In a strategic move, Warner Bros. Discovery’s CEO and President, David Zaslav has snipped off three major and upcoming projects of DC, namely Batgirl, Scoob! Holiday Haunt, and Wonder Twins. Although the latter was yet to step out of the pre-production stage, the other two were nearly launch-ready. The cancellation has hit the newly minted WB Discovery at its grassroots emergent image and David Zaslav has had nothing to add except defense for his radical decision.
David Zaslav Cites an MCU-Like Strategy For DC’s Future
Upon the merger of AT&T’s WarnerMedia with Discovery in April 2022, the newly minted company of Warner Bros. Discovery appointed David Zaslav as its CEO and President. Under his leadership, the company has been making brushstroke changes to the entire strategic form of DC and its programs. And the first major step-down that he incorporated was to move away from single project releases to a “10-year plan focusing just on DC”, not too dissimilar to that of Kevin Feige’s MCU.
Zaslav mentioned, “The objective is to grow the DC brand, to grow the DC characters. But also, our job is to protect the DC brand. And that’s what we’re going to do.” While talking about the recent cancellation of Batgirl, he mentioned that the film’s “quality” was not at par with what he has envisioned for DC — “We’re not going to launch a movie until it’s ready. We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quarter and we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it.”
WB Discovery’s Shift From HBO Max to Theatrical Releases
To look at it purely from a business perspective, DC’s curriculum of launching projects directly on streaming platforms was hurting more than it was promoting. Zaslav claimed, “This idea of expensive films going direct to streaming — we can’t find an economic case for it, we can’t find an economic value to it, so we’re making a strategic shift.”
Moreover, the practice of producing direct-to-streaming projects under the WB and DC banner was largely promulgated under the former leadership spearheaded by Ann Sarnoff and Jason Kilar at WarnerMedia. In retrospect, that wasn’t a business savvy move on WB’s part and it didn’t build on the larger DC brand image.
“We will fully embrace theatrical as we believe that creates interest and demand, provides a great marketing tailwind, and generates word-of-mouth buzz as films transition to streaming and beyond. We have a different view on the wisdom of releasing direct streaming films, and we have taken some aggressive steps to course correct the previous strategy.”
Related article: Blackhawk: Steven Spielberg’s DC Movie Gets New Update
For now, David Zaslav is very encouraging of future DCEU projects such as The Flash, Black Adam, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods. It remains to be announced, however, when the WB Discovery CEO plans to launch his long-term vision for DC or who will be responsible for heading that team.
DCEU’s next release will be Black Adam, which premieres on 21 October 2022.