Six DC films per year planned for theatrical, HBO Max release

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

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DC Films is preparing to go all-in on superhero content in order to grow WarnerMedia's streaming service HBO Max thanks to the Christmas debut of Wonder Woman 1984. Over the Christmas break, fans of all things capes and cowls flocked to HBO Max (where available) to experience Diana Prince's latest adventure, and she brought a whole lot of new subscribers along for the ride. Now that the streaming platform has proven to be a viable avenue for launching tentpole projects, DC Films President Walter Hamada is re-thinking the studio's release strategy. How? By splitting the studio's superhero projects between theaters and the streamer, of course.

Recently while speaking with The New York Times, Hamada revealed that the most expensive movies on DC's upcoming superhero slate will be designed for theaters, while smaller projects will be heading to HBO Max. Naturally, theatrical releases will be reserved for films like James Wan's Aquaman sequel, Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam, as well as The Flash. For now, Hamada and the company's goal is to release four tentpole films a year beginning in 2022. Meanwhile, smaller, "riskier" comic book films like Batgirl and Static Shock will debut on HBO Max.

In addition to releasing two cost-conscience superhero films a year, HBO Max will also be the home of any spinoff series that serve as extensions of the movies. Per Hamada's chat with The Times, “With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?’” Speaking of spinoffs, DC already has several of these projects in the works, including series related to The Batman and The Suicide Squad. Hamada also plans to continue fleshing out the DC Extended Universe timeline, wherein multiple versions of characters exist across a multitude of timelines.

“To make all the storylines work, DC Films will introduce movie audiences to a comics concept known as the multiverse: parallel worlds where different versions of the same character exist simultaneously. Coming up, for instance, Warner Bros. will have two different film sagas involving Batman — played by two different actors — running at the same time,” Hamada explained to The Times.

“Boiled down, it means that some characters (Wonder Woman as portrayed by Ms. Gadot, for instance) will continue their adventures on Earth 1, while new incarnations (Mr. Pattinson as ‘The Batman’) will populate Earth 2,” The Times elaborates. “‘The Flash,’ a film set for release in theaters in 2022, will link the two universes and feature two Batmans, with Mr. Affleck returning as one and Michael Keaton returning as the other. Mr. Keaton played Batman in 1989 and 1992.”

“I don’t think anyone else has ever attempted this,” Hamada said while speaking about the exciting prospects of DC's Multiverse. “But audiences are sophisticated enough to understand it. If we make good movies, they will go with it.”

While all of this is very exciting, fans looking forward to Zack Snyder's Justice League are likely to be upset when they hear that DC has no plans to extend the filmmaker's long-awaited HBO Max event. While speaking with The Times, executives for DC Films told the outlet that Snyder's 4-part Justice League presentations are “a storytelling cul-de-sac — a street that leads nowhere.” Now, just because Snyder's version of Justice League doesn't go anywhere beyond the 4-part event, that doesn't mean that characters featured in the film won't have more to do on HBO Max. If anything, you'll be seeing plenty from your favorite characters as DC continues to explore the possibilities both in theaters and on HBO Max. At the end of the day, things are looking up for DC fans, especially after a year plagued by disease, delays, and drawbacks.

Source: The New York Times

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.