Warner Bros. has prided itself on an auteurist approach to making comic book movies, allowing filmmakers with different sensibilities to put their own spin on individual superhero movies without worrying about how the projects will connect together. But that might be changing soon. In an interview with Variety, WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff hinted that the DCEU, or DC Universe of Movies, as some now call it, is going to be much more interconnected moving forward.
“We have weekly meetings with our key execs in every division. Last August, I was made head of studios and networks and I now have all of the creative groups underneath me, so now around that table it’s not just Warner Bros. film, Warner Bros. television, and Warner Bros. games, but it includes HBO and HBO Max and the Turner networks, Adult Swim, and the Kids and Family networks. We are involving all of those people in our plans going forward and that means the media is going to be more connected, sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes in more overt ways. Like opposite The Suicide Squad we’re spinning out Peacemaker with James Gunn and John Cena passionately developing that for HBO Max. It’s my job to make sure we super serve our fans across all demos and all fanbases.”
It is easy to see why Warner would want an inter-connected DCEU. The success of the MCU has set every Hollywood studio on a path to trying to create their own cinematic universe. For some time, it seemed the DCEU was moving away from that direction, with Todd Phillips’ Joker, Matt Reeves’ The Batman, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League confirmed to exist in separate realities with no overlap.
DCEU fans applauded this approach, believing it would allow for a greater diversity of style and tone so that something as dark and grim as Batman v. Superman could exist in the same franchise as the bright and cheery Shazam!. the quirkily violent Birds of Prey, or the more traditional Wonder Woman. According to Sarnoff, that kind of diversity will continue to be emphasized in future DCEU films, instead of taking a singular approach to franchise-building.
“We’re always going to listen to our fans, but we are in service of the broadest fanbase and we owe them an integrated, holistic strategy. We are the shepherds of the franchise and hopefully when the fans see what we’ve got in store they’ll know that DC is in good hands across many different platforms with many different creators. We want different voices in the mix. For certain fans that want singular voices, they may be disappointed, but we would ask them to be patient and see what we’ve got in store because perhaps the newer voices in the mix will have just as compelling stories to tell. On balance, you of course want to listen to your fans, but we do want to stay true to our vision and our mission for DC and build that out.”
This news originated at Variety.