The future of the DC movie universe, at least some of it anyway, is on HBO Max. It has been revealed that DC Films is going to ramp up in the coming years, and not just on the theatrical side. On top of movies such as The Batman that are intended as theatrical releases, Warner Bros. is also preparing to release several projects exclusively on the streaming service, with Batgirl and Static Shock named as early contenders.
According to a new interview with DC Films head Walter Hamada, both Batgirl and Static Shock, which are being developed by Warner Bros., are being eyed as possible HBO Max releases. The report notes that the HBO Max exclusives will probably be reserved for "riskier characters." That's not to say there is a perceived concern over the quality. But these are not characters that are on par with an A-list character such as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman that has global recognition. It also means that these movies will probably carry comparatively smaller budgets, given that they won't be pulling in any box office dollars.
Batgirl has been in development for several years now but has yet to truly find any traction. Joss Whedon was, at one point, attached to write and direct the adaptation. The Avengers filmmaker left the project following his work on the Justice League reshoots. Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey) took over scripting duties after Whedon's departure.
Static Shock is a more recent development. The movie was originally revealed as part of the virtual DC FanDome event over the summer. Michal B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed) has signed on to produce the project. There is no word yet on casting or who may wind up in the director's chair.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that DC is going to be a huge priority for WarnerMedia as a whole. The report notes that there will be as many as four theatrical DC movies per year starting in 2022 in addition to these streaming releases. That means, in a given year, if everything lines up, there could be as many as six new DC movies released. That is a massive increase from what we've seen over the last handful of years. This is in addition to spin-off shows that will be produced for HBO Max that tie into the upcoming movies. There is a show for The Batman centered on the Gotham City P.D., for example. James Gunn also has a Peacemaker series currently filming that takes place in the same universe as next year's The Suicide Squad.
The idea is to use the studio's most attractive properties to draw in HBO Max subscribers. WarnerMedia is planning to release its entire 2021 movie slate both in theaters and on HBO Max in the U.S. as part of that strategy, motivated by the current lack of business at the box office, with many theaters closed around the world. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on these projects are made available. This news comes to us via The New York Times.