Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shake-Up At Warner Bros. -- Is DC Comics Next?

Will Tsujihara punch a hole in DC's reality?
New Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara is proving that he has no problem shaking things up, with a slew of recent staff changes. Is DC Comics next on the list?

Warner Bros. Television Group president Bruce Rosenblum, a 20-year WB veteran at the company, has just been replaced by Tsujihara with Peter Roth, setting in motion a whole bunch of other comings, goings, and reshuffling. Usually when this sort of Warner Bros. news is reported, DC isn't mentioned -- but they certainly are in this Hollywood Reporter article.

THR reports that Ron Sanders, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, will "expand the retail distribution of DC Entertainment products" -- meaning that DC's characters, if not comics themselves, are solidly on the parent company's radar. DC President Diane Nelson will now directly report to both Tsujihara and Warner Bros. Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov.

And here, when you take into account Tsujihara's prior history with DC, is where things get really interesting.

Tsujihara is not just some "suit" who doesn't understand Comics and is content to look the other way regardless of what happens with the publisher. To the contrary, he was very instrumental in launching the earliest stages of DC's digital comics initiatives. He rolled his sleeves up and was right there in the middle of it all.

So what are his plans for DC now?

I would assume there's going to be way more focus on the digital side, with Marvel expanding in leaps and bounds in this department and leaving DC relatively in the dust. With Sanders now working closer with DC on product, the spotlight is shining more directly than ever on the production of the comics themselves.

(I've made some predictions on the future of the comics industry as a whole here)

We'll see. I would suspect a lot is riding on "Man of Steel" box-office, and it's sort of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation. If the movie bombs, there will be Changes. And if the movie succeeds beyond their wildest dreams, there will be Changes.

The only thing we can be certain of, is Change.