To date, Warner Brothers has produced exactly one movie based on DC's comic books that was both a critical and financial success: Wonder Woman. The other three have each been slightly different flavours of "visually inspired, but narratively messy". Despite all of that, though, DC believes everything's fine.
Image: Warner Bros.
In a new, in-depth analysis from Vulture, a number of DC executives laid out their internal logic and the vision they have for the future of their movies, and suffice it to say that they're optimistic. According to DC's head creative officer Geoff Johns, much of that positive outlook stems from the fact that DC Entertainment — the branch of Warner Bros. that handles DC's comic book properties — is working much more closely with Warner Bros. proper in shaping its films.
Though dust-ups, delays, and rumours of actors wanting to leave have suggested that DC and Warner Bros. might not quite have a grasp on successfully bringing the unofficially-named DC Extended Universe to fruition, DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson insisted that everything the studio is doing right now is "intentional".
Johns also emphasised that DC and Warner Bros. are very seriously trying to build a different sort of shared-film landscape than rival studio Marvel is.
While there will be more DC films like Wonder Woman that are integral pieces to a much larger cinematic universe, the studio also wants to champion projects such as the recently-announced Joker movie, that takes place in a completely different continuity that's unrelated to the movies we've already seen.
Our intention, certainly, moving forward is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn't make sense, but there's no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity in that universe.
On paper, Nelson's comments read exactly like what you would expect DC executives to say about their plans, but it's difficult to square away that calculus when you look at the current state of DC's superhero movies. Warner Bros. wants to have a "core", interconnected universe while also putting out a series of standalone movies featuring some the same characters. But the real question is whether the studio can actually pull it off and not shoot itself in the foot while doing it.