Warner Bros. Film Chief Talks Competing Against the Avengers With the Justice League

By June 3, 2015

Warner Bros. Pictures ‘ President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production Greg Silverman has an unenviable task in front of him: since he and his studio hold the keys to the kingdom of DC Comics characters — the most direct rival to those of Marvel Comics — he has to make sure that a strategy involving many of these iconic heroes and villains is at least as good as what audiences have come to expect from the genre, largely due to the critical and commercial success enjoyed by the likes of Marvel Studios.

With WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara reportedly having a desire to pin the studio’s financial hopes on three pillars — Harry Potter spin-offs, Lego movies, and DC superheroes — Silverman has to try and enact that. Sounds like a stressful job, but the relatively young executive strategizing on just how the films based on DC Comics can compete with an ongoing franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe sounds confident. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Silverman took the questions about DC vs. Marvel at the movies head-on. When asked about how DC Comics-based movies in the burgeoning new universe would set themselves apart from Marvel’s offerings, he was coy, but sure of what they’re doing.

The first major test for the strategy will be 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The first major test for the strategy will be 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

We have a great strategy for the DC films, which is to take these beloved characters and put them in the hands of master filmmakers and make sure they all coordinate with each other. You’ll see the difference when you see Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, Justice League and all the things that we are working on.

He was also asked about the perception of a lack of humor and levity in Man of Steel and in the first trailer for Batman v Superman, and compared the approach of the various filmmakers to the formula that Christopher Nolan followed: don’t make a genre film per se, make a solid film that features genre elements.

There is intensity and a seriousness of purpose to some of these characters. The filmmakers who are tackling these properties are making great movies about superheroes; they aren’t making superhero movies. And when you are trying to make a good movie, you tackle interesting philosophies and character development. There’s also humor, which is an important part.

One of the other major questions Silverman fielded revolved around the production of Wonder Woman, specifically the recent change that was made in the director’s chair. Thankfully, he at least gave a perspective that didn’t sound like it went through a spoksesperson first.

We had a very intensive process looking at everybody. Patty [Jenkins] and Michelle [MacLaren] were really the ones who came to the forefront the first go-round, so when things didn’t work out with Michelle, we all knew we had someone great who had expressed interest before. She came back and is doing a great job. But it was never about the best female director. She has demonstrated doing amazing work with female characters, such as in Monster.

As for how successful these films will be, we’ll have to find out first when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016, followed on August 5th by Suicide Squad. For more on DC films as they take shape, keep an eye on GeekNation.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • tommymadden3

    ugh still a long way to go before they start coming out :/

    • USAjoe

      I know man, hang in there

  • Daniel

    Wish I could have Silvermans job, I think I would do very well in that position 😀

  • Jane Keating

    I don’t think there is any competing with the Avengers!

    • Andy Spears

      yeah my thoughts exactly.. I’d still like to see them try though, wouldn’t you? 😉