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WB Planning Huge DC Film Output Both Theatrically and on HBO Max

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WarnerMedia, and by extension Warner Bros., is finally getting going again on the DC Universe, except now, according to a New York Times article featuring DC Films President Walter Hamada, they’re doing it in a multiverse and at a much higher pace. DC is now planning to release upward of four theatrical films a year alongside a goal of two “riskier” DC movies on HBO Max. That count doesn’t include a variety of spin-off TV shows in development as well under Hamada’s leadership.

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That multiverse will be built out soon and, according to the article, act much like both the comics and CW TV shows do with multiple Earths occurring. For instance, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, as recently seen in Wonder Woman 1984, will continue to take place in the cinematic multiverse’s “Earth 1” while Robert Pattinson’s upcoming The Batman (and its spin-off TV series) will occur on “Earth 2.” Whether or not there will be more universes isn’t known yet, but considering that Earth 1 has already crossed over into the CW’s TV universe (that also has an Earth 1 and hundreds of other Earths), it pretty much has already happened. It sounds like Hamada and DC are happy to expand the amount of Earths as much as needed so that they can tell the stories they want.

“I don’t think anyone else has ever attempted this,” Hamada said. “But audiences are sophisticated enough to understand it. If we make good movies, they will go with it.”

DC already has a host of films in production or ready to go thanks to the pandemic and their new rapid pace of production, which includes a third Wonder Woman film, the aforementioned The BatmanThe Flash, and the James Gunn-led The Suicide Squad. Two of those movies have HBO Max spin-off shows — Gotham Central for The Batman and Peacemaker for The Suicide Squad — being created with the involvement of the films’ directors. That will be a continued tactic the studio uses as well, with movies getting interconnected shows that will bolster their storylines. It seems like a slightly different tactic than Marvel’s TV approach, with series acting more like prequel/sequel novels or comic books that release alongside a film and help bolster the universe.

“With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?’”Hamada said.

As for the two HBO Max films a year, aside from their being riskier ventures there’s not a clear sign of what these are. It should be noted that “riskier” does not seem to mean boundary-pushing, but instead films that use less popular characters, as the New York Times article suggests that the upcoming Batgirl and Static Shock films could go straight to HBO Max. HBO Max will also be home to a host of other DC TV shows that may or may not integrate into The CW’s already established multiverse, so whatever the final output for these films is, there’s sure to be a ton of DC superhero content coming at us soon.

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Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is a News Writer and film aficionado at Escapist. He has been writing for Escapist for nearly five years and has nearly 20 years of experience reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and video games for both print and online outlets. He has a degree in Film from Vassar College and a degree in gaming from growing up in the '80s and '90s. He runs the website Flixist.com and has written for The Washington Post, Destructoid, MTV, and more. He will gladly talk your ear off about horror, Marvel, Stallone, James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.