Warner's Superhero Plans

July 11, 2008–A superhero summit is under way. Warners and DC Comics are holding talks to plan a master strategy for their superheroes features.

Warner has not had such strategy, and the studio has been slow to exploit potential franchises. While the studio is getting races for The Dark Knight, studio rivals score big from Marvel Comics characters, and Marvel itself got into the business.

There will be another Batman picture, but Warner has no movies based on the classic DC universe to preview at this years Comic-Con. Warner has scripts for Justice League: Mortal, which teams up DC characters and Green Lantern. Justice League suffered from the writers strike hit, but Green Lantern gained momentum lately.

The studio is keeping details of its meetings under wraps, but issued a statement: Were constantly looking at how best to exploit the DC Comics characters and properties. Warner and DC have been lethargic in getting comic properties, with only Batman and Superman established in movies. In fact, Warners watchers may feel a certain deja vu, though, with all this talk of giving DC more attention.

In the past, Warner said it was aware it could lose an entire generation of fans if it didnt get its characters into the movies. Were not going to let that happen, said a senior VP.

Warners has long been the only studio home for DC heroes. It must pass on any DC character before it can be licensed to another studio, and Warner almost never passes. It keeps the characters in development. the one exception: Summit recently acquired rights to DC/Wildstorms Red.

In the case of the Superman franchise, scribes, directors and stars came and went. Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage famously had pricey pay-or-play deals that the studio had to cover when Superman Lives was aborted.

Warners has not ignored its DC legacy: Besides The Dark Knight, 300 helmer Zack Snyders adaptation of DCs seminal Watchmen is slated for winter release. And DC characters have been more successful than Marvels in TV, most recently with Smallville.

Besides Green Lantern, which Greg Berlanti will write and direct, DC characters that are known to be in line to become movies include Wonder Woman, which Joel Silver has had in development, and the Flash, with David Dobkin attached to direct.