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To make DCEU more ‘Marvel-like’, Warner Bros. new owners plan overhaul

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A recent report has revealed that the new owners of all DC Entertainment are exploring an overhaul, obviously to see it better compete with rivals Marvel.

By Justina Terhember

It’s a week since Discovery closed its $43 billion deal for WarnerMedia, joining one of the largest producers of reality programming with one of the most venerable entertainment brands under the new moniker of Warner Bros. Discovery. A report on Variety revealed that new overall CEO David Zaslav and top leadership have been toying with the idea of turning DC into its own solidified content vertical, according to sources. You know, so it can be more ‘Marvel-like’, wink-wink.

The move would potentially affect DC feature film development in the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, streaming series at Warner Bros. Television, and the creative arm within DC proper — all in an effort to have the disparate elements more closely aligned in order to maximize the value of the superhero stable — one often seen as punching up against Marvel.

Before the merger closed, Zaslav vetted 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.

Before the merger closed, Zaslav vetted 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. One of those candidates included Emma Watts, a former top film executive at 20th Century Studios and Paramount, but it does not appear that Watts will take the job. One insider suggested that Zaslav was less interested in finding a creative guru and more eager to hire someone who had the type of business background needed to keep all the different factions at DC working more harmoniously.

Insiders say that Zaslav believes that the success of the merger, one that has left the company highly leveraged, will rest in no small part on unlocking the full potential of the DC Comics universe of characters.

Insiders say that Zaslav believes that the success of the merger, one that has left the company highly leveraged, will rest in no small part on unlocking the full potential of the DC Comics universe of characters. Discovery insiders believe that although DC has achieved cinematic success with recent films such as “Aquaman” and “The Batman,” it lacks a coherent creative and brand strategy. Discovery believes that several top-shelf characters such as Superman have been left to languish and need to be revitalized. They also believe that projects like Todd Phillips’ “Joker” are a shining example of how second-billed characters from the DC library can and should be exploited (Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is another example).

DC has started to figure out ways for its big-screen films to inspire more streaming content — recent examples include the HBO Max show “Peacemaker,” which was a spinoff of “The Suicide Squad,” as well as an upcoming planned series on Colin Farrell’s The Penguin and Gotham City’s police force. But the company believes that DC must do more to grow its approach to comic book fare, including bolstering gaming. Under Walter Hamada, who took over DC Films from Jon Berg and Geoff Johns in 2018, the unit has achieved more consistency in terms of both the critical and commercial reception of the company’s movies. He is under contract until the end of 2023 and could play an important role in whatever Zaslav has planned.

Zaslav has pledged to find $3 billion in synergies in the newly merged company, a signal of how important cost-cutting will be to Warners’ new owners. Mining DC’s library of characters could help control spending as Warner Bros. Discovery owns the underlying intellectual property, insiders say.

Zaslav has pledged to find $3 billion in synergies in the newly merged company, a signal of how important cost-cutting will be to Warners’ new owners. Mining DC’s library of characters could help control spending as Warner Bros. Discovery owns the underlying intellectual property, insiders say.

Upcoming DC Films projects include a sequel to Zachary Levi’s “Shazam,” a sequel to Jason Momoa’s “Aquaman,” the long-awaited franchise started “Black Adam” with Dwayne Johnson, and the third installment of Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman.”

Good luck to them!

MOVIES

I’ve seen ‘Spawn’ movie concept suits – Jamie Foxx

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A Spawn reboot may finally see the light of day, with actor Jamie Foxx saying that he has seen concept suits for the comic book character. He was asked in an interview if he has seen a costume for the film, leading to a surprising answer. “I’ve seen a lot of concepts,” he reveals. “Because Todd, what he does it, every single day he’s doodling and he’s fixing and he’s doing some things that, to me, I think is gonna be like way out when you see it. And how he crafts that cape and how that cape becomes almost like – I’ll say this – as big as the screen that you’re watching.”

A live-action Spawn reboot seems to have been talked about for decades since a sequel to the 1997 release was cancelled. Creator Todd McFarlane has teased the film on multiple occasions throughout the years, with actor Jamie Foxx recently sharing news that may mean the film is much closer to a release than anticipated.

MacFarlane has said he wants the reboot to be rated R, which would be reminiscent of the 2019 R-rated release ‘Joker’, which went on to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

Foxx thinks those working on the film are ready for their turn. “But it starts in a way that is so cool. And it’s not big budget, you know? And that’s what I love about it. It’s sort of like how when they did the Joker. And so, we’re just like, just getting this right, cooking it right, but staying in contact, keeping the energy going and when we lay it on you, there’s gonna be some moments where you go ‘oh man’.”

More developments are expected at New York Comic-Con in October. Regarding an announcement, McFarlane told CBR at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, “We were debating whether to make a big announcement because we’ve been adding pieces to it here at San Diego. So all the parties that were involved, we had the conversation: ‘Do we make the announcement here or do we wait and keep our gunpowder dry until New York Comic Con?’ And we eventually said we’ll do it at New York.”

Fingers crossed!

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‘WandaVision’ director in talks to direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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Marvel Studios appears to be one step closer to finalizing plans for the highly anticipated “Fantastic Four” reboot, with news that “WandaVision” helmer Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the project, Variety has confirmed.

At the San Diego Comic-Con in July, Marvel boss Kevin Feige teased the movie, which is currently slated to debut on Nov. 8, 2024, revealing that “Fantastic Four” would kick off Phase 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Jon Watts, who helmed all three of Sony and Marvel’s “Spider-Man” films, had previously been announced as the “Fantastic Four” director, but exited the project in April. Rumors that Shakman had been tapped to take the job hit the internet earlier this week, with the choice heralded by fans given the director’s successful piloting of the Disney+ series.

For his work on “WandaVision,” Shakman landed an Emmy nomination for outstanding directing for a limited or anthology series or movie, as well as a nod in the outstanding limited or anthology series category as an executive producer on the series. Shakman is also an Emmy nominee for his directing work on Hulu’s “The Great.”

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DC’s troubles continue as ‘Aquaman 2’ and ‘Shazam! 2’ shift dates

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Surprising only a few, ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ and ‘Shazam!: Fury of the Gods will land in theaters later than planned. Per a Variety report, Warner Bros. announced a slew of release date changes on Wednesday, pushing the ‘Aquaman’ follow-up from March 17, 2023 to Dec. 25, 2023.

The ‘Shazam!’ sequel will open on the date previously occupied by Jason Momoa’s undersea hero. The story about Zachary Levi’s Billy Batson was originally set for Dec. 21, 2022. This means ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ will debut a few days after Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ spinoff ‘Rogue Squadron’ (Dec. 23, 2023).

Meanwhile, ‘Shazam!: Fury of the Gods’, initially set to face off against James Cameron’s ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, is now top dog over its new opening weekend.

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