WB Hires Jon Berg, Geoff Johns To Oversee Future DC Movies
Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 at 10:00 am
No matter how you look at it, Warner Bros.’ recent decisions have been a result of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s disappointing performance at the box office and less than warm critical reception. The studio will be releasing fewer films and focus on their blockbuster tentpoles. Creative differences forced Seth Grahame-Smith to leave The Flash, while reports said James Wan was “feeling tremendous amounts of trepidation” about directing Aquaman. Wan sent out a comforting tweet reassuring fans he was still on board the project.
Despite the rumors that if BvS didnt’ meet certain box office expectations, WB would have moved forward with other DCEU solo features, the studio marches on with the production of Justice League, and going as far as naming Ben Affleck as an executive producer. He continues “to be supportive of Snyder” and that he’ll work with Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio “to make the film the best it can be.”
But it appears as though the changes are not over, as WB is now going to mirror their competitors by creating a brain trust to oversee the DC Extended Universe. More on the story below.
The Hollywood Reporter says Jon Berg and Geoff Johns will now have creative oversight on DC films and be responsible for creating a dedicated division for the films. The move is in response to the recent streak of disappointing films and an attempt at a broader refinement of executive roles at the studio. But the studio isn’t just shifting its gears in the DCEU, but across all “genre streams.” Berg and John will oversee the DCEU; Courtenay Valenti is the head of Lego Movie projects as well as the Harry Potter franchise, which kicks off in November with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Jesse Ehrman and Niija Kuykendall will focus more on comedy/family and sci-fi/action. This won’t be the only shakeup as there is expected to be more changes at the executive level and a potential hire at the senior level.
BvS‘s critical and commercial disappointment serves as the reason for these changes at the studio. The film has grossed under $870 million since its release on March 25 of this year. However, it is the complete opposite over at Marvel Studios with Captain America: Civil War racing towards. $1 billion in less than two weeks of release. Both films had similar themes with two leading heroes fighting. Though most could say that both films had their narrative issues, with some even saying they made similar ones, Marvel delivered a much better product proving you can be light and funny while still exploring dark themes.
If there is one positive thing to get out of this it’s that WB is bringing in the right people to oversee these projects. Berg was already on board multiple DCEU films and has worked with Affleck on more than one occasion on films such as Argo and Live by Night. Johns, a Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics, helped launch DC’s current slate of DC Comic shows Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl – which now has a new home at the CW. The new title doesn’t mean that Johns will be leaving his position at DC, but rather be adding to his portfolio. The two will report to two different people though. Johns will still report to DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson, while Berg will report to Silverman. The hope is that by bringing in these two, John, who is familiar with the comics, and Berg, who has a strong background as a film producer, that the DCEU can stand alongside its competitors over at Marvel Studios.
The fallout has had its devastating effects. While it has been reported that Grahame-Smith left The Flash over creative differences, THR says WB didn’t have confidence in a first-time director helming such a big project. Now they will be looking for a more seasoned filmmaker who can handle a project with a $150 million budget and put an authoritative stamp on the film.
WB is also making sure that Suicide Squad not only meets expectations but exceeds them as well. So the studio recently ordered reshoots to make the film funnier and clear up some of the issues in the third act. Johns involvement in that him helped him earn his new position.
Though the outlook of BvS and the rest of the DCEU looked bleak since last year, these moves can only help the studio improve the quality of those films, and things will hopefully get better as the studio continues to add more figureheads to the respective genres they are setting up.