential implications from the news.
According to Deadline Hollywood, WB is "calling back" many of the high-profile films in development involving DC characters. Much like Disney's desire to bring all of Marvel's properties under one roof and cut back on third-party deals to produce films based on the company's characters (i.e., Spider-Man and the X-Men), the report alledges that WB is putting a hold on many of the high-profile DC films that involved production partners outside the company.
"My understanding is that Joel Silver, who is buddies with [WB Pictures Group president Jeff] Robinov, was allowed to continue bringing low profile 'The Losers' to the big screen under his Dark Castle banner. But Silver's 10 years of developing 'Wonder Woman' is history now," reported Deadline Hollywood.
This does seem to be the case, too, as WB specifically name-checked "The Losers" in its official announcement as one of its upcoming properties under DC Entertainment.
The fact that DC Entertainment—and Nelson—will now be reporting directly to Robinov also says quite a bit about the company's new approach to the DC brand. Where the home of Superman and Batman existed somewhat independently in the greater WB picture prior to today's shuffle, DC Entertainment's new role appears to be in service of the theatrical division of WB first and foremost.
Exactly where publishing comics will fit into this new picture remains one of the biggest questions surrounding the news. Will comics receive more or less attention under DC Entertainment—or is the publishing division too small for anyone to bother changing?
On the movie front, however, the move certainly looks good for WB's much-discussed problems getting films involving DC characters off the ground. Fans hoping to see the Superman franchise finally return to theaters will likely get their wish under the new, re-structured DC Entertainment banner, and many of DC's other notable properties will probably receive more attention from the studio than ever before.
The story is, as they say, developing—so keep it locked to Splash Page for more news and analysis.
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