Oh My! Greg Silverman has stepped down from running WB’s film slate to spend more time with his venture fund, and New Line’s Toby Emmerich will take over running the studio.
We’ve been hinting for a while that WB’s series of costly flops – Pan (above), The Man from U.N.C.L.E., In the Heart of the Sea, Jupiter Ascending – was not trending in a positive way, and it seems WB President Kevin Tsujihara finally agreed. And of course, the dire critical reception for Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad did not help. Yes it is true, he was in charge when Mad Max Fry Road came out, but that movie had been in development for 157 years, so we’ll give him half a point.
AT&T’s pending acquisition of WB was also a factor here, no doubt.
Silverman told Deadline that things are looking good in the future though:
“Next year, Batman Lego looks like a monster, and King Kong looks like a global hit and we have Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk, and King Arthur, and Wonder Woman, which is such a joy for the studio and fans. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a big film, and there are others like CHiPS, which feels like a real franchise for the studio. And Toby Emmerich’s films are also really humming.
In the same interview Silverman dropped the news that the Ben Affleck directed and written Batman movie will come out in 2018. Affleck is finishing up the script (after spending a lot of time on it — very good news!) and expects it to begin lensing in the spring.
The LA Times has more on the superhero element:
Additionally, the studio has endured heavy criticism for its creative stewardship of its key DC Comics franchise, facing dismal reviews for this year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.” Both were considered financially successful, grossing $1.6 billion combined. However, the studio likely would have made more money from the superhero epics if the quality had been higher, said a person close to the company not authorized to comment.
As you may recall, the DC movie slate was put in its own division under Geoff Johns and Jon Berg back in the spring. Although they reported to Silverman, this key franchise had already been given new leadership. The Wrap has some more details on how this all ties in to the DC movies.
While Lego and Fantastic Beasts are indeed strong franchises, the sheer ineptitude of WB’s recent film slate is a real head scratcher. So many needless remakes. (The world did not need another Tarzan movie at this point in time.) Next year brings us Skull Island, CHIPS (yes) and King Arthur, three more movies which, I’ll boldly predict based on my Hall H gut level feelings, are not going to set the world on fire. And of course, looming over everything, Batman V Superman, one of the most puzzling films ever made. It’s said that WB execs were stunned by the poor reaction to the film – they thought it was a crowd pleaser. That more than anything was the catalyst for yesterday’s event.
Emmerich is known as a solid exec who makes tidy mid-budget movies that earn out. I don’t have any intel on whether he understands superheroes or not, but hopefully he knows that Berg and Johns do.
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.