With the exception of ‘Wonder Woman’, Warner Brothers just can’t seem to catch a break and certainly has been no threat to Marvel Studios whose superhero movies continue to do better and better. Just look at their latest smash, ‘Black Panther’! But there might be a villain mightier than Steppenwolf that could wipe out the entire DCEU– the Department of Justice. (Well, that’s ironic…)
Last year, AT&T placed a bid of $85 billion to buy out Warner Brothers’ parent company Time Warner. Things looked to be going well, until the Department of Justice stepped in, citing anti-trust. Attempted settlement talks fell apart in December, so the DoJ filed a lawsuit that could potentially torpedo the entire plan. Should AT&T lose the lawsuit, they will not be allowed to buy Time Warner. If that happens, reportedly Time Warner will be broken up into parts– Warner Brothers, HBO, and Turner– and sold off separately.
DC Comics falls under Warner Brothers, but with such a massive shakeup, anything could happen. DC may get sold off separately. But even if not, whichever company buys WB/DC may have vastly different plans for the brand. It’s no secret that DC Comics, the publisher, is not a huge moneymaker. Its value has always been its intellectual property… the potential its characters have to star in movies, TV shows and more importantly sell toys, collectibles, clothing, decor, coffee mugs, jewelry… hell they made ‘Justice League’ CARS before the movie came out.
As for the film slate, ‘Aquaman’ is shot and in post-production and ‘Shazam!’ is now filming. A sequel to ‘Wonder Woman’ is also pretty much a given. Beyond that, WB seems to be taking a wait and see attitude and is focusing on its bigger name characters. So with Joss Whedon walking away from ‘Batgirl’ with no script, it probably won’t get made. And Chris McKay just took a break from working on ‘Nightwing’ to instead direct ‘Dungeons & Dragons‘ for Paramount, because ‘Nightwing’ isn’t a priority for WB.
It will depend on how well the next few movies do to determine just how valuable the DC brand is. From there, it’s up to AT&T or whoever winds up owning Warner Brothers to determine whether these movies are worth it to keep making.
The Department of Justice/AT&T trial begins tomorrow on March 1.
Source: The Wrap