A somewhat interesting article…
David Zaslav announced that Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to adopt a Marvel-style 10-year plan for DC. Essentially, the studio wants a clearly defined road map in order to build a successful cinematic universe. However, it won’t work.
To put it simply, Marvel succeeded because it was the trendsetter, not hopelessly chasing someone else’s success. There is a reason why in the wake of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so many other franchises have risen and fallen. All the other studios want what Marvel has without understanding how they got it. And the funny thing is that DC has already tried to chase Marvel’s success, and it backfired spectacularly.
Fans forget that Man of Steel was never meant to kickstart a DC cinematic universe – it was supposed to be a new take on Superman, presented by a director with unique sensibilities. But the success of The Avengers in 2012 meant Warner Bros essentially retrofitted the film to be the launchpad for the DC Extended Universe. Instead of a Man of Steel standalone sequel, this directly led to a Batman V. Superman film that didn’t resonate with audiences and a Justice League film that was hacked to pieces and crashed at the box office.
That was my only real concern, that of “chasing someone else’s success.”
Of course, I assume David Zaslav and his team are going to do things differently, yet still want to be successful, naturally.
The only question, obviously, is how.
And I know Moro finds it annoying when I say it – but that’s why I say I guess they’re going to give it another try… and then they’ll just go back to doing Batman.
But yeah, when they show us the plan, in a year or so from now, or whenever… when we see the road map, then we’ll have a better sense and better gauge on things.
And the tragic aspect of this whole endeavor is that DC eventually found success in not doing for the Marvel formula. DC started working when it stopped chasing Marvel. Sure, some of its films take place in the DCEU, but the studio became so loose creatively it didn’t matter. Directors had freedom, and for the most part, DC films have flourished. Shazam! and The Batman are beloved takes on their respective characters, while Aquaman and Joker both grossed over $1 billion.
The DCEU is a mess with no direction, but that isn’t what’s important. The studio focused on telling great stories and made incredible film after incredible film. DC thrived by letting directors do whatever they wanted – even Zack Snyder’s Justice League got a shot at redemption. DC is not Marvel, and introducing a 10-year plan to play catch-up may ruin things.
And that’s the trick with a connected universe.
When you let the directors do their own thing, you can get some pretty great stuff out of it. But that’s usually because they bring their own style – visual and the way that they tell the story, etc. And that own personal style of one director probably won’t mesh all that well with the personal style of another director.
I believe Kevin Fiege runs the Marvel studio almost like a television showrunner.
Like Law & Order for instance: it really doesn’t matter who the director is of each individual episode, because it’s all pretty much indistinguishable. And that’s because the director’s aren’t putting their own personal touch on the episodes for the most part. No, they’re following the guidance of what the showrunner wants (or the executive producer).
In TV, the executive producer or showrunner is the boss. And the directors do what they say… for the most part.
In the movies, the director is the boss, and they call the shots.
But not really at Marvel though, I guess – well, they do, after they clear it with Kevin Fiege. (And I’m kidding… probably.)
And so I guess DC would have to have a “showrunner” for their movies, and would have to kind of have them be kind of all the same “style” or whatever.
Because of course you can’t really fit Todd Phillips’ Joker in with David Sandberg’s Shazam. Those two things don’t really work together.
Marvel just hit it big with what they were doing. And you have to tip your hat to that and say you guys killed it.
And so yeah… good luck to David Zaslav.
And of course I don’t believe Warner Bros. are going to stop doing the “director-led” super-hero movies. I assume they’re going to do both side by side. And I guess Joker: Folie à Deux is an example of that.