DC, Warner to Form Super Strategy

Warner Bros. is sure to make a killing with the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, but plans for its DC Comics properties are sketchy beyond that. Daily Variety reports that the two units are getting together to work out a master plan for world media domination. The move comes as competitor Marvel Studios catches fire with its first two self-financed features, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, and executes a plan to keep the Marvel universe thriving on the screen.

While Marvel has a full slate of superhero pics with character cross-over in the pipeline, collaborations between Warner and DC have been sporadic up to this point. Batman will surely make a return to the big screen soon, but prime properties Superman and Justice League aren’t being handled with any urgency. After a long stay in development hell, the very expensive Superman Returns made money, but didn’t establish the tentpole the studio hoped it would. The property has been more successful in television with the long-running series Smallville. Director George Miller has been trying to get his Justice League film made, but the project remains in limbo following its derailment during the writers’ strike. Ideas for a Green Lantern pic are also being batted around. The only DC-based movie in production at the moment is director Zach Snyder’s Watchmen, based on the Alan Moore graphic novel.

The one area where Warner Bros. has been exploiting the DC Universe fairly heavily is animation. The Justice League and Teen Titans cartoon series have been big hits on Cartoon Network, and the direct-to-video animated features Superman Doomsday and Justice League: The New Frontier have been strong sellers at retail. The anime feature Batman: Gotham Knight hit stores this week and Wonder Woman is in production. A live-action Wonder Woman has long been in development, as has a Flash movie.