Last week WB head Kevin Tsujihara gave a talk to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference and touched on their upcoming slate. You can read a full transcript here (although whoever did it doesn’t seem to know Zack Snyder’s first name.) Anyhoo, while the J.K. Rowling wizarding news had everyone clicking their heels, it doesn’t mean that DC has been left waiting out in the car . Here’s the key passage:
Female centric kind of pictures, that they have been really successful and obviously the Tolkien kind of franchise with the hobbit is kind of a signature piece of new one. Then you have 12 to 14 pictures coming from Warner Bros. And I think the basis, foundation of those 12 to 14 pictures are going to be coming from DC Entertainment. We have Batman versus Superman coming out in ’15, but those are going to be in the coming months a lot of announcements regarding kind of the future movie, television, games and consumer product pieces that are going to be coming from DC. On top of that, today’s announcement that we made about J Rowling is incredibly important because it’s another piece of kind of a foundation of what we want to be able to build off of.
Jessica Reif – Bank of America Merrill Lynch
[DC] still represents an important reboot of the key DC Comics franchise, can you talk broadly about the DC strategy and how does this play into the licensing business?
We couldn’t be happier about the movie that Jake [Zack Snyder] and with Chris Nolan’s help can be created. It was a total reboot of the Man of Steel or Superman and it really gives credibility to that character and Henry did a great job. It’s a perfect springboard to then move into next 15, we think Jake is going to be directing Batman and Superman. Batman, in the movie we haven’t titled it yet and we are really excited about the fact that we were able to convince Ben to play Batman. It is a perfect for the role and it’s going to be a Batman that you’ve absolutely never seen before, he’s kind of tired and kind of weary, he’s been doing this for a while and Ben is the exact perfect for the vision that Jake [sic] has for that character and the fact that you saw such a passionate response and that is really kind of a testament to the love that people have for this character and it’s really exciting to see kind of where this is going and exact vision of how he’s going to put that movie together. We think it’s going to be huge.
[snip] I think that if you think about DC, it really does kind of tie to all part of our business, that’s the kind of thing. We focus on the movies and the movies are an important part of it but we have a whole strategy that we are going to lay out on the move side of the movies that are coming from DC but that you kind of forget the fact that we have re-animated shows that we have right now. Arrow was the number one show on the CW on primetime television. You think about the home entertainment side, the directed videos that we do with DC and the game, this year we have two huge games, Injustice was a fighting DC comic game and we have a Batman game coming up. And then on top of that is all the consumer product pieces, the TELUS is an important partner about one of many and so DC really does touch a lot of parts of our business and is an important part of the strategy in how we are going to grow going forward.
So yeah, a key component moving forward. He also touched on the importance of DC to their very successful video game segment:
We feel really good about what we have done. We are by far the biggest – probably the only studio that’s making money on the game side like this. It’s a business that we’ve built from scratch with some acquisition but we have really three key franchises to date. It’s the local franchise, it’s the Mortal Kombat franchise, and it’s the Arkham of Batman franchise, those three are very significant. We are having a very good year. We have two more big games coming out, LEGO Marvel coming out as well as the next installation of the Batman Arkham series coming out in October as well. [snip]
And as you said it’s being driven – the new franchises that we are going to be zoning are going to be DC franchises. We think there is big opportunities to build off of what we are doing throughout the rest of the company in games as well.
As we’ve kept harping on, Tsujikara is keenly aware of the structure of the DC side of the WB business, so hopefully, this means stuff actually happening and not being second guessed to death.
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.