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.


  1. “Mad Max Fry Road”

    I now have nightmares of Ronald McDonald being chased by a gang of post-apocalyptic Fry Guys. Thanks Heidi.

    “It’s said that WB execs were stunned by the poor reaction to the film – they thought it was a crowd pleaser.”

    This pretty much explains their entire dud of a film line. If they thought that Batman v. Superman was going to be a “crowd pleaser” rather than a film that would be very polarizing among moviegoers it explains a lot about their choices over the past few years. The only one that doesn’t really fit in is the Lego Movie, but I suspect that one was a fluke where they accidentally put some funny people at the helm and then forgot about it.

  2. “The world did not need another Tarzan movie at this point in time.”

    Perhaps; on the other hand, The Legend of Tarzan is arguably the best Tarzan movie in ages (if not ever) and it could have been better promoted.

  3. If you look at the difference between the way the DC and Marvel movies are organized, there is a vast difference right there, Marvel has a slate of movies planned years in advance. Warner reacts to what the marketplace seems to be right now. No Harley Quinn movie was planned until the character got a positive reception in Suicide Squad. If Marvel acted that way they would have announced a Black Widow movie 2 years ago but that isn’t in their slate yet. Warner also ignores the fact that the Zach Snider directed films get a lot of criticism but when there is a shakeup he’s still there making films while underlings at the studio get fired and the head of production is changed, but looking at the creative people making the films isn’t done. Fox behaves this way with the Spider-Man films (which Marvel doesn’t control). When Amazing Spider-Man 2 under performed they panicked and changed everything when the real problem with that Spider-Man film was the script (silly villain, killing a popular character way too early in the run as she was in the comics for years before she was killed off) with a downbeat third act so that no one would want to see it a second time, which thereby killed the needed repeat business.

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