Major shakeup at Warner Bros. with the nwes that Executive VP Jon Berg and DC CCO Geoff Johns will be co-running the DC Films banner at the studio. This pairing of a seasoned film exec and a well respected comic veteran will hopefully is Warner Bros. attempting to unify the disparate elements of the DC movies and hoping that they can emulate the way Marvel Studios has produced its films under the vision of president Kevin Feige. But sources also say Warners still wants to remain a filmmaker-driven studio. As part of their new jobs, Berg and Johns will become producers on the Justice League movies.
Warner Bros. and DC bet big on Batman v. Superman, but scathing reviews and mixed audience reactions led to less than stellar return at the box office. Zack Snyder and David Goyer were key in shaping the look and content of the entire DC line which is scheduled out through 2020. Many fans including this one, disagreed with Snyder’s creative decisions and worried about the future of the cinematic universe. The film grossed less than $870 million dollars, and while it will be profitable, it wasn’t the home run the studio hoped it would be.
In contrast, Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War is cruising towards over $1 billion dollars in less than two weeks in theaters. The strong screenplay, well choreographed action, and strong mix of serious themes with a sense of fun has obviously connected well with the same audience Batman v. Superman struggled to reach.
The shuffle, as well as Berg and Johns’ new positions, come as other changes are being implemented on the DC movies. For example, Affleck was recently made an Executive Producer on Justice League and increased his presence on all things Batman moving forward.
Johns’ has been working with the studio on the upcoming Suicide Squad film that is currently in post-production. He is also co-writing the solo Batman film with Ben Affleck. He was also key in working with Greg Berlanti on the television shows Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. He will continue to work at DC, but is now adding film to his duties.
Berg was already working on BvS, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Justice League. He also is a conduit to Ben Affleck, having worked with the actor-filmmaker on Argo and Live by Night, the crime thriller Affleck recently wrapped as director, writer and star for the studio.
Johns will still report to DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson, while Berg will report to Silverman.
Production is already underway for Justice League in London with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot reprising their roles as the DC Trinity, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Joining them are Jason Mamoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and Ezra Miller as The Flash. Amber Heard is set to play Queen Mera in the film as well before moving to the solo Aquaman movie in 2018, Willem Dafoe is appearing in a mystery role, with Jeremy Irons returning as Alfred Pennyworth and J.K. Simmons playing Commissioner Gordon. Justice League will debut in theaters on November 10, 2017.
In related news, the studio is still searching for a replacement director for The Flash after Seth Grahame-Smith left the project a few weeks ago. Reports are the studio was uncomfortable with first-time filmmaker handling such a big project, and is a seeking a more seasoned filmmaker.
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