Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Geoff Johns & Jon Berg to Run DC Films as DC Extended Universe Fix

Move over, Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios...Here comes Geoff Johns, Jon Berg and DC Films.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that Warner Bros. is changing how it handles its DC Comics-based films, giving oversight to two executives and creating a specific division for the films.  In an attempt to replicate the way Marvel Studios has produced its films under the supervision of Kevin Feige, executive vice president Jon Berg will be teaming with Geoff Johns, DC's chief creative officer, to co-run the newly created DC Films and oversee the DC Extended Universe.

According to the article, the move is "part of a broader refinement of executive roles at Warners, which has suffered a disappointing run of movies and has vexed producers and filmmakers, some of whom complain about a murky greenlight process.  Now, instead of a broad range of movies to oversee, executives will be charged with managing 'genre streams' while reporting to Warner Bros. Pictures president Greg Silverman."

Berg has already been a part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League Part One.  He also serves as a liaison to Ben Affleck, after working with him on Argo and Live by Night, a crime thriller that Affleck recently wrapped as director, writer and star for the studio.

Johns, of course, has been working with showrunner Greg Berlanti on superhero TV shows such as Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, and is overseeing DC's upcoming creative relaunch known as Rebirth.  The article states he's not leaving DC, but adding film to his portfolio, since he was already co-writing the next Batman solo film with Affleck

Berg and Johns will become producers on the Justice League movies.  Johns will still report to DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson, while Berg will report to Silverman.

The article also claims, as most would expect, that the disappointing box office and critical reaction to Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the basis for the move. The studio had high hopes for the movie, which cost at least $300 million to make, but grossed less than $870 million worldwide since its March 25 release.  Critics and fans slammed Snyder, citing the two heroes' unheroic behavior and the overly dark tone, especially in comparison to Marvel's successful films.

This news follows on other recent changes to upcoming DC Extended Universe films, including Affleck being made executive producer on Justice League, increasing his creative involvement in all things Batman.  Warner Bros. also parted ways with screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, who was to have made his directorial debut with The Flash, under the often-cited "creative differences."  The article states "the studio didn’t feel confident in a first-time helmer and is now looking for a more seasoned filmmaker who can not only handle a large $150 million-plus movie but who can also have an authoritative stamp."

And Warner Bros. has been tinkering with the third act of Suicide Squad, the adaptation from director David Ayer which comes out in August.  After the trailers received a positive reaction, the studio reportedly "wants to make sure audiences’ expectations are not only met but exceeded."  The film recently went under major additional photography to clear up the issues, which apparently were not to add humor.  The article claims it was Suicide Squad that escalated Johns’ involvement in DC movies and he's involved in the film’s post-production.

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