Warner Bros. to exploit DC superheroes
An article appeared this week about how Warner Bros. are looking to really use their deal with DC Comics to not only produce films, but also reach out into other revenue streams, and as an example he tipped his hat to Disney as the cross-marketing leaders.
Now read into that what you will, but I think it's clear that we're going to see toys, games, video games, graphic novels, online cross-overs, all adding to the films that are to come.
Oh, and he also has a warning for all those buying Harry Potter films on DVD and Blu-ray.
This story tells us that the deal with Warner Bros. and DC Comics is about to get much more entrepreneurial rather than the custodial way they've been running it. In other words, prepare for cross channel marketing and film saturation. That means plenty of DC films and seeing DC appearing in all manner of other revenue streams, not that the big names aren't already.
The comment that really hit me in this story though was the following:
“...in about a month Warner Bros. will unveil a spread sheet detailing how the various superheroes will be reintroduced to consumers, and on more than just feature film platforms.”
Now that's the The Hollywood Reporter article, not the quote from CEO Barry Meyer who was speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, but it is rather telling.
Warner Bros. have a spreadsheet that shows how each DC character is going to be sold and marketed and what products and direction we'll see them go. All that on a spreadsheet?
To add to that there's a comment at the beginning of the article that reinforces the idea that this is all about business and not about the characters or making good films.
If you're in a meeting with CEO Barry Meyer discussing DC Comics superheroes, you might want to think twice before saying things like, "But Batman wouldn't say that."
The tone of the article, and this might just be the reporter's take on it all, does sound as though the business giant is walking in to market the life out of these characters and make money, no matter what. Now to be fair it's definitely a tone I'd take as well, where's the love for the characters? Where's the investment in making good products for the audience out there?
I would be concerned if I was at DC, and I would be working hard to try and ensure these characters come out the other end unscathed.
Meyer also said a few other interesting comments. One was a joke about the Harry Potter franchise that really isn't too far off the mark, it's actually not funny and more worrying for the future.
"We're going to remake all the movies with Justin Bieber."
Let me reinforce that, it was a joke when a member of the audience asked about the end of the franchise and he was concerned, after all they predict the franchise will have brought in $7.5 billion worldwide by the end, and that's a big revenue stream to lose – just imagine if they had been more faithful to the books and instead of chopping wads of the story out they made more films? Looking back the accountants are probably kicking themselves.
Yes, a joke it was, but it's not funny because in Hollywood you could really see that happening. Five to ten years time I could see the latest young marketing dream being dropped into a remake.
He did have something to say that should remind all Harry Potter fans, and all DVD and Blu-ray purchasers, to beware the multi-dip, that's when a DVD, Blu-ray or digital version of the film is released with the bare bones, then you get a future release with extras, then the director's cut, the definitive version, and for franchise box sets start appearing through multiple releases with new extras, and so on.
He told everyone gathered that there's going to be a mammoth box set for Harry Potter, described in the article as “the greatest DVD gift set of all time”. Save your money and don't buy early.
So prepare for products galore to pour out from all the DC characters you can imagine, from Batman to Superman, from...no forget it. Look at the mammoth list yourself, there are tons.