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Warner Discovery unveils a “10-year plan” that shakes the DCEU to its core

And Batgirl pulls the Joker card



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The best way to start this post is to put all biases on the table. I personally have been critical of the Snyderverse and the moment-rich but narrative-poor content it has garnered. And the oft-conclusion that I have come to in any masturbatory thought process was that Warner should do an entire revamp of the DCEU. No soft reboots. Hard everything. Like an evil villain’s plans that involve total Oppenheimer-like extinction level events to save what little is left after the fallout. And while this dark but necessary fantasy propelled me after every Snyder outing, the last being the HBO Max’s Snyder cut of Justice League – along with the sordid grafted fruit from the poisonous tree – the reality of such a plan becomes way messier than even we could imagine.

However, our Thanatos drinks deep from the wells of distruction as Warner Discovery’s CEO chooses violence and has made some sweeping announcements that have rocked the future and current release schedule of DCEU films to the core. And seeing the mess he has inherited, we do not blame David Zaslav.

It has been announced that DC Films is set to follow a Ten-Year plan much in the way Marvel and Disney plus have done. This would be commended 10 years ago. Or even 5 years ago. But we have already seen the fray in the great cinematic Marvel tapestry that shows the run-on sentence of movies is not necessarily all the greatness it is cracked out to be.

Speaking on the shakeup at the Warner Bros. Discovery’s quarterly financials , CEO David Zaslav said:

We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business where we’re going to focus, where there will be a team with a ten-year plan focusing just on DC. It’s very similar to the structure that Alan Horn and Bob Iger put together very effectively with Kevin Feige at Disney.

Zaslav further went on to mention that the focus was now on “quality over quantity” and the need to “build a long-term, much stronger sustainable growth business out of DC”:

We’re not going to release any film before it’s ready. We’re not going to release a film to make a quarter, we’re not going to release a film — the focus is going to be ‘how do we make each of these films, in general, as good as possible?’

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But how has this news affected the current and up-and-coming DC films. Black Adam, Shazam!and The Flash seemed to have the stamp of approval by the new management, though they have cited that they see ways to better improve the edits.

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It is, however, films like Batgirl that took the brunt of criticisms and the chopping axe, as the 90 million dollar budget film got the unprecedented shelving. That is both in cinemas and HBO Max.

And, surprise, when you make a good theatrical release, chances are this will elevate the bottom line especially when the films make it to the digital streaming platforms. Zaslav scope seems also to focus on the life of these planned movies after they leave cinemas, but taking time to not the focus is creating the greatest theatrical film possible and respecting the window of screening before it goes to direct-to-consumer:

We’ve looked hard at the at the direct-to-streaming business… this idea of expensive films going directly to streaming, we cannot find… an economic value for it. And so we’re making a strategic shift… talking about our commitment to the theatrical exhibition in the theatrical window. A number of movies will be launched with shorter windows. Some might have different kinds of marketing campaigns where we take advantage of having the biggest platform and a platform that all motion picture companies look for. But we’ll always be agile. Our focus will be on theatrical, and when we bring the theatrical films to HBO Max, we find they have substantially more value. And we have an ecosystem where we can have the premiere motion picture business. That’s why most people move to Hollywood. That’s why most people got in this business to be on the big screen and the lights went out, that is the magic. And the economic model is much stronger. And the other thing is that we’re going to focus very hard on quality. As I said — we’re not going to launch a movie until it’s ready, we’re not going to go to movie to make a quarter, and we’re not going to put the movie out unless we believe in it. And that’s it, particularly with DC, where we think we want to pivot, and we want to elevate and we want to focus.

Cinema may very well be back if Warner pulls this off in the way Zaslav envisions. A ‘reset’ was always going to be messy. And some may say it is pretty late. But of course the Marvel side of the aisle (namely Shang Tsung‘s actor Simu Liu [nevermind the jobs and opportunities lost]) took to twitter to poke fun at the Batgirl movie’s demise, despite the Multiverse Saga doing less to present innovation to the comic movie. At least it seems DC is taking the brave risks to do the DCEU justice.

Zaslav though will have to be very careful that the ensuing chaos is a result from a controlled implosion with the long-game in mind. As opposed to being swayed and overly-reactive to whichever antithetical critique or colour-of-the-day algorithm that pops up on social media or on an entertainment blog or two.

More as things develop.

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