Can DC ever chart a course to navigate out of Marvel’s shadow? That’s been the question for the last 10 years (since the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy). Newly crowned Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav thinks he has the answer, which is… the same thing the guys before him tried to do, basically.
“You look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman—these are brands that are known everywhere in the world,” Zaslav said on the infamous WB earnings call (per The Hollywood Reporter). “We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business where we are going to focus, where there is going to be a team with a ten year plan focusing just on DC. We believe we can build a much more sustainable business.”
Oh, gee, a 10 year plan? Why didn’t anyone think of that before? It’s a strange bit of corporate gaslighting to pretend we weren’t all around for the attempted Zack Snyder-verse. Further, it’s not much of a “reset” when only one film (Batgirl) was canceled and the rest–which are all still tangled up in the Snyderverse to some degree–are going forward (even the dreaded Flash film).
“It’s very similar to the structure Alan Horn, [former Disney CEO] Bob Iger and Kevin Feige put together very effectively at Disney,” said Zaslav, as if copy-pasting from the MCU handbook worked for any of his predecessors. He may want to consider that Feige is someone that directors actually want to work for; the Marvel boss’ compassionate response to Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah after Batgirl was canned only makes Zaslav and DC look even worse in comparison.
But Zaslav is determined to “focus on quality” and not “release any film before it’s ready,” which sounds more like the baseline for the film industry than an innovative new strategy. “The objective is to grow the DC brand. To grow the DC characters,” he said. “But also, our job is to protect the DC brand, and that’s what we’re going to do.” DC fans will surely sleep better knowing this is the guy protecting their beloved heroes.