- DC wants to make two superhero movies a year that would be exclusive for corporate parent WarnerMedia’s streaming service, HBO Max, according to a New York Times profile of DC Films president Walter Hamada published on Sunday.
- The company is still planning to make up to four movies a year for theatrical release starting in 2022.
- The plan comes amid Hollywood shock over Warner Bros.’ decision to release all of its 2021 movies simultaneously on Max and in theaters due to the pandemic, including the DC tentpole “The Suicide Squad.”
- “With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?'” Hamada told the Times.
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DC’s movie ambitions are coming into focus.
The company behind the likes of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman wants to make two superhero movies a year exclusively for corporate parent WarnerMedia’s flagship streaming platform, HBO Max, according to a New York Times profile of DC Films president Walter Hamada published on Sunday.
The Times noted that movies based on characters like Batgirl and Static Shock would go straight to Max while the “most expensive DC movies” would stick to theaters.
DC still plans to release up to four theatrical movies a year starting in 2022.
DC and its parent company Warner Bros. did not immediately responded to requests for further comment.
The revelation comes amid Hollywood shock over Warner Bros.’ plan to release all of its 2021 movies simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. Those movies will be available to stream for 31 days before leaving for an exclusive theatrical run (the movies will play in international theaters as intended, as Max has not launched outside of the US yet).
Warner Bros. already implemented this hybrid model with “Wonder Woman 1984” over the weekend. The movie grossed $16.7 million at the US box office, the best domestic opening for a movie since the coronavirus pandemic began. 2017’s “Wonder Woman” earned $103 million in its debut, which just shows how much the pandemic has impacted the theatrical industry.
Meanwhile, WarnerMedia said on Sunday that half of Max’s retail subscribers — as in, those who subscribe directly to Max rather than through a cable provider — watched the movie on its premiere day on Friday.
The reasoning behind DC’s long-term goal for its movies come down to a couple factors.
First, WarnerMedia is looking for ways to boost Max, which has struggled to convert existing HBO customers and sign up new ones since launching in May. Max had 12.6 million activations as of December 8 (Max and HBO had 38 million subscribers combined as of October). DC, with its collection of popular characters, is an essential part of that, and not just on the movie front. Multiple big-budget DC TV shows are in the works, from spin-offs of upcoming theatrical releases like “The Batman” and “The Suicide Squad” to standalone projects like “Green Lantern” — and a director’s cut of “Justice League.”
Second, DC and Warner Bros. have so far lagged behind Marvel and Disney in creating a cross-platform franchise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the highest-grossing movie franchise of all time with multiple TV spin-offs coming to Disney Plus starting this year. During a recent investor day presentation, Disney announced 10 new Marvel TV shows that are in the works.
“With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?'” Hamada told the Times.