As Warner Bros. Discovery continues to restructure its content rollout for the foreseeable future, the execs are looking to find the next big thing that everyone will want to shell out their money on. But for WB, that means going back to the content that made them an industry titan in the first place: big, over-the-top franchises!
Now that Disney has Marvel (and Star Wars, and parts of Fox and Hulu…the list goes on and will likely be going on forever) WB Discovery is turning its focus to what really matters: movie universes that are constantly expanding.
In the Warner Bros. Discovery Q3 earnings call on Thursday, the newly appointed CEO David Zaslav confirmed that the company is going to try to relive that early 2000s golden era when Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter dominated the screens. “We’re going to have a real focus on franchises,” Zaslav explained. “We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter movie in 15 years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of the profits of Warner Bros. Motion Pictures over the last 25 years,” he continues, seemingly forgetting that a new Harry Potter movie, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore arrived in theaters a little over six months ago. But hey, it’s been a crazy year! He might have forgotten about that movie, or maybe he just wants to forget about it, considering all of the various problems and controversies surrounding that franchise. Anyway!
The CEO continued, “So a focus on the franchise — one of the big advantages that we have, House of the Dragon is an example of that, Game of Thrones, taking advantage of Sex and the City, Lord of the Rings — we still have the right to do Lord of the Rings movies. What are the movies that have brands that are understood and loved everywhere in the world?” Technically those rights belong to a separate company, though Warner Bros has a deal with them for any future films (sorry to Amazon).
Zaslav continued that he would like to encourage families to leave their dinner table and instead sit in a dark room in silence while watching these big-budget movies together for the low low price of whatever movie theaters are costing these days. “A focus on the big movies that are loved, that are tentpoled, that people are going to leave early from dinner to go to see — and we have a lot of them. Batman, Superman, Aquaman.”
Then, Zaslav brought up the J.K. Rowling of it all. Throughout her controversial takes, WB has stood by her, probably so that they could be free to make more HP movies when the time comes. It seems like the time has come. According to Zaslav, “If we can do something with J.K. [Rowling] on Harry Potter going forward, Lord of the Rings, what are we doing with Game of Thrones? What are we doing with a lot of the big franchises that we have? We’re focused on franchises.”
The focus on franchises makes sense, but in order to do that, they would need to make up a lot of their lost revenue from this year, and it might be tricky. Hey, there is always time for another Scooby Doo live-action movie. James Gunn must have another idea rattling around his brain somewhere!