How Warner Bros. CEO Is Restricting Future DC Superhero Movies

By Russ Milheim Posted:
DC Movies Superhero Slate

The situation over at Warner Bros. has been quite messy ever since Discovery officially took over and David Zaslav became the new CEO. One of his first moves in the position was a decision that astonished everyone: he took Batgirl, which was nearly finished, and scrapped it for tax credits.

To make matters even worse, he then started to do the same thing to existing projects on HBO Max, completely nixing them from the platform. In some cases, that meant making seasons of complete shows impossible to watch again.

While Zaslav and his crew have announced a ten-year plan for their DCEU, they have not yet shown any promising signs that those will ever come to fruition. In fact, they're still looking for their own Kevin Feige, who is the renowned President of Marvel Studios.

Sadly, it looks like things won't be getting any easier for the DCEU's future, thanks to the CEO's power and micromanaging restrictions.

DC Superhero Movies Are Still In Hard Times

Warner Bros Justice League

In a report from The Wrap, which can also be seen on Reddit, some new details behind the scenes of Warner Bros. leadership have been revealed, and they certainly don't paint the best picture of how the DCEU's going to be handled.

There is some good news, however. Until David Zaslav finds his own Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios), CEOs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy are set to run the DC side of everything. Why is this good?

Well, the two both have experience in the arena. De Luca specifically has previously worked on the 1998 Blade movie and had even tried to get Iron Man made before Marvel Studios brought its first film in 2008. Given the two's history, apparently many insiders are wondering why Zaslav needs to find this mythical new leader at all when he has everything he needs under his nose.

An anonymous producer commented, “De Luca knows comics. He knows films. They already have what they need."

The outlet noted that despite De Luca and Adby's position and experience, they only have the authority to greenlight projects with budgets under $35 million. This would get in the way of them making any substantial progress in reshaping the DCEU's future without being directly given permission from Zaslav.

When it comes to why Feige is so successful, one of the key factors is the "unprecedented" amount of autonomy given to him by Disney in both the creative and business field. Anyone hired for the equivalent role for DC projects will almost certainly face far more constraints—at least starting out.

But anyone hired for the DC role is likely to face many more constraints, both creatively and financially, at least until they can establish a track record for success.

One anonymous producer made it clear that "there is no ‘other Feige,'" elaborating how “Warner will never give autonomy like that to one person” like Disney has given the head of Marvel Studios

What Will the DCEU Landscape End Up Looking Like?

To start off, Warner Bros. should just admit to itself that they're never going to find a Kevin Feige. He's a one-of-a-kind type of person, and his success will never be replicated by someone actively trying to do so.

For WB to survive and thrive with the DC Comics properties, it's going to have to find its own system. Part one would be to take away some of that absolute power that Zaslav has and sharing it with those trying to get the DCEU slate up and running.

They also need someone familiar with the source material, not to mention passionate about it. Given Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy's history, it does seem like they're the obvious choice to take that leading DC Comics spot for good.

All they really need is a CEO with more experience and one who doesn't make bafflingly bad decisions that'll turn off any and all talent from working with them in the future; always a good starting point.

The next DCEU movie is Black Adam, which hits theaters on October 21.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.