While Warner Bros.' Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice brought in big business for the studio, to the tune of $328.5 million domestic and $870 million worldwide, the reception from many fans and critics alike wasn't terribly warm. With the movie launching its DC Extended Universe (DCEU) slate, which continues this summer with Suicide Squad, the studio is making some changes within its executive ranks. A new report reveals that the studio has set up a dedicated division for its superhero movies, entitled DC Films, which will be run by DC chief content officer Geoff Johns and Warner Bros.' executive vice president Jon Berg.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that this move is part of a broader re-organization within the studio, which has had a disappointing run at the box office over the past few years, with some filmmakers complaining about the studio's "murky" development process. This re-structuring will put several different executives in charge of "genre streams," all of whom will report to Warner Bros. Pictures president Greg Silverman. These "genre streams" will cater to the specialties and interests of the company's various executives.
One example cited by this report is Courtenay Valenti, who will now oversee both the Harry Potter and LEGO franchises. The Harry Potter franchise will return this fall with the prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, while the first LEGO spinoff, The LEGO Batman Movie, is slated to hit theaters on February 10, 2017. The site's sources also claim that senior production executives Jesse Ehrman and Niija Kuykendall will oversee the studio's comedy/family and sci-fi/action genres.
Sources claim that Geoff Johns will be reporting to DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson, while Jon Berg reports to Greg Silverman. Geoff Johns is also writing the DC Comics' Rebirth series, debuting later this month, which will provide a reboot for several comic book characters, but the writer-turned-executive is not leaving the comic book side due to this new position. He has also been instrumental in the success of DC's TV universe, such as The CW's hit shows Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. The man is also co-writing the solo Batman movie alongside Ben Affleck.
While Warner Bros. reportedly still wants to remain a "filmmaker-driven" studio, the emergence of DC Films is said to be an attempt to emulate Marvel Studios, and their mastermind Kevin Feige, who oversees the entire MCU. As part of their new jobs, Geoff Johns and Jon Berg will be brought on as producers on both of the Justice League movies, with Justice League Part 1 currently filming in the U.K. Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder reportedly had "the door open" to help shape the DC movie universe, but apparently that isn't happening anymore, after the divisive critical reaction from Batman v Superman, which the studio claims will still be profitable, albeit not the "home run" they were hoping for.
This report also claims that the recent departure of Seth Grahame-Smith on The Flash movie was another example of the fallout from Batman v Superman. The studio reportedly didn't feel confident enough in the first-time director, and is currently seeking a more "seasoned" director who can put their "authoritative stamp" on The Flash, which is set for release on March 16, 2018. The studio is also continuing to hammer out issues with the third act of Suicide Squad, after undergoing major reshoots. It was Geoff Johns' involvement on Suicide Squad, which he is working on in post-production, that "escalated" his involvement in the DC movies, and he is also co-writing the standalone Batman movie with Ben Affleck. We'll keep you posted with more on this new DC Films company as soon as we have more information.