jeff robinov
UPDATE UPDATE: Everything we’re hearing confirms that if DC President and CEO Paul Levitz isn’t leaving, he is, at least, moving into a new position. An announcement of some kind is expected later today, and it is not going to be about a variant cover. VP Dan DiDio left the West Coast early to be back in NYC for whatever is happening.

UPDATE: And now Rich Johnston is reporting that Paul Levitz is going to step down any day now. We’re hearing conflicting reports on this, as some are predicting some kind of announcement today, but some people at DC haven’t heard anything of the sort. So….developing.

In what Nikki Finke describes as both “exclusive’ and “breaking news”, more executive changes at DC are taking place, with the comics division going under control of WB Pictures head Jeff Robinov, and Diane Nelson being put in charge of running DC Comics. According to the piece, Paul Levitz isn’t going anywhere, but The Robinov/Nelson team is doing more to get DC movies made, including ending a lot of long-standing production deals, such as Joel Silver developing Wonder Woman.

I’m told that Robinov went to management as soon as he took over as president of Warner Bros Pictures Group in January 2007 with a proposal to take over DC Comics. It’s taken this long to get it done. Paul Levitz, DC Comics president and publisher, will stay with the company. But in charge and reporting directly to Robinov will be Nelson, the brilliant marketer who beginning in 2000 oversaw the management of the Harry Potter franchise across all platforms and represented the studio’s interests with author JK Rowling. The plan is to have her do the same with DC Comics biz.


The moves are mostly aimed at shoring up Warner’s movie slate (although long in the works, increased pressure from the Disney-Marvel deal will make it even more of a priority.) Where will comics fit? Probably (our own guess) as a smaller and smaller part of the empire.

Addendum: And what might happen to that Wonder Woman movie? Some of you will recall that Robinov is notorious for his “no movies with female leads” edict, which led to the Kate Beckinsale led WHITEOUT being kept on ice for two years.

1 COMMENT

  1. Wow. This looks like a good thing, with WBE taking a more proactive and aggressive strategy in getting titles up on the big screen.

    Looking at the corporate family tree of Time/Warner, there are a lot of “small parts”. So long as DC Comics makes money, avoids any huge controversy, and keeps supplying interesting concepts to WBE, TW probably won’t give DC much attention or scrutiny.

    Me, I’m still hoping for a “Proposition Player” movie…

  2. Well, perhaps in the wake of the Disney-Marvel acquisition, the $4 billion price tag may have been an epiphany for some of the WB head honchos…which may lead to a more hands-on policy toward DC than ever before. Not to say it’ll happen…but I could definitely see things moving in that direction, especially in the wake of a shake-up like this. Robinov seems like an aggressive, take-charge chap.

  3. Since DC has been floundering for so long, it makes sense to think that a new transmedia-oriented regime at Time-Warner will put the least emphasis on the comics division. However, there are reasons to question how much potential DC’s library of characters has for movies. Beyond the big two, who else could be marketed to the general public? The cartoonishness of Catwoman might have been as much a reason for the failure of the film as the ineptitude of the people involved. If the qualities of the character make no sense when looked at by a non-fan, coming up with a storyline will be difficult.

    A THOR movie could easily bomb, however much work people put into it, because a casual moviegoer will look at the costume, the pseudo-Shakespearean dialogue, whatever version of Asgard the producers use, and think, “Christ, that’s junk! I’m not paying to see that!”

    SRS

  4. “Beyond the big two, who else could be marketed to the general public? “

    Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Justice League, a CGI Metal Men, the Legion of Superheroes, Warlord, the Spectre, Sandman, Plastic Man, the Blackhawks, Adam Strange, etc, etc.

    Plenty of great characters to mine.

  5. “Oh the times they are a changing”

    This, and Disney buying Marvel, have nothing to do with comics as we know and love them. It’s about movies and properties. Comics made a deal with the Hollywood devil, and as devil’s do (due) they keep changing the contracts on us. Now there is no more Marvel Comics (Sure the names there, but we’ll see what happens as soon as Disney doesn’t like something that happens in a title. Let’s face it. It’s Disney Comics now.) and corporate WB is landing on the shores of DC to look for El Dorado. However, just because I can’t imagine a better future for these two companies, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’m just sad that it’s out of the hands of true comic book people now.

  6. “So, where does all this leave Dan Didio? Is this the reason why Didio’s name hasn’t been on the DC masthead?”

    Where he has also been – head editor and direction setter (although they call the position “senior vice-president DC Universe”) for the DC universe bit of DC comics, in the wider organisation, he’s not a particular big wheel (or at least does not appear to be).

  7. Plenty of great characters to mine.

    A DC Comics fan might think that, but the Flash? Green Lantern? Plastic Man? Too many of the heroes barely qualify for the “two-dimensional” label. Both HULK movies flopped, despite their different approaches, because the essential Hulk is too shallow a character to do a close-ended story about. Marvel’s Satana would be easier to do a movie about than the Spectre.

    SRS

  8. Synsidar Says:

    “09/9/09 at 1:00 pm
    ‘Plenty of great characters to mine.’

    A DC Comics fan might think that, but the Flash? Green Lantern? Plastic Man? Too many of the heroes barely qualify for the “two-dimensional” label.”

    As concepts, sure, but a film shouldn’t just rehash the comics. They’re supposed to take the cool concept and make it palatable to a wider film audience. That’s why movie studios buy the rights to make these films. Sometimes it works and you get something new and better and sometimes it doesn’t and they get crucified for altering the source material. Either way, a film version is not beholden to a “two-dimensional” concept. Just look at Transformers films for proof of a pretty lame concept that has made lots of money for their film company.

    “Both HULK movies flopped, despite their different approaches, because the essential Hulk is too shallow a character to do a close-ended story about.”

    I disagree. They flopped for various reasons and blaming the character itself is an over-simplification. Plus, no film story is actually close-ended. It may have an end, but it is almost never THE END anymore. The Incredible Hulk was a good film with no shortage of problems but what film doesn’t.

    It’s not even about the quality of the film or the richness of the original concept; it’s about whether it’ll look cool on the screen and whether the marketing team can convince the average person it’s worth the ridiculous cost of a ticket. Movie Studios don’t buy comics properties because they believe in quality of the story or concept; they buy them because they think there’s money to be made from a film version of that story or concept.