WarnerMedia, the entertainment giant that oversees one of Hollywood's most prolific film corporations and a host of companies in other media, has been forced to let go of hundreds of staffers amid the global lockdown crisis. One of the worst-hit companies under the WarnerMedia conglomerate is comic book powerhouse DC, according to a new report.
While Jim Lee remains the CCO at DC, sources indicate that as much as one-third of DC's editorial ranks have been handed pink slips, including editor-in-chief Bob Harris, senior VP of publishing strategy and support services Hank Kanalz, VP of marketing and creative services Jonah Weiland, VP global publishing initiatives and digital strategy Bobbie Chase, senior story editor Brian Cunningham, and executive editor Mark Doyle.
It is also being said that the layoffs have sounded the death knell for the newly launched DC Universe streaming service, and WarnerMedia has shifted its focus to HBO Max instead. That means many of the shows, both live-action and animated, that were launched on DC Universe will soon be either getting axed or moving to HBO Max, including Doom Patrol, Stargirl, Harley Quinn, and Titans.
Then there is DC Direct, the company's in-house merchandise and collectibles manufacturer, which has shut down after 22 years, with Warner Bros. Consumer Products said to be poised to take a more active role in the distribution of DC merchandising.
Things are not much better over at the parent company Warner Media. Prominent individuals that have been laid off among the hundreds of terminations include Warner Bros. CFO Kim Williams, Warner Bros. president, Worldwide Theatrical Distribution & Home Entertainment and Executive Vice President, International Business Operations, and Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution president Jeff Schlesinger and Ron Sanders. Sanders touched upon the time he has spent with the company in his farewell speech:
"Warner Bros. is known for being the most celebrated studio in history for good reason. The talent is unmatched, both on the creative and business sides, and I'm honored to have been entrusted to oversee a great portfolio of businesses around the world for the last 30 years."
Both film studios and the comic book marketplace have been hit hard by the lockdown, and dwindling sales of their content in theaters and in comic shops. The layoffs have long been predicted, and it is likely that other major companies in the industry will soon be following with their own round of layoffs.
Going forward, WarnerMedia is said to be intending to focus a lot more on strengthening its streaming service, with DC also looking to place a great deal more emphasis on creating virtual comics that do not need physical distribution.
DC and WarnerMedia fans and artists employed by the conglomerate have taken to social media to commiserate with the woes of those who have been laid off. It remains to be seen how the current state of DC will affect the planned Aug. 22 online event DC Fandome, which the company had been hyping for weeks. This news comes from The Hollywood Reporter.