In March, Discovery investors voted in approval of the company’s $43 billion acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T to create Warner Bros. Discovery during a special meeting of stockholders, marking one of the final formal steps before the transaction can close. In April, Discovery completed its acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T. The close of the transaction births new company Warner Bros. Discovery, which will begin trading on the Nasdaq Monday under the new ticker symbol “WBD.”
This is kind of a huge deal because WarnerMedia owns HBO, HBO Max, CNN, Warner Bros., DC Films, New Line Cinema, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Turner Sports and Rooster Teeth, among other brands, and is part owner of the CW Network (along with Paramount Studios).
According to Variety, David Zaslav, the CEO of the combined companies, and top leadership have been exploring the idea of turning DC into something similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this time they want to get it right. Naturally, the first step to rebuilding is addressing what went wrong the first time. While DC has achieved a great amount of success from films such as Aquaman and The Batman, it lacks a coherent creative and brand strategy.
The responsibility of building the original DCEU was placed on Zack Snyder. Despite Aquaman‘s success, many of Snyder’s films performed poorly. It has been made very clear that projects spearheaded by other directors, such as Matt Reeves’ The Batman and James Gunn’s Peacemaker, do infinitely better.
Zaslav is looking for “candidates with experience in creating and nurturing blockbuster intellectual property with a goal of potentially finding someone to serve as a creative and strategic czar similar to what Marvel has in Kevin Feige.” Variety also states that one candidate was Emma Watts, who previously served as president of production at 20th Century Studios (now a subsidiary of Disney), and motion picture president at Paramount Studios. One source claims that Zaslav “was less interested in finding a creative guru” and more interested in finding “someone who had the type of business background needed to keep all the different factions at DC working more harmoniously.”
While the search for DC’s Feige-equivalent continues, we still have quite a few DC projects in the pipeline to look forward to. Black Adam (October 21), Shazam! Fury of the Gods (December 16), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (March 17, 2023), The Flash (June 23, 2023), and Blue Beetle (releasing August 18, 2023). Peacemaker has also been renewed for a second season, a Batgirl film is set to release on HBO Max (although no release date has been announced), and we can expect two The Batman spin-offs as well.
Photos via Warner Bros. and Game Rant