Winds of change hitting DC next week?

201009170446 Winds of change hitting DC next week?While DC Entertainment head Diane Nelson pledged a “no fear” era at DC since announcing changes earlier this year, everyone has been plenty nervous ever since she took over. The reason? DC’s proposed move to the West Coast. Will it happen and when? That’s been the question on everyone’s mind.

Word on the street is that next week, the answer to “Will DC be moving to the West Coast?” will finally be revealed, and an article in The Hollywood Reporter seems to back that up. In a piece on CEO Barry Meyer’s presentation at an investor’s conference, just what role DC will play at Warner Brothers was hinted at: a BIG role.

Advice to Warner Bros. film execs: If you’re in a meeting with CEO Barry Meyer discussing DC Comics superheroes, you might want to think twice before saying things like, “But Batman wouldn’t say that.”

Meyer relayed the story of such a meeting while talking about how DC was going to play a much bigger role at the film studio going forward. He was speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.

There will be an organizational announcement next week, then in about a month Warner Bros. will unveil a spread sheet detailing how the various superheroes will be reintroduced to consumers, and on more than just feature film platforms.

Meyer said Warner Bros. has been looking after DC in a “custodial way,” but it’s now time to get “much more entrepreneurial.”


Hm. Kinda sounds like DC is moving to the West Cost, doesn’t it?

The roots of this burning desire to have the comic book offices right next to the studio offices goes back 20 years or more. It’s a move that was fought vigorously by former President & Publisher Paul Levitz, who displayed all the wiles and tactics of a Rommel in keeping DC in New York — a move that preserved the comics culture that had existed since the ’30s — including signing a long-term lease on the DC offices that make packing up and moving a costly venture.

With Levitz’s removal, you would think the road would have been paved to get DC moved out to Burbank. But instead it’s been a year of dithering, rumors, hiring freezes and, by all accounts, quite a bit of ongoing worrying and fretting. Moving between coasts is a big change, and not knowing whether you’re going to be faced with such a decision has to be stressful.

201009170450 Winds of change hitting DC next week?

Why such a delay? It’s almost as if the WB was a guy who kept asking out the most beautiful woman in his office, and when she finally says yes, he’s too surprised to know what to do. It seems that just untangling buy-outs and lease breaking has been very time-consuming, however. It wasn’t as simple as everyone thought.

Meanwhile, there’s a new rumor every day. This part is staying, this part is going. It’s going to Burbank, it’s going to La Jolla. The one thing we’ve never been able to figure out…WHY? What’s so awesome about having a comic book company down the hall? Everyone we’ve ever asked that question says it just comes down to control. And given Meyer’s comments about DC providing the new movie tentpoles that will carry Warners into the next decade…that makes sense.

And that first anecdote. “But Batman wouldn’t say that.” Wonder who on earth said that. After next week’s announcements, whatever they are, we’ll wager that Batman is going to say whatever Warner Bros. wants him to say.

Comments

  1. A smack in the middle sort of thing, but if they do move anyone who has to consider moving or not should really get on with understanding NY State labor laws. Chief among them, the rules regarding relocation and employer obligation for unemployment benefits (NY is actually pretty good here, as I believe any relocation over 50 miles is sufficient for the claim, but be sure to research that).

  2. Time to start a meme on what Batman might or might not say!

    “More flags! More fun! Six Flags!”
    “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”
    “After a hard night of crimefighting, I settle down with a case of O’Doul’s.”

  3. Meyer said Warner Bros. has been looking after DC in a “custodial way,” but it’s now time to get “much more entrepreneurial.”

    This is horrifying. I WISH DC had been looking after the characters in a custodial way. If they had been good custodians of these characters they’d be in a lot better shape. Disney are good custodians of characters. WB/DC are really lousy pimps.

  4. Let’s see who is more interested in this story, DC fandom, or Harry Potter fans… never thought about the box set… but god bless `em! Can’t digitize a box with gewgaws. (Take a look at what WB did with Lord of the Rings.)

    Here’s something to mull over:
    “Disney is the gold standard for consumer products,” he said. “There’s a gap we can begin closing.”

    Here’s what I think…
    The very lucrative Harry Potter movie franchise, which drives the merchandise sales which Warners owns the rights to, that’s ending in 2011. Now, WB could do a Lucas with the previous movies, improving the special effects, converting to 3D Imax, re-releasing the films on blu-ray and streams. However, it’s a finite product, and while this fandom regenerates every year as more children discover the books, it’s no longer a blockbuster franchise.

    So, what else does WB do to get more of kids’ allowances? You’ve got the animation division, containing Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes, and Cartoon Network. New properties can be developed here (Ben 10), but most of them will not reach blockbuster status.

    What’s left is DC. Kids love superheroes. Adults love superheroes. The characters have been around for over fifty years, which means that there is a generational familiarity. EVERYONE knows who Superman is. Most people can recognize Batman and Wonder Woman.

    The movies drive the merchandise, which–this might sound crass–includes the comics and books. DC sold a lot of Batman trades when Dark Knight set box office records. Imagine the same for Superman or Wonder Woman or Justice League.

  5. comicsatemybrain says:

    Sounds like a Watchmen Theme Park is coming. (Alan Moore would just love that!)

  6. And that first anecdote. “But Batman wouldn’t say that.” Wonder who on earth said that.

    Unfortunately, it was no one working on Widening Gyre.

  7. Someone shouldn’t tell Meyer what Batman says but they should tell him what he does.

    Because Batman post Diane Nelson needs to wear a diaper in his underoos.

  8. A move to La Jolla? Not for nuthin’ but it’s a lot closer to SD Comic Con, the staff wouldnt be smothered(too much) by the mother ship annnnnnddddddd….La Jolla has an incredible beach. I’d take La Jolla over L.A. ANY DAY. John Nee would love to move back home.

  9. never mind…John already moved home.

  10. Joe Lawler says:

    “Someone shouldn’t tell Meyer what Batman says but they should tell him what he does.

    Because Batman post Diane Nelson needs to wear a diaper in his underoos.”

    I maintain that if he had enough planning time, Batman could beat incontinence.

  11. Rich Johnson says:

    Wouldn’t this be a whole lot cheaper if they just used gotomeeting.com?

  12. Kevin Hynes says:

    When are the Batman wetting himself Kevin Smith jokes going to die? How long did it take the God Damn Batman jokes to die?

  13. Brett says:

    Never.

    It’s going to go down in history. Crimes against Batman are never easily forgotten.

    It took twenty years and Frank Miller for people to stop citing ‘Biff! Bam! Pow!’

  14. “I’m not wearing hockey pants.”

  15. Army of Dorkness says:

    That’s what you get when you work for a corporation. What they think is best for their bottom line is hardly ever what’s best for their employees.

    Good Luck to all of the staff at DC.

  16. “a move that preserved the comics culture that had existed since the ’30s —”

    Um..yeah. Cause the comics culture will totally collapse if DC isn’t in New York. Give me a break. Earth to New Yorkers, get over yourselves!!

    It would do all those employees living in the capital city of all pretentiousness and comic snobbery a great service to move them to california. Far less uptight out here, lots of pot shops, will help those creative juices flow. Those pretentious new yorkers will love it. And if they miss their pretentious homeland, they can always visit this blog.

  17. Army of Dorkness says:

    “It would do all those employees living in the capital city of all pretentiousness and comic snobbery a great service to move them to california. Far less uptight out here”

    HA! No. The whole point of moving them to California would be to tighten their hold on the daily operations of DC.

  18. R. Maheras says:

    The move has nothing to do with the fact that DC is owned by a corporation. Such moves and/or consolidations happen in any business — even family-owned ones. It also happens in non-profit organizations and in government (ever hear of BRAC? It has upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of government workers in the past two decades).

    Business is business, and if Warner thinks the move makes business sense, they’re going to do it.

  19. Somebody doesn’t know what “entrepreneurial” means, and I’m not sure who that is.

    In American business, when the head of something says that he wants an operation to be “more entrepreunrial,” that doesn’t mean that he’s going to control every aspect of it. On the contrary, it means that he’s giving the person in charge of that operation more freedom (and possibly rope to hang herself) and saying that major decisions will be made at that level, not at his.

    It’s a code word for “get to work, don’t bug me with the petty stuff, and start making some serious money.”

    So, in this context, it should be a major signal from Meyer that he has confidence in Nelson, and also a reasonably strong signal to Nelson’s people that she’s the one in charge. It’s also a message aimed primarily outside of WB, saying that they’re strong and organized and that they have a killer plan which will let them eat everyone’s lunches.

    Now, either Meyer or the comics blogerati are taking that message as precisely the opposite of the usual meaning. It could be that Meyer doesn’t use “entrepreneurial” like every other CEO in America, or….

  20. Army of Dorkness says:

    “The move has nothing to do with the fact that DC is owned by a corporation. Such moves and/or consolidations happen in any business — even family-owned ones. It also happens in non-profit organizations and in government”

    The government acts similarly to a giant corporation, so I get the comparison there. The family-owned one needs some examples.

    I don’t think you’re giving any weight to the act of actually having to look people in the eye and tell them you’re moving your family-owned business elsewhere so you can make more money. Corporations do that sort of thing in press releases and mass emails and don’t have to worry about the sad faces. Of course it happens in other situations, but corporations are more likely to do it and more apathetic about having done so.

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