JackFetch

DC movies to be set in the same universe

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A big shake-up could be in the works at Warner Bros. for its DC Comics film properties.

In the course of the past couple of weeks, Warner Bros. Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov and Warner Bros. Pictures president Kevin McCormick have been meeting with DC Comics executives as well some of DC's top talents, like Jim Lee, to discuss a new direction for film adaptations.

Up until now, the comic properties had been undergoing a hodge-podge development process. With the recent success of Marvel Studios' "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" and that company's plan to develop its many characters linked strategically together, Warners has been forced to take a close second look at its sister company.

With "The Dark Knight" near its release date, a new agenda is being set, one that not only sees the DC characters emerge with a higher priority but also one that would see them developed with an overarching goal in mind.

Although plans are in motion, any firm deals or announcements are weeks away.

Warners declined comment on the discussions, only stating: "While we are not going to go into the specifics of the meetings, we're constantly looking at how best to exploit the DC Comics characters and properties. DC is an incredibly valuable asset to Warner Bros. and plays an important role across the entire studio by providing development and franchise opportunities for all media, including films, television, home entertainment, animation, consumer products, video games and digital platforms."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/conten...a1569d16f760546

With the buzz Marvel movies are making right now, they would be stupid not to do this. They need to make Batman appear in the next Superman movie to set it all up, or announce movies based on characters other than the big 2. Superman and Batman are great, but there is no reason a Green Arrow or Green Lantern movie can't be made.

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Aren't they already making a Green Arrow film? Anyway, I like the idea but I think it would be better not to intermingle the current Batman and Superman franchises. They can build up a universe around them, the JLA didn't start with those guys anyway, I just don't need the inevitable camp edge diluting the modern Batman.

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Aren't they already making a Green Arrow film? Anyway, I like the idea but I think it would be better not to intermingle the current Batman and Superman franchises. They can build up a universe around them, the JLA didn't start with those guys anyway, I just don't need the inevitable camp edge diluting the modern Batman.

The only film that's even close to being made right now is Wonder Woman, and they can't decide on a script so it won't be out next year like planned. If it's not Superman or Batman, they don't seem to want to make it because it's not a guaranteed hit. I hope the success of Marvel films makes them change the way they handle these movies in the future.

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It does look like WB has finally gotten smart enough to make "origin" films before a team up movie like JLA. I can't wait for JLA, but I'm very happy that this will be done to help develop the characters better. I believe both Wonder Woman and The Flash are the closest in being made. Green Lantern, Green Arrow and a reboot of Superman has yet to start being in production.

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Really, I’d rather they stayed in their separate universes. I think it’s a cool idea in theory, but I want to see how it works for Marvel before DC even considers it. Of course, if it pushes the Green Arrow/Wonder Woman/Green Lantern movies forward (and is handled decently), I might feel a little different about it…

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Yeah, I'm more interested in a good movie than a universe of movies. In fact, I kind of wish I never stayed past the credits for Iron Man and kind of glad I have decided to pretend the Incredible Hulk doesn't exist.

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Hmmm, I'll need to alter up my next CR column a bit now.

1) I agree that WB/DC should concentrate on making their properties as good as possible on their own merits, although I don't mind the concept of a universe - if they ever do do a JLA film, Bale & Nolan will have completed their trilogy and a different Batman could move into the JLA spot and then continue the heightened reality Nolan-verse under whoever succeeds him.

2) This will lead to a resurgence in the production of DC films, so this isn't bad at all.

3) Theoretically, DC can learn from any troubles Marvel have with their current project and near them in mind for their properties. I say "theoretically" though because WB producers are idiots.

Yeah, I'm more interested in a good movie than a universe of movies. In fact, I kind of wish I never stayed past the credits for Iron Man and kind of glad I have decided to pretend the Incredible Hulk doesn't exist.

I'm quite keen to hear this last sentence expanded; I've covered the Hulk films in ep 235 and whilst I'm not enamoured of the requel, I did rate it above the original film (if only by half a point).

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More info:

When it comes to superhero properties, Warner Bros. couldn't be sitting on a more enviable source: DC Comics, home to Batman, Superman and other well-known caped crusaders.

But to make its heroes fly at the megaplex, the studio knows it needs to make the right movies. The financial payoff is too big to squander with a creative misfire like "Catwoman."

"They can really be an evergreen source of enjoyment and income," says studio topper Alan Horn, referring to the coin a hit pic can collect at the B.O. and from sources like TV, homevid, vidgames and merchandise. The studio earned $1 billion from DC fare alone in 2005, when "Batman Begins" was released. "If you do it wrong, you're dead, you're out of there."

Getting out there, however, has taken time.

Warners and DC (both Time Warner entities) have labored in vain over another Superman, and launches for Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Arrow and Green Lantern. It's maddening for fans as rival Marvel Comics has successfully begun financing its own slate of pics, first with "Iron Man," then a reboot of "The Incredible Hulk" this summer.

That could soon change, as Warners is readying to revamp how DC's properties are developed -- changes that could be announced within the next month.

DC doesn't have a separate film division the way rival Marvel does, which is moving forward with an "Iron Man" sequel and adaptations of Thor, Captain America and the superhero team-up "The Avengers" for 2010 and 2011.

That means Warners doesn't have a sole cheerleader for its comicbook projects, or someone to work closely with filmmakers to develop them.

Until now, those duties have been shared by production prexy Jeff Robinov and Gregory Noveck, senior VP of creative affairs for DC Comics, who has served as a liaison between the comicbook publisher and the studio.

Some say Robinov's attention may be pulled in too many directions, given his other responsibilities, which include the rest of the studio's slate and marketing. Noveck formerly was Joel Silver's TV topper.

"We're having a lot of internal discussions on it," Horn says. "We haven't committed to any change at DC at this point," adding that both Warners and DC are committed to turning "the properties into viable movie product in an intelligent way so that we introduce them like planes on a runway. They have to be set up the right way and lined up the right way and all take off one at a time and fly safe and fly straight."

One high-profile property is "Justice League," which Warner Bros. had hoped would start production before the writers strike.

But given that it unites Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter, the studio is trying to figure out how such the pic (cast with younger actors) would affect its existing Batman and Superman franchises -- and whether the script respects how the characters play off each other in the DC universe.

To put it simply: the studio doesn't want to piss off the Comic-Con contingent.

"We're not off the notion of a Justice League," Robinov says. "There's a massive interest and knowledge in the comicbook industry and it takes time to sort of catch up and understand the characters and the history, where they've intersected with each other and what their worlds are. That's part of the education that we're going through."

When it comes to Batman, the future of the franchise is in Christopher Nolan's hands. That's what a successful reboot with "Batman Begins" and breaking records with "The Dark Knight" will do.

There's a deal for the director to helm a third pic, but he has yet to decide on whether to tackle it yet.

"We have no idea where Chris is going with this," Horn says. "We haven't had any conversations with him about it."

Either way, there's no question Warner Bros. will produce more superhero pics. The question is when.

"These are big, iconic characters," Noveck says. "So when you make them into a movie, you'd better be shooting for a pretty high standard. You're not always going to reach it, but you have to be shooting for it. We're going to make a Justice League movie, whether it's now or 10 years from now. But we're not going to do it and Warners is not going to do it until we know it's right."

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111799065...yid=13&cs=1

It's so weird to see how different DC and Marvel treat their properties. There is no way Marvel would let a directer take full control of a property and not even know where he's going with it like DC does with Nolan. They are lucky it worked out good for them this time. I'm guessing that's what went wrong with Superman Returns.

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This isn't quite on-topic, but I didn't feel like starting a new thread:

Warner Bets on Fewer, Bigger Movies

By LAUREN A.E. SCHUKER

August 22, 2008

Emboldened by this summer's success with "The Dark Knight," Warner Bros.' movie studio is setting a new strategy.

The Time Warner Inc. unit, like some other Hollywood studios, is planning to release fewer films into the crowded marketplace. But the studio, known for making more big, expensive movies than most rivals, plans to make even more of those -- some centered on properties from its DC Comics unit, such as Batman.

Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov wants the studio to release as many as eight such movies a year by 2011. "The long-term goal of the studio is to take advantage of what has become a very global market by focusing on bigger films that require a bigger commitment," he says. Warner Bros. films released last year grossed $2 billion internationally, about 42% more than their $1.4 billion domestic take.

Mining the comic-book franchise is central to the success of Warner Bros.' strategy. Its lineup of "tent poles" -- Hollywood-speak for big movies that are the foundation of a studio's slate -- has thinned. Warner Bros. has been slow to capitalize on DC, and it now faces a rival in Marvel Entertainment Inc.'s Marvel Studios, the company behind box-office gusher "Iron Man."

Superhero films based on comic-book legends, like "The Dark Knight," have emerged as some of the strongest players in the global market, in part because they're natural candidates for tie-ups with consumer products and games that can also be marketed globally.

"Superheroes are more global than ever in today's commercial world, existing in 30 languages and in more than 60 countries," says Paul Levitz, president and publisher of DC Comics. The characters are "a world-wide export," he says.

"Films with our DC properties have the opportunity to support other divisions in the company in a way that our other movies don't," Mr. Robinov says, for example, with products such as a Superman game or toys. By 2011, Mr. Robinov plans for DC Comics to supply the material for up to two of the six to eight tent-pole films he hopes Warner Bros. will have in the pipeline by then.

While big ambitions can result in a huge payoff, they can also end in huge losses. Warner's car adventure "Speed Racer" bombed at the box office in May. The film, said to have cost as much as $150 million, has taken in only $43.9 million in the U.S. Some other big-budget Warner films, such as spy comedy "Get Smart," also have failed to meet expectations.

Earlier this year, Warner Bros. shut its two art-house labels, Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures. The studio currently releases 25 to 26 films a year. By 2010, Mr. Robinov plans to pare production to 20 to 22 movies a year.

A movie referred to internally as "Justice League of America," originally said to be for next summer, was planned as one of the studio's major releases. With that film, starring a superhero team, Warner hoped to spark interest in DC characters like Green Lantern who haven't yet attained the level of popularity of Batman. But script problems, among other things, have delayed the movie.

The studio said last week that "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," originally slated for November release, would come out next July -- on the same weekend that "The Dark Knight" opened this year. The Batman sequel made more than $150 million in the U.S. that weekend. "We just needed a July movie," said Alan Horn, president of the studio, at the time.

Warner Bros. also put on hold plans for another movie starring multiple superheroes -- known as "Batman vs. Superman" -- after the $215 million "Superman Returns," which had disappointing box-office returns, didn't please executives. "'Superman' didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to," says Mr. Robinov. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned." "Had 'Superman' worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009," he adds. "But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all."

One of the studio's other big releases planned for 2009, "Watchmen," is the subject of a high-profile copyright lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox.

Based on the premise that superheroes are real people grappling with their own problems, "Watchmen" is an apocalyptic vision of their world. Fox says it is seeking an injunction to enforce its copyright interest in the film. Last week, a federal judge ruled that it may have rights to the property. News Corp. is the parent of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co.

With "Batman vs. Superman" and "Justice League" stalled, Warner Bros. has quietly adopted Marvel's model of releasing a single film for each character, and then using those movies and their sequels to build up to a multicharacter film. "Along those lines, we have been developing every DC character that we own," Mr. Robinov says.

Like the recent Batman sequel -- which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far -- Mr. Robinov wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as "The Dark Knight." Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.' DC properties. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it," he says. That goes for the company's Superman franchise as well.

The studio is set to announce its plans for future DC movies in the next month. For now, though, it is focused on releasing four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. Movies featuring Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman are all in active development.

Many of the studio's directors credit Mr. Robinov for taking Warner Bros.' films in a darker and deeper direction. Christopher Nolan, who directed "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight," says Mr. Robinov "really encouraged the logic of the villain" from "Batman Begins." That led to focusing heavily on the Joker in the sequel. "At the script stage, Jeff really wanted us to be very clear on the Joker's lack of purpose," he says.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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The studio is set to announce its plans for future DC movies in the next month. For now, though, it is focused on releasing four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. Movies featuring Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman are all in active development.

It sounds like they are releasing more movies, not fewer.

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The studio is set to announce its plans for future DC movies in the next month. For now, though, it is focused on releasing four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. Movies featuring Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman are all in active development.

It sounds like they are releasing more movies, not fewer.

I think that's meant to mean that Warner Brothers are releasing more DC films, but are overall producing less movies. That'd mean DC films would make up a larger percentage of the WB's output.

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