Veteran industry reporter Kim Masters has a MUST READ piece in THR today about the state of superhero movies at WB. It seems that WB/DC’s struggle to get parity in the superhero movie arena with the massive runaway TGV success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going all that great with a lot of cooks making different dinner plans. No fewer than FIVE scripts have been commissioned for Wonder Woman and three for Aquaman in what sounds like a directionless quest for something that works.
An insider says that have a “filmmaker-driven” agenda for making the 10 superhero movies planned for the rest of this decade. But that approach doesn’t necessarily lead to the coherent universe that MCU fans seem to like:
A Warners insider acknowledges that the studio’s approach on Wonder Woman, set to star Gal Gadot (who will be introduced in Batman v. Superman), has been “unorthodox,” but he says Warners is developing its own “filmmaker-driven” strategy in contrast with Marvel, which generally is ruled by producer Kevin Feige and which has hired such untested directors as Joss Whedon (The Avengers), Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and two planned Avengers movies) and James Gunn (Guardians). Further, he says Warners has great confidence in its intellectual property, as do even those outsiders who have questioned the studio’s actions
But exactly who is in charge of the DC universe remains blurry. Snyder, now finishing Batman v. Superman, is a key player, along with his wife, Debbie. Also in the mix are producer Charles Rovenand a team of Warners executives, including president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman and executive vp Jon Berg as well as DC Entertainment presidentDiane Nelson and DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns. In addition, various filmmakers will oversee individual movies, with Fury director David Ayer said to be given broad creative control over next summer’s hero team-up film Suicide Squad.
The pressure is definitely on at WB to compete with Marvel, but making all the talk a little more painful is that fact that it just can’t be done. As Masters tweeted later:
Feiges don't grow on trees.
— Kim Masters (@kimmasters) April 29, 2015
Also, WB has had a long tradition of disliking its own superhero movies; former studio head Jeff Robinov wasn’t a fan, and it’s a long standing cultural bias that current head Kevin Tsujihara has had to overcome.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.