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.
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.
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.