Will Greg Berlanti Lead DC Films? or 3 choices for DC Feige Role and How I Learned to Love the Bomb
Written By Mikey Sutton • Editor-in-Chief • Owner
It's only when the dominoes fall will AT&T roll the dice.
The Snyder Cut, once the stuff of speculation, is among the most important of upcoming superhero cinema. It's not a question of will it be received well or not; Warner Bros.' parent company has enough faith in the project to plunk down around $70 million to have it completed. It's how big it will be, how many subscribers is it going to deliver and what kind of social media buzz it's going to generate. It's almost like the DCEU starting over again, cleansing itself from the box-office failures of Joss Whedon's Justice League makeover and Birds of Prey.
Once thought of dead by Warner Bros. executives -- who honestly didn't want to proceed with The Snyder Cut at all -- the DCEU is raging back to life with Rock-solid support. Rock as in The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. While the Twitter support of fans for The Snyder Cut opened eyes at AT&T, make no mistake: The Rock's desire for a connected DC cinematic universe, one that his Black Adam can blast through, played a huge role in its future as WB wanted to focus on standalone, director-driven movies like Joker. That Matt Reeves' The Batman ignores past continuity (for now) is further evidence of WB's initial plans.
But the DCEU didn't meet expectations of either competing with or toppling Disney's MCU for a significant reason: They had no Kevin Feige.
Feige is more than just a producer; he is a creative mastermind, well-versed in Marvel Comics history and equipped with a deep affection and knowledge of film. Double whammy. The DCEU's Geoff Johns matched Feige's comic-book smarts but his vision was in contrast to director Zack Snyder's darker, cynical approach to superheroes, which is probably why Johns seems more comfortable with Greg Berlanti's DC programs on the CW.
If WB is going to pursue the DCEU like they are discussing, they need a map. Dots have to be connected. But who will be the rocket scientist to achieve this? Is WB looking to replace Walter Hamada, President of DC-Based Film Production? I don't know. Nobody will answer that question, out of fear or ignorance. When J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot signed a five-year deal with WarnerMedia in September 2019, certain click-bait sites and YouTube channels began to speculate that Abrams would be the Feige of the DCEU. Some fans dropped to their knees and began hailing Abrams like Thuggees worshipping Kali in the Temple of Doom.
According to my sources, that most likely will not happen. And here is why. Abrams' contract may be for $250 million, but he can earn billions if his creations hit the jackpot for WB. The key word is "his creations." The financial incentives are all about what pours from Abrams' brain and not popping from the pages of DC Comics. Yes, he will produce Justice League Dark on HBO Max and may even direct a DC movie or two; however, his focus, his priority, are on the children of his imagination. Quite frankly, DC isn't why Abrams won the big prize anyway; Warner wants to see another Lost that would lead to subscriber addiction to HBO Max. Abrams' priorities are elsewhere; DC is food at a buffet and not the main course.
Jim Lee seems to be a suitable candidate to be the Feige of the DCEU. He is a comics legend, and his artwork will be admired for generations. But he's not seen as somebody who can coordinate the direction of a cinematic juggernaut. Worse yet, he was Co-Publisher of the failing DC Comics line that lead to Dan DiDio's abrupt dismissal. If he couldn't make comic books sell, how could he bring people to the cinemas? That's what a source told me when asked about Lee's potential.
People have asked me for years why Berlanti, the architect of the Arrowverse bundle of popular DC shows stretched across the CW, wasn't heading DC Films. After all, Berlanti signed a deal with Warner TV until 2024 worth more than $300 million. For all the misinformed criticism of his DC series' ratings on the CW (it has a smaller audience than the major networks and grades on a curve), they rake in big bucks overseas.
Berlanti has experience with a DC movie in the past, 2011's Green Lantern flop, but his original script was butchered. Prior to Disney's acquisition of Fox, Berlanti had an exclusive directing deal with the company. Whether that is still in place or can interfere with him potentially being the Feige of DC Films remains unclear as his agreement was with Fox 2000, which was dissolved this year.
That leaves Snyder himself. HBO Max plans on having Snyder produce more DCEU projects if The Snyder Cut detonates like a nuclear warhead. Could that lead to Snyder becoming the artistic voice of DC Films, of which detractors partially blame him for almost collapsing? Could it be the comeback of all time, Superman returning to beat up the bully who harassed him in Superman II?
The Snyder Cut is everything.
Updated with video soon.