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View Full Version : DC Comics storms the film world


stingermck
07-20-09, 10:30 AM
Similar to the thread of Marvel announcing their film slate for the next few years, DC is finally getting their act together and moving forward.

Lengthy article from The Hollywood Reporter:

Page 1:

In the comics universe, where characters are endlessly reborn and re-outfitted, a motto from the 1980s -- "DC Comics is on the move" -- could just as well apply to the current, hyperactive state of the publisher as it relates to Hollywood.

A year after "The Dark Knight" became a worldwide phenomenon, there are more DC Comics adaptations in the works than at any other point since the company was acquired by Warner Bros. in 1969.

Among the projects on front burners:

-- "The Losers," an action-adventure drama starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans, begins principal photography this week in Puerto Rico.

-- "Jonah Hex," a supernatural Western starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich, recently wrapped production in Louisiana.

-- "The Green Lantern," Warners' next big superhero tentpole, is set to star Ryan Reynolds after a long search.

-- Fox has picked up the TV series "Human Target," starring Mark Valley, for the fall.

-- And, in a rare example of a film project that has ventured off the Warners reservation, DC has set up "Red," a spy thriller to star Bruce Willis, at Summit.

"One of the things that has differentiated us for most of the last 20 years is the depth of our library and the depth of the creative material that we've put out and the opportunities that creates for other media," DC Comics president Paul Levitz said.Still, when "Dark Knight" invaded theaters last summer, critics of DC and Warners complained there didn't appear to be a grand strategy in place to exploit DC properties.

In contrast, DC arch-rival Marvel moved quickly in the wake of its successful "Iron Man" to stake out a series of release dates for a slew of movies, branding them as part of one big Marvel universe leading to "The Avengers," which arrives in 2012.

But DC and Warners have taken a different approach, arguing that DC has a wider breadth of books than other comics companies. They insist their situation isn't comparable to Marvel, which already has licensed out to other studios a number of its biggest titles: Spider-Man is housed at Sony, and X-Men and Fantastic Four are at Fox.

With fewer marquee superheroes, Marvel works like an animation studio: It only develops select projects and makes most of what it develops, while DC is managing a much larger portfolio.

Still, in the wake of "Dark Knight," DC and Warners have made strategic moves in the superhero realm, including centralizing the way DC's titles and characters are developed. In the past, Warners optioned a property, paying DC a fee comparable to what a property could command on the open market. But while the projects ostensibly were being developed under one roof, many were spread out over a host of producers, each with different visions for how to approach each adaptation.

To bring competing approaches into sync, Levitz and DC's Los Angeles-based film exec Gregory Noveck have overseen a reorganization of the development slate. While Warners execs still drive the creative side, DC now has more input, making it an actual participant in the shaping of material.

"The creative process is by and large a true partnership," Noveck said. "They'll ask us a ton of questions, and we'll give a ton of answers. We will talk back and forth. We'll discuss writers and talent, but ultimately it's their decision."

This past fall, Warners quietly hired three of DC's biggest writers -- Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Marv Wolfman -- to act as consultants and writers for its superhero line of movies. The move involved taking back the reins on projects being handled by such producers as Charles Roven ("The Flash") and Akiva Goldsman ("Teen Titans").

Some agents and scribes grumbled about being forced to work with the consultants, never mind that Johns started his career as a assistant to "Superman" director Richard Donner or that Wolfman has worked in animation since the 1980s.


Page 2:

The moves have begun to pay off. Johns worked up a new treatment for a "Flash" script, being written by Dan Mazeau; Johns will act in a producer capacity on the project, which has not attached a director.

The projects Morrison and Wolfman are working on are in the early stages at Warners, whose execs declined to comment.

The process involves one writer taking point, though the trio do collaborate on projects, reading one another's materials while hashing out a story that will be at once accessible to nonfans yet still adhere to each character's long history. The writers also work in tandem with producers, writers and the Warners execs overseeing the projects, showing them treatments and providing notes on scripts.

Meanwhile, other superhero projects are moving forward at Warners.

The studio is taking pitches on sci-fi hero Adam Strange and the underwater-breathing hero "Aquaman," to be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way shingle.

Also in the pipeline: "Bizarro Superman" being written by "Galaxy Quest" scribes David Howard and Robert Gordon; a sequel to "Constantine," with Goldsman and Erwin Stoff producing; two concurrent Green Arrow projects, an origin story and a prison-set one titled "Super Max"; and "Shazam," which was set up at New Line but has moved to Warners, with Pete Segal attached to direct.

Unsung in the lineup is Warners' line of straight-to-DVD animated movies released via Warner Premiere. "Green Lantern: First Flight," the latest entry, will premiere at this week's Comic-Con and has a July 28 street date.

These movies, produced on budgets in the $3.5 million range, apparently overperformed their targets. "First Flight" is the fifth straight-to-DVD title, with "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" in production for a Sept. 29 release.

In the home entertainmentarena, DC has overshadowed Marvel, with 2007's "Superman-Doomsday" generating $9.4 million in revenue and last year's "Batman: Gotham Knight," taking advantage of the tidal wave of support for the Christopher Nolan movie, generating $8 million, according to tracking site The-Numbers.com. "Wonder Woman," released in March, already has chalked up $4.4 million. Marvel's top seller, "Ultimate Avengers 2," has pulled in $7.7 million.

Not that all the stars in the DC firmament are aligned yet.

Warners and DC still haven't figured out how to translate "Wonder Woman" to the big screen. In part, that failure reflects the difficulties DC has had turning out a popular Wonder Women comic. Morrison, during a recent Q&A with Clive Barker at Los Angeles' Meltdown Comics, admitted he didn't have a complete handle on the character when he was writing the comic "Final Crisis."

Also, ever since Bryan Singer's 2006's "Superman Returns," a new Superman has been in limbo.

"Our hope is to develop a Superman property and to try again," Warner Bros. Entertainment president Alan Horn said in April. "What hurt us is that the reviews and so on for the Superman movie did not get the kind of critical acclaim that Batman got, and we have other issues with Superman that concern us."
On the Batman front, a sequel to "Dark Knight" also is quite a way off. Nolan is open to doing a third installment, but his next movie is "Inception," an original script he penned and is shooting for Warners.

All that has put a damper on any movie about the Justice League, whose roster includes the above-mentioned heroes as well as myriad others including Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. DC would like to present some of the main heroes in their own movies before they are brought together for one big outing, so "League" currently is inactive.

On top of that, there could be another change in how Warners approaches the DC characters, with studio chiefs debating whether to put the operation under one super-exec.

To bring the next generation of superheroes to the screen, DC and Warners might yet have to unleash their own super powers.

achau9598
07-20-09, 11:28 AM
So, Reynolds is going to be Green Lantern, but Deadpool is being made at Fox, right? Wasn't there some comment from Fox that they wouldn't let him be superheroes for both studios?

RocShemp
07-20-09, 11:36 AM
They're shooting a movie about The Losers here in Puerto Rico? I wonder if I can get a job on that. Which reminds me that I'm still owed money for The Rum Diary.

DiCaprio is producing Aquaman? Will he also be starring in that?

Maxflier
07-20-09, 11:57 AM
Aquaman is already getting a reboot?

mdc3000
07-20-09, 12:19 PM
^Vinnie Chase?

The Bus
07-20-09, 12:20 PM
The Losers :up:

Although the story takes place (in the series) in the Middle East and Europe.

tanman
07-20-09, 06:38 PM
I wish they were doing something similar like Marvel with the avengers. How cool would that be to assemble the Justice League in a similar fashion? But I would argue that the individual team members of the Justice League are much better known then the Avengers and it would be very difficult to make all their stories and interpretations fit with each other. I mean I don't see The Dark Knight and Superman Returns fitting together very well.

Sessa17
07-20-09, 06:49 PM
The Losers is the only one I'm really excited for.

GL just doesn't translate into a good film, & I was excited for Red, but Morgan Freeman just kills my interest in that movie.

Giantrobo
07-20-09, 06:57 PM
You guys may not know this but I'm a HUGE DC fan. All this sounds good to me. :D

Solid Snake
07-20-09, 07:04 PM
I wish they were doing something similar like Marvel with the avengers. How cool would that be to assemble the Justice League in a similar fashion? But I would argue that the individual team members of the Justice League are much better known then the Avengers and it would be very difficult to make all their stories and interpretations fit with each other. I mean I don't see The Dark Knight and Superman Returns fitting together very well.

As you somewhat hit the nail in the head...I think Superman can easily fit into a JLA film...the only issue with a JLA film is that NOLAN's Batman could never ever fit well with the other characters. He's just too damn dark to be in the JLA and to make it work out would be nuts. That idea they had a while back was ridiculous as well...

shadowhawk2020
07-20-09, 07:15 PM
I wish they were doing something similar like Marvel with the avengers. How cool would that be to assemble the Justice League in a similar fashion? But I would argue that the individual team members of the Justice League are much better known then the Avengers and it would be very difficult to make all their stories and interpretations fit with each other. I mean I don't see The Dark Knight and Superman Returns fitting together very well.


No worries, Alfred could watch Superman's kid...

My Other Self
07-20-09, 07:22 PM
I would think a fixed Superman series would be top priority over Green Lantern and some of this other stuff they're spitting out. I guess they were content with the $1B+ for TDK to not worry about another huge franchise at the moment.

calhoun07
07-20-09, 07:30 PM
So the previously proposed Metal Men movie has been scrapped? (No pun intended.) The lack of any mention of it made me wonder.

Solid Snake
07-20-09, 07:56 PM
He's not a real big superhero....

devilshalo
07-20-09, 08:03 PM
No Metal Men or Teen Titans....???

Kurtie Dee
07-20-09, 08:56 PM
Teen Titans could bust out with the X-men crossover, too. I lost sleep waiting for that comic as a kid ...

fujishig
07-20-09, 09:03 PM
They mentioned Teen Titans above.

I'm surprised about Aquaman and Constantine 2. But I am happy about the roles of Johns, Morrison, and Wolfman, especially Johns. I'm amazed that they cannot quickly reboot the Superman franchise after Returns... just forget that whole movie ever happened, much like they did with Supes 3 and beyond, and go from there.

calhoun07
07-20-09, 09:45 PM
He's not a real big superhero....

I meant Metal MEN, not Man. Shoot, I didn't even know there was a superhero called Metal Man.

And Metal Men may not be a big comics team but I think that just gives a chance for the movie to be accepted on it's own terms rather than what people might expect it to be.

Deftones
07-20-09, 09:47 PM
glad to see they are starting to move on more properties. but they still need to do up superman right. i liked the last supes movie, but it was heavily disappointing in the action department.

davidh777
07-20-09, 10:02 PM
the losers :up:


the losers is the only one i'm really excited for.


+1

dx23
07-20-09, 10:30 PM
Which reminds me that I'm still owed money for The Rum Diary.


You are not the only one. I have several friends that are also owed money from the film.

RocShemp
07-21-09, 12:07 AM
As you somewhat hit the nail in the head...I think Superman can easily fit into a JLA film...the only issue with a JLA film is that NOLAN's Batman could never ever fit well with the other characters. He's just too damn dark to be in the JLA and to make it work out would be nuts. That idea they had a while back was ridiculous as well...

Batman has been plenty dark in the JLA. That's why he formed (and then distanced himself) from the Outsiders. Nolan's approach with his Batman films has been to make the world of Batman as plausible as possible. I don't see a mostly realistic (the water vaporizing machine that doesn't vaporize humans from Batman Begins was a bit much) Batman meshing well with a flying bulletproof alien.

RocShemp
07-21-09, 12:13 AM
You are not the only one. I have several friends that are also owed money from the film.

Although it's good to know I'm not the only one, it still blows. Lemme guess. The missing checks relate to the blue receipts that were incorrectly handed out the first time around?

dx23
07-21-09, 07:14 AM
Although it's good to know I'm not the only one, it still blows. Lemme guess. The missing checks relate to the blue receipts that were incorrectly handed out the first time around?

Yep!