Media companies are gearing up for the 2020 streaming wars, and Warner Bros. Media is staking its future on the HBO Max streaming service. Well, with Netflix having achieved blockbuster movie success stories with its original film releases (Bird Box, Bright), and Disney+ coming in hot with a whole catalogue of Disney, Fox, Marvel and Star Wars films in pocket, how can HBO Max hope to compete? Why by tapping into the DC Films universe, of course! According to a new report, HBO Max is likely to become the platform where Warner Bros. eventually releases its big DC movie tentpoles!
Variety has a whole breakdown of how the various media companies are preparing for the streaming wars by locking down premium movie content, and that's where we get this little aside about how WB is now viewing the future of DC Movies:
"HBO Max is expected to lean heavily on Warner Bros. to supply it with exclusive content. The subscription service hopes the studio will provide it with eight to 10 movies, a number that could ramp up over time... Some of these productions could be tentpole-sized, with healthy budgets that could rival those of major feature films. Eventually productions will likely hail from the DC Universe, WarnerMedia's in-house comic book division, as it looks for compelling content."
So, before we all get too jazzed about all this, it's clear that this "plan" is one that is going to slowly be rolled out, as Time Warner pushes into securing exclusive content for HBO Max - but it is a logical (unavoidable?) step for the streaming service to make. Locking down movie content that is exclusive to your service, and capable of generating major mainstream buzz is a very tricky task (just ask Netflix), with a lot of the hit-or-miss uncertainty that used to be part of a movie studio endeavor, rather than the reliance on massive franchises and brands to help guarantee a big audience and even bigger payout. The DC Films franchise is probably the biggest and best "Sure Bet" franchise that Warner Bros. currently has (outside of a Harry Potter resurgence), and offering viewers content from that franchise would definitely draw a crowd.
...Of course, judging from the low impact of DC's current streaming venture, DC Universe, it's hard to say just how much of an impact HBO Max's DC Movie offerings would have. Since it would be a sub-section of a larger media library, the viewer reach could arguably be exponentially higher.
Joker is now in theaters. Upcoming DC Movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2020.