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HBO Max Boss Addresses DC Superheroes 'Brand Confusion' With On-Screen Franchises

DC Superman Batwoman Peacemaker Green Lantern

While some movies and television programs based on DC Comics have absolutely delivered, there have been numerous instances where the final product left a lot to be desired. Much of this comes from the fact that there are multiple separate universes for DC, and they all exist simultaneously.

The company's biggest competitors at Marvel have mastered the art of the interconnected universe, with 23 box office hits in the Infinity Saga and over two dozen sequel projects set to premiere over the next three years. All of this is going on while DC Comics attempts to balance the DC Extended Universe projects that release in theaters, the Arrowverse TV shows on the CW, and multiple other series in releasing in their own worlds.

This is leading to plenty of confusion for DC fans, which was addressed in a recent chat with one of the top men bringing these projects into the spotlight.

CONFUSION BETWEEN DC FRANCHISES?

In a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, HBO Chief Casey Bloys addressed DC's multiple universes, noting that Warner Bros. is working to make their content based on DC properties more streamlined going forward with multiple franchises. 

Bloys described how WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff is making it a priority to organize these projects better, in a way that “make(s) sure that the universe is logical and makes sense.”:

I just started to get involved with the DC content in August. Peacemaker is one of the first shows I greenlit and one of the first shows coming out, in January 2022. It's a great example of what HBO Max can do with DC content in that we're producing at al level we haven't seen DC content on TV do thus far. It's been one of [WarnerMedia CEO] Ann Sarnoff's priorities to organize the DC world for exactly what you're talking about — to make sure that the universe is logical and makes sense. She talks about the flywheel: that the movies speak to the TV shows that speak to the movies — that it's all connected. 

 Bloys continued to explain that this is to help the company talk “with one voice about the DC universe” when asked about the company's objective to avoid “brand confusion.”:

There's a lot of work going on in that at DC and Warner Bros. That is very much something that Ann has made a priority and the company is doing. It's one of the things in terms of WarnerMedia today vs. Time Warner five years ago, I have regular conversations now with [Warner Bros. film chief] Toby Emmerich and [DC content chief] Jim Lee, and we talk about all things in way that never would have been discussed before. That's probably how you got a little DC over here, a little of DC over there, etc. The idea going forward is that we're talking with one voice about the DC universe. It's a really valuable world to have, and we want to make sure we're using it correctly.



DC TRYING TO BE "ALL CONNECTED"

No matter how hard they try to distinguish themselves, DC flicks will always be compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As comic publishers, the two are the leading names in the superhero business, so it's only natural for viewers to juxtapose the companies on screen.

That being said, DC is very different from Marvel considering how the company has multiple unique series and universes simultaneously running on various mediums. This leads to multiple versions of their biggest heroes all airing simultaneously. This is notably seen with Superman, as Henry Cavill portrays the Man of Steel in the DCEU while Tyler Hoechlin calls himself Clark Kent in the Arrowverse.

While the comic book mogul doesn't seem like it will change drastically from this model, it will be interesting to see how their strategy evolves over the next few years with so many new projects on the way. The DCEU is going full steam ahead with movies like The Suicide Squad and Aquaman 2, and there are more new series on the way for television and streaming like Superman & Lois on the CW and Titans at HBO Max.

While most DC projects on the small screen are spin-offs of pre-established characters (Hoechlin's Superman has been in play since he debuted in season 2 of Supergirl), DC is set to branch off future movies with their own streaming shows. John Cena's Peacemaker will bring the former WWE Champion's character into a serialized story after he debuts in The Suicide Squad, and the Gotham City series will prequel Robert Pattinson's The Batman.

With all these moving pieces coming into play soon, it's safe to say that the next few years will be a time for potentially big adjustments for Warner Bros and DC.