In what was one of the biggest yet most confounding news stories of the week, Warner Bros. dropped their entire DC Entertainment film slate through 2020 on the world this past Wednesday.
In a shocking and completely unexpected move, Warner Bros. released their future slate to the press through 2020, including dates for 10 DC Comics films and plans for 2 others.
And just like that all the dates Warner Bros. had set aside for DC Comics films are full! While my first response to this was just pure excitement, I must admit that upon further review I became very confused. Fanboys respond to movie release dates and even minimal amounts of information in an overwhelming way. Warner Bros. dropped all 10 of these dates and owned the news on Wednesday, but for the most part they've already been flushed out of the news cycle (other than people like me just getting around to it!). It's possible that Warner Bros. may have been able to spread these announcements out and keep themselves in the news a little longer, but what's past is prologue. Let's look at the films!
Notable is the statement that solo movies are also being developed for Batman and Superman, though no dates have been set just yet. Keen-eyed readers will notice that Guillermo Del Toro's Justice League Dark and Joseph Gordon Levitt's Sandman film is not in the plans. Sandman creator, Neil Gaiman, took to Tumblr to clear up just why that is and it's pretty simple: Sandman is a Vertigo comic and, therefore, not a part of the wider DC universe and Del Toro's film have characters from both the DC Universe and the Vertigo Universe, so it may just fall into its own place.
March 25, 2016: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
There's plenty to be said about this film. It's already well into production and Badass Digest and Latino-Review have done a wonderful job of keeping the fanboy community informed regarding the film's plot. It's probably worth nothing, though it should go without saying, that this film is the lynchpin for Warner Bros. It's going to connect to the events of Man of Steel and set up the larger universe in which the DC characters are going to share. If this film doesn't succeed, the rest of those films may be up in the air. Badass Digest reports that by the end of this film, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg will have teamed up to defeat the bad guy (Brainiac), thus the Dawn of Justice subtitle.
August 5, 2016: Suicide Squad
This film, which comes out in the wake of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is already in the process of casting and some big names (Will Smith, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie) are said to be close to signing. This is a BOLD move for Warner Bros. Suicide Squad will be the 6th comic book movie of the year and will find itself in a very unique position as it's not a movie about traditional heroes. While Warner Bros. is certainly going all out for the cast, it's not as if well-cast movies haven't flopped before when they aren't about subjects in which the audience is interested. This film is going to be directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury) who has some experience with star power and has made a couple nice films. It'll be very interesting to see how this one develops.
June 23, 2017: Wonder Woman
This is the one announcement of the bunch that's going to make me refer to Marvel. Now that Warner Bros. has staked their claim to the summer of 2017, it's hard to imagine that Marvel Studios will not try to beat them to the female-centric comic book movie punch by sliding Ms. Marvel into their May 5th date ahead of Wonder Woman. There is a huge outcry from fanboys to give a female hero her own movie and, while we've known a Wonder Woman solo movie was in the works, now that is has a date I think you may see Marvel start playing some chess.
Of course Gal Gadot, who will make her debut as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, will reprise the role here and much of how successful this film turns out to be will stem from fan response to Gadot in the team-up.
November 17, 2017: Justice League, Part 1
Zack Snyder will direct both parts of Justice League so the DC Shared Cinematic Universe will bear his mark more than anyone else's. Recent rumors have the events of the Justice League film spinning out of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with the majority of the team having assembled in that film. Apparently, a Green Lantern will arrive on Earth on the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to inform the newly assembled Justice League that Earth is about to be encroached upon in a big way by a big bad:
March 23, 2018: The Flash
This announcement put to rest any lingering rumors that DC's TV universe would co-exist with the films. Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) was announced as Barry Allen, giving a VERY different look than the Grant Gustin character from the CW show. We should expect meet Allen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but other than that details on this movie are slim at the moment.
July 27, 2018: Aquaman
In one of Hollywood's worst kept secrets, Jason Momoa was finally officially revealed to be Aquaman when this film was announced. Again, given it's so far off there's very little we really know about the film; however, The Aquaman Shrine did claim that the film would feature Aquaman's wife Mera, his treacherous brother, Orm, archenemy Black Manta and The Trench, a group of monsters introduced in the DC's New 52 continuity. Aquaman has taken on a very different tone in the new continuity and is a character to be taken much more seriously than in the past. I'll be very interested to see what this film becomes as I've always thought that an Aquaman or Namor film could be mind-bogglingly cool.
April 5, 2019: Shazam
Duane Johnson signed on for this one a while back as the film's antagonist, Black Adam. It's interesting that this film does not seem to directly tie into the Justice League films, but much could evolve between now and then.
June 14, 2019: Justice League, Part 2
The second half of what's apparently one big Justice League film. Perhaps, by the time this film is made, Shazam has made his way onto the team? Who knows? Zack Snyder will be back to direct this film and at this point there's very little in the way of details .
April 3, 2020: Cyborg
A solo-Cyborg film...ok. Ray Fisher, who will be in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be the lead of this film. Is it going to be an origin story? No way of telling right now, but it's hard to see a Cyborg solo film being a big draw, but we'll see.
June 19, 2020: Green Lantern
A total reboot of the character, this film will hopefully wash away the taste of one of the worst comic book movies ever made. Done right, Green Lantern has the chance to be an incredible film. While there's no word on which Lantern we will be seeing, there's absolutely no reason that we couldn't get Hal Jordan in the Justice League films and have this be a John Stewart or any other Earth-born GL film.
There you have it guys! That's a lot to take in, but feel free to digest it slowly. DC Entertainment certainly seems to have a plan in place to carve out it's portion of the very lucrative comic book movie market!
You can read the official press release in its entirety below:
WARNER BROS. DETAILS STRATEGIC CONTENT PLANS AT TIME WARNER INVESTOR CONFERENCE
AREAS OF FOCUS INCLUDE INCREASED OVERALL FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION, GLOBAL FRANCHISES, CABLE AND PREMIUM TV PRODUCTION, KIDS AND INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION
THREE “FANTASTIC BEASTS,” TEN DC ENTERTAINMENT AND THREE “LEGO” FILMS CONFIRMED
(October 15, 2014 – Burbank, CA) Today at a Time Warner investors meeting, Warner Bros.’ Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara outlined an aggressive content strategy for the Studio aimed at increasing profits while “doubling down on outstanding content, working with the best talent and maintaining the culture that makes Warner Bros. so great.”
“The demand for high quality video content is growing fast – in the United States and around the world – as new technologies have created new platforms and millions of new connected consumers,” said Tsujihara. “The opportunity is huge. And no studio is better positioned to take advantage of it than Warner Bros.”
As part of his presentation, Tsujihara announced a bold expansion of the industry’s broadest theatrical slate, built around the largest, most important global franchises. Warner Bros. Pictures will release three LEGO-branded films over the next four years, building upon the enormous success of this year’s “The LEGO Movie” ($468 million worldwide box office), starting with “Ninjago” in 2016, directed by Charlie Bean and produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Batman will take a star turn in “The LEGO Batman Movie” in 2017, directed by Chris McKay, and the sequel, “The LEGO Movie 2,” will debut in 2018.
The Studio will release three pictures, in 2016, 2018 and 2020, based on best-selling author J.K. Rowling’s original story and screenwriting debut, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Set in an extension of her familiar wizarding world, featuring magical creatures and characters inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook and its fictitious author, Newt Scamander, “Fantastic Beasts” will be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter movies, and reunite the filmmaking team of David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.
And, in a massive expansion of the Studio’s DC Entertainment-branded content, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema will release a slate of at least 10 movies—as well as stand-alone Batman and Superman films—from 2016 through 2020 that expands this prized universe of characters:
o “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
o “Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer (2016)
o “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot (2017)
o “Justice League Part One,” directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
o “The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller (2018)
o “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa (2018)
o “Shazam” (2019)
o “Justice League Part Two,” directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
o “Cyborg,” starring Ray Fisher (2020)
o “Green Lantern” (2020)
On the television front, Warner Bros. Television Group is the undisputed industry leader, providing 32 shows to the five broadcast networks and an overall roster of more than 60 shows among network, cable, first-run syndication and animation. WBTVG will grow its leadership across multiple fronts, including cable, premium platform and kids programming as well as further its precedent-setting activities in SVOD and international television production and format sales.
Among the Studio’s programs are network TV’s #1 entertainment series in “The Big Bang Theory” and #1 unscripted series in “The Voice,” as well as favorites such as “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Gotham,” “The Middle,” “Mom,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “The Bachelor” franchise, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and many more.
For Turner, Warner Horizon Television’s “Rizzoli & Isles” and Warner Bros. Television’s “Major Crimes” are two of the top three scripted series on all of basic cable for 2014, and the #1 and #2 shows, respectively, on TNT. The Studio has a number of future projects set up at TNT, including a pilot production order for an untitled drama set in the unpredictable world of the Florida cocaine trade in the 1970s, from Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay and Michelle Ashford, and is in development on “Titans,” from Academy Award-winner Akiva Goldsman and Marc Haimes, based upon the DC Comics characters.
At HBO, WBTV’s first series for the premium television company, the critically acclaimed “The Leftovers,” debuted this summer and has already been picked up for a second season. WBTV has also produced the pilot “Westworld,” from executive producers J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan, Jerry Weintraub and Lisa Joy, and starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood, and has a number of other projects in development at the company.
Warner Bros. Animation is producing new series based on the Studio’s iconic brands, such as the upcoming “Be Cool Scooby-Doo!” and “The Tom and Jerry Show.” WBA’s “Teen Titans Go!” ranks as the #1 show in its timeslot against all kids’ networks.
For the first time ever, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution has licensed the exclusive subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) rights to one of television’s most successful series ever, WBTV’s “Friends,” to Netflix in the U.S. and Canada. Starting January 1, 2015, Netflix members will have access to the entire 236 episode run of the series, which is still an enormous linear hit on cable (Nick at Nite and TBS) and in broadcast syndication.
Worldwide Television Distribution has also sold the off-network SVOD rights to the hit Warner Bros. Television series “Person of Interest” to Netflix in the United States. The first three seasons of the series, which currently airs on CBS, will be made available to subscribers in fall 2015, at the same time the series premieres off-network on WGN America.
These two deals are just the latest examples of how the Studio’s hit series continue to serve as annuities for decades beyond their initial broadcast. Further increasing the value of Warner Bros.’ library, since 1999, WBTVG has developed and produced 20 series that have reached the 100-episode milestone or will do so during the 2014–15 season.
“At Warner Bros., we are united to not only continue to create the world’s greatest entertainment content, but to over-deliver on our financial targets,” said Tsujihara. “I’ve been with the company for over 20 years and I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt more confident about our future. We’re committed to maintaining and enhancing the great legacy of Warner Bros., the world’s most iconic and profitable studio.”