August 8, 2022

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Warner Bros Discovery’s DC universe, streaming strategy get a reset

2 min read

Leslie Grace attends Warner Bros. Premiere of “The Suicide Squad” at The Landmark Westwood on August 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Axelle/bauer-griffin | Filmmagic | Getty Images

Warner Bros. Discovery is eyeing a “reset” of its DC cinematic universe and setting up a team with a 10-year plan for the franchise, taking a page from Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, CEO David Zaslav said Thursday.

The revelation comes two days after the company announced it would shelve its straight-to-streaming DC film “Batgirl,” surprising fans and offering a glimpse into the streaming strategy and new no-nonsense era under recently installed Zaslav.

“We think that we could build a long-term, much stronger, sustainable growth business out of DC,” Zaslav said during an earnings call Thursday when asked about the decision to axe “Batgirl.” “And as part of that, we’re going to focus on quality.”

While Zaslav stopped short of commenting on the quality of “Batgirl” explicitly, his statements suggest the film didn’t fit the company’s new vision for Warner Bros. or the DC franchise. Part of that vision is reestablishing a commitment to theatrical-only releases for Warner Bros. films.

“We’ve seen, luckily, by having access now to all the data, how direct-to-streaming movies perform,” Zaslav said. “And our conclusion is that expensive direct-to-streaming movies … is no comparison to what happens when you launch a film in the motion picture, in the theaters.”

Zaslav took the helm at the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery in April and has prioritized cost-cutting measures and sought to refocus the company’s content strategy, taking a vastly different direction than former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who prioritized streaming and digital media.

“This idea of expensive films going direct to streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it,” Zaslav said. “We can’t find an economic value for it. And so we’re making a strategic shift.”

While “Batgirl” had a more modest budget than its…

2022-08-05 20:31:13

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