This story in the WSJ reveals that DC Comics’ days as the shy, studious librarian of the Warners empire are doneski, as Warners bets on a new film strategy with DC at the center. The plan involves fewer films but larger tentpole opportunities for each of them. And all eyes are on DC:
“Films with our DC properties have the opportunity to support other divisions in the company in a way that our other movies don’t,” Mr. Robinov says, for example, with products such as a Superman game or toys. By 2011, Mr. Robinov plans for DC Comics to supply the material for up to two of the six to eight tent-pole films he hopes Warner Bros. will have in the pipeline by then.
These will not be chipper films, like the crash-and-burn of SPEED RACER:
Like the recent Batman sequel — which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far — Mr. Robinov wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as “The Dark Knight.” Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.’ DC properties. “We’re going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it,” he says. That goes for the company’s Superman franchise as well.
News of the film slate is forthcoming:
The studio is set to announce its plans for future DC movies in the next month. For now, though, it is focused on releasing four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. Movies featuring Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman are all in active development.
MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, Val links to a report from the Toronto DC panel which suggests that the new word at DC itself may be “stable characters you can build a franchise on”, at least per Dan Didio.
“What happens is that if a character doesn’t work, we go, ‘We got a brand new direction to put him in! We’re moving him into something new! We’re going to try something brand new and different! We’re going to throw everything out and start over again!’ We make that mistake, but what that does is, it alienates fans.
“Our biggest mistake is that we don’t continue and build on…what we should be doing is let it sit for a while and then come back with a good strong story with what’s going on. That’s what Geoff [Johns] does. That’s Geoff’s secret weapon. He doesn’t throw it all out and start all over. He builds on what’s existed and makes it better…We get too worried about the minutia…all we should be doing is telling great stories with out characters.
“What we’re doing coming out of ‘Final Crisis’ ” and I’ll say this here, and I’ll say this everywhere ” is that we’re locking our characters down. We’re going with a good interpretation, and we’re staying with it. That’s why you don’t see Aquaman right now, because we want it to be clear what it is, who he is and what he’s all about.”