The turmoil that seemingly never ends for Warner Bros. in regard to its DC property. Give us a month that is blessedly free of drama and rumors and speculation and the next month brings double. Now more turmoil under the guise of righting the ship is heading DC's way.
In May of 2016, Warner Bros. shook up its studio structure, forming the DC Films division and putting DC comics veteran Geoff Johns and studio exec Jon Berg in charge. Less than a year and a half later and the studio is shaking things up again in the wake of #JusticeLeague stumbling at the box office and in critical and fan reception.
Variety is reporting that Berg is stepping out of his role running the DC Films comic book division and will instead be partnering with producer Roy Lee, who helped produce hit movies for Warner Bros. like IT and The Lego Movie. Lee has an overall deal with the studio, so Berg's talents will be focused on the other viable franchises WB has going for it.
Apparently, that had been the plan for a while, with Warner Bros. Picture Group President Toby Emmerich saying that Berg had approached him about the move half a year ago. Emmerich sent assurances to Variety, explaining that Berg had "expressed his goal was ultimately to be a producer at the studio" and that Johns will continue to serve as DC Entertainment's chief creative officer. The search for Berg's replacement is currently in the works.
Still, it doesn't mean it's all smooth sailing and business as usual at Warner Bros. (is it ever for the DC division?). Variety is also reporting that Emmerich is considering rolling the DC Films division back into the studio's main operations, putting them all under the same roof on the lot. While Marvel Studios operates largely independently from Disney, both Sony and Fox's superhero films are all produced under those studios rather than under a separate banner. It makes sense that Warner Bros. would do the same. All due respect to the studio, but it's not Disney and DC Films isn't Marvel. If the long-rumored Time Warner-AT&T merger goes through then WB might have the means to run DC Films as a separate division, but for now, it makes sense to have everything under the same umbrella.
Still, at some point, you have to wonder if the constant shakeups within Warner Bros. and its uncontrollable public relations gaffes has harmed the DC brand past the point of no return, at least in the approach they've been trying to force since Man of Steel. This isn't the first time and underwhelming box office performance has prompted Warner Bros. to drastically restructure its operations—the formation of DC Films and appointments of Johns and Berg were in direct response to the critical failure of #BatmanVSuperman. A studio restructure after each movie that flounders isn't a recipe for long-term success.
Maybe the best thing to do is take a step back after the release of Aquaman, do an honest and complete reassessment of where the studio is at, and go from there.
Aquaman is set to hit theaters on December 21, 2018.