At the highly-anticipated, for all the wrong reasons, Warner Bros. Discovery earnings call, the future of the DC brand at the newly merged company, as well as the recent cancellation of the Batgirl movie, got some time in the spotlight. CEO David Zaslav fielded a question from a caller addressing these two hot topics.
Suffice to say, we did not get much of an actual response with regard to Batgirl, but the underlying message was that Warner Bros. Discovery simply did not feel that Batgirl was of a quality to release. That seems like a tenuous reason to shelve a $90 million movie, but that was approximately the only answer given.
Zaslev began by saying:
The Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group has fantastic IP and a great history, as you know where they’re turning 100. Between DC and the animation group, together with the entire…library our ambition is to bring Warner back and produce great high quality films.
DC is [at] top of the list for us, we have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman. These are brands known everywhere in the world ability to drive those everywhere in the world is a group opportunity for us.
He continued noting that they have restructured that aspect of the business and put together a team with a ten-year plan focusing on DC. In his response, he alluded to Disney, Marvel Studios, and Kevin Feige’s MCU plan. He noted, “We think we can build a long term much stronger sustainable growth out of DC.”
He then went on to say,
We are going to focus on quality… We are not going to release a film before its ready… DC is something we can man make better and we’re focusing on it now… Black Adam, Shazam, and The Flash, we’ve seen them we think they’re terrific and we think we can make them even better.
Following that, Zaslev discussed the idea that a direct-to-streaming model for an expensive movie was simply not worth it economically. And that instead, the focus for Warner Bros. Discovery, when it came to DC, would be on theatrical releases.
Again, Zaslev added, that the company would “Focus very hard on quality… [and will] not launch a movie until it’s ready or to make a quarter. [The company is] not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it.” The underlying messaging here, that they did not believe in Batgirl.
Ultimately, the answer concluded with words that felt, again, as subtle digs to the newly-canceled properties, including Batgirl and Wonder Twins.
With DC… We want to pivot and elevate and focus.
[We want to] grow DC brand, grow DC characters… Our job is to protect the DC brand and that’s what we’re going to do.
There you have it, folks.