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DC’s Cinematic Universe has growing pains: “Kevin Feiges don’t grow on trees.”

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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:

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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. As much as I have come to dislike his vision of DC Comics, I really think WB’s movie efforts would have been better served had Geoff Johns been in a Feige-like role from the get-go.

  2. The article is a little misleading. It tries to suggest the DC/WB has no coherent direction when compared to Marvel, but it doesn’t acknowledge how similar DC/WB’s approach is to Marvel’s. The numerous writers hired for “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman” isn’t really that unique. It actually mimics Marvel’s Writers Program in a lot of ways (which is how “Guardians of the Galaxy” came to be).

    http://deadline.com/2009/03/what-a-marvel-ous-idea-for-screenwriters-8924/

    It also doesn’t take into account the missteps that Marvel made along the way in putting together what the article suggests is a more well-oiled machine (two casting changes (Terrence Howard replaced by Don Cheadle; Edward Norton replaced by Mark Ruffalo); delayed releases (“Thor” and “Captain America” were each pushed back by a year from their original release dates); and director changes mid-stream (“Thor 2” and “Ant-Man”); not to mention major changes in “The Avengers” (Zak Penn was writing it for years before being replaced by Joss Whedon who apparently went in a completely different direction than all the years of prep work that Penn did)).

    The only real difference in the two studios behind the scenes is the lack of a public-facing overseer at DC/WB comparable to Kevin Feige. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that no one is in charge at DC/WB. There could very well be one or more people filling that role but just more shielded from the public.

  3. Steely Dan: You raise some interesting points, but while various Marvel-aligned studios have created franchises for Thor, Cap, Iron Man, Guardians, Avengers, all kinds of X-men and Wolverine, DC has rebooted Superman twice, put out a Batman trilogy and launched Green Lantern. And in the time between Man of Steel and BvS:DoJ—still A WHOLE YEAR AWAY!—Marvel will have released FIVE FILMS. So WB has a lot of catching up to do, especially considering the failure of Green Lantern.

    Meanwhile, as everyone is fond of pointing out, DC has had tremendous success on TV while Marvel was still kind of puttering around until Daredevil. I haven’t followed the cartoon wars as closely, but that seems to be pretty even.

  4. I agree that DC/Warner’s response to Marvel’s cinematic universe film success has been nothing short of embarrassing. Here we are at Avengers 2, set to have one of the biggest openings of all time, and they still have only one of their cinematic universe films out. Both Batman v. Superman and Wonder Woman should be coming out this summer, not next year. Justice League is the movie that should be coming out next year.

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