Warner Bros. To Announce ‘Organizational Shift’ at DC This Week

Over the weekend, the Hollywood Reporter posted that some possible big changes are in store for DC Comics.  When speaking at a conference, Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer said that they'd been looking at DC in a "custodial way" but now they'll be "much more entrepreneurial."

Warners is looking at the end of their incredibly long and lucrative Harry Potter business, and DC might just be the ticket to a recurring tentpole slate of movies, which studios love.  But what does that mean for the actual comic book publisher?  I guess the announcement will clear that up.

The way I see it, and this is just speculation, obviously, is that DC has long existed as a legacy portion of the company.  They might make a profit for the parent company, but it's obviously not the kind of thing that's going to move the ticker all that much in terms of the movie studio as a whole.  It always felt as if DC was safe because of some sort of legacy, but eventually some bean counter is going to get some executive to notice it, and they're going to have to put up the dollars or shut the doors. It's a reality of business.  I've always worried about the light being shined too bright on them, and the possible loss of autonomy that would come with it. We've already seen the changing of the guard in terms of Paul Levitz being out, and Diane Nelson being in.  We've heard rumors of a move to Los Angeles as well.  It's anybody's guess what this announcement will be, but it could be big.

A move to LA would change things greatly, I think.  There's a whole staff living in New York. Would they relocate? Would new people be hired? We've seen Zuda change a great deal, but how safe is Vertigo going forward? Outside of Constantine, there haven't been many properties produced from their books that I can think of.

I'll be waiting with anticipation for the announcement later this week.

The real thing that interested me about this story was the first line:

Advice to Warner Bros. film execs: If you're in a meeting with CEO Barry Meyer discussing DC Comics superheroes, you might want to think twice before saying things like, "But Batman wouldn't say that."

What does that mean? Is it that he doesn't care what Batman would say? Or that he knows what Batman would say, so don't try to tell him.  Or some other thing I never even thought of?



  1. This could actually be good for the pure comics portion of DC.  If Warner starts really leveraging DC’s incredible IP value, it may view the comics as advertising.  Meaning that they may be more willing to allow that element of the company to lose money if it increases the profitability in other areas (licensing, films, tv, etc).  DC may end up less restricted, in terms of cost control, allowing them to give struggling books more time to get traction and affording them the ability to experiment more.  I don’t particularly care how terrible the movies/tv series become, due to parent company interference, if the change results in more interesting comics.

    Or Warner could get really hands on and destroy DC as we know it.  I’m going to hope for the best and expect the worst (as usual). 

  2. Josh, I think you’re certainly on to something vis-a-vis the California speculation. Jim Lee is already out there, and by all accounts his work on the DC MMO was deemed both successful and strategic by the higher ups. And when asked recently in an interview (I forget where I read the Q&A), I believe neither Lee nor DiDio denied California as a possibility.

  3. By the way, unless I’m mistaken, what I describe above has actually happened on multiple occasions.  Specifically, in the medical field, where (if I recall correctly) some medical journals have essentially been purchased and converted into marketing tools by pharmaceutical companies.

    (I didn’t think I’d be comparing WB to a pharmaceutical company today.) 

  4. California sounds very realistic at this point with the boom in new sci fi TV shows over the last few years. I’d bet dollars to donuts that WB wants to take some of the smaller properties(wishful thinking is Vertigo series but stuff like Smallville is a better guess) and make them into hour long drama’s. Having the main office of the property you’re adapting in the same city would make the whole collaborative effort a lot easier and more natural.

  5. it be interesting to see the cost of business with DC being in NY vs DC being in LA. Would it cost less to have operations right beside you? i would assume so, but then again i didn’t graduate with a business degree.

    Was there any indication that this annoucement would happen this week?

    And in regard to the Batman comment, it almost sounds like that line means that we will do what it takes to get batman to see, which doesn’t make sense, because Warners clearly has a product that is representitive of what Batman would do and grossed a billion dollars.

  6. My pessimistic view of what the statement regarding the CEO was trying to say is that he doesn’t care about the legacy and long held personalities of the charcters, just that they exist at all.  That being said, we all know Batman has had many incarnations, with many differences, and many of these are enjoyed, so maybe he has a point. 

    But hey I could be reading way to much into that statement as well.

  7. "There will be an organizational announcement next week, then in about a month Warner Bros. will unveil a spread sheet detailing how the various superheroes will be reintroduced to consumers, and on more than just feature film platforms."

  8. WB is selling DC to Disney!

  9. I kinda thought the spreadsheet thing was a joke.

  10. @Dan Now that would truly be the biggest news to hit the comics industry ever

  11. @josh Thanks, didn’t even see the link above, and i was seraching very hard for something. sorry about that!

  12. @RoiVampire  That would break the internets.

  13. from what i’ve heard and read the DC move to SoCal has been rumored for like 20 years, but the new leadership basically had the entire NYC staff in full panic mode. Seems very inevitable.

  14. Didn’t we just have an organizational shakeup?  The anticiapation is killing me.

  15. My hope is pushing Warner Bros pushing DIGITAL DC COMICS in hopes to user this as advertising, get more people reading.

    DO IT!!! The digital comics revolution needs a huge push (and some publicity) otherwise it won’t be a revolution at all and nobody will even notice they are out there. 

  16. @Jdudley I was just thinking the same thing after reading jimski’s article.

  17. @spoons Amen brother! Those who are entirely opposed to digital comics are part of the problem holding the industry back. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting my hands on the paper but anyone who thinks that the single issue format is going to endure and thrive in print is fooling his or herself. A big splash made by DC/Warner announcing weekly day and date digital sales of ALL titles would make national headlines and would attract a ton of attention to the new digital market (doing so slowly over the next 5 years would attract virtually no attention outside of the 300k hard core fans)

  18. So DC comics isn’t making money? is that the basic problem? 

  19. Advice to Warner Bros. film execs: If you’re in a meeting with CEO Barry Meyer discussing DC Comics superheroes, you might want to think twice before saying things like, "But Batman wouldn’t say that."


    I think this means that the comic oriented past doesn’t matter when moving to new mediums.  The company will treat the characters in a way that is most profitable, short and long term.  If a great director/writer team want to make a Spectre movie with a soldier serving in Afghanistan instead of Jim Corrigan, detective — so be it.  If a Wonder Woman movie works better if she’s a teenager, they’ll do it. 

    The comics company is a fantastic source of ideas with a very limited audience.  They will not hesitate to alter what that audience thinks is sacrosanct if it makes a better, more successful movie.  Christopher Nolan’s Batman is markedly different than Bob Kane’s/Bill Finger’s.  Worked out fine.  Batman will say whatever Nolan thinks is right.

    Anyway, that’s what I think it means. 

  20. That’s what I was thinking too.