DC and Warner Bros. Have a New Strategy When It Comes to a Shared Universe for Movies

The rumors are true that DC and Warner Bros. are creating a second imprint for films separate from a shared continuity…

DC Comics and Warner Bros. have certainly faced more than a few ups and downs since launching a brand new slate of films starting with 2013’s ‘Man of Steel’.

The plan between DC and Warner Bros. was to launch a shared universe much like their rivals at Marvel had done when they kicked off a very successful run off films with ‘Iron Man’ in 2008 with movies and characters still connecting to that film today.

Unfortunately, DC found very little success when compared to Marvel when it came to building a shared universe between their movies and characters.

‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ made solid money at the box office but the film was panned by critics, especially in comparison to Marvel’s ‘Captain America: Civil War’ that came out in the same year with a similar concept that was a hit with audiences, journalists and raked in more money in the theaters. Then came ‘Suicide Squad’ later the same year with an all-star cast that included Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie in a film that introduced a group of villains turned anti-heroes that was supposed to be a breakout hit.

Instead, ‘Suicide Squad’ fell flat with critics once again and while the film did good business at the box office, there was still no clear sign of the direction that DC was going with its shared universe.

Thankfully, DC and Warner Bros. finally seemed to turn things around in 2017 with the release of ‘Wonder Woman’ — a film that has been beloved by critics and movie goers while raking in a massive amount of money at the theater, which resulted in the studio quickly ordering up a sequel while securing the same director in Patty Jenkins to lead the second film.

Now DC and Warner Bros. are betting big on ‘Justice League’ due out in November, especially after famed writer and director Joss Whedon came on board to help finish the movie following a family tragedy that forced Zack Snyder off the project. Whedon helped rewrite much of the movie while also ordering several reshoots and hopes are high that ‘Justice League’ will turn into another big success for the studio.

That being said, DC and Warner Bros. are done trying to mimic Marvel’s success when it comes to the shared universe between their films. Of course, plans are still in motion for several movies and characters to connect to each other such as the second ‘Justice League’ movie that’s already planned along with the ‘Aquaman’ movie that’s due out in 2018.

The plan going forward, however, will allow a second studio imprint (still to be named) to order up films with DC Comics characters and unique visionaries behind the camera to team up for a movie that will stand alone, completely separate from the shared universe. In other words, a director could have an incredibly interesting take on Batman that could result in a movie being made, but the movie wouldn’t necessarily star Ben Affleck (who is currently playing Batman in ‘Justice League’) and the story wouldn’t tie back to the other films in the DC extended universe.

“Our intention, certainly, moving forward is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn’t make sense, but there’s no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity in that universe,” DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson told Vulture.
“Moving forward, you’ll see the DC movie universe being a universe, but one that comes from the heart of the filmmaker who’s creating them.”

The first film that is in the works as evidence of this new strategy is a previously rumored movie focusing on the Joker — the clown prince of crime best known as a primary antagonist for Batman.

The movie will be co-written and directed by Todd Phillips — best known for his work on ‘The Hangover’ — with rumors swirling that Martin Scorcese will also be on board as an executive producer on the project. The film will focus on the Joker but won’t be connected at all to the other movies in the DC extended universe nor will the lead actor be Jared Leto, who plays the same character in ‘Suicide Squad’.

It’s slightly confusing but the point is that DC and Warner Bros. are trying to go in a new direction while giving filmmakers a chance to let their voice be heard with the characters available on the canvas without always tying everything back to the larger continuity happening in the shared universe.

It will be interesting to see how this new strategy pans out as DC and Warner Bros. look to carve their own niche in the superhero movie market while it’s clear they are attempting to create a new path that is separate from the current agenda taking place at Marvel.

Will it work? No one knows for certain but DC and Warner Bros. seem confident that this new plan will allow them to not only have a shared universe between certain movies and characters, but then also tell new and creative stories that won’t always force them to tie that back into another film.

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