Warner Bros. Discovery is thinking big when it considers its future, judging by the latest WBD investor call on Thursday afternoon — which translates into big moves to make big movies, starring familiar characters.
Ahead of talking about its Q3 2022 results — which revealed that the combination of Warner Bros. and Discovery has lost nearly half its market value in the last six months, even as things seem to be stabilizing in the long term — CEO David Zaslav offered some hints about where the company is aiming in the future.
“I am pleased with all we have accomplished in just our first six months as a combined company,” Zaslav said, adding that the company was preparing to continue to make “difficult decisions” to make the company profitable. “None of this is easy, and none of it happens overnight,” he warned, while adding, “Content is the heart of everything we do, and we are investing at the highest levels.”
Zaslav pointed out that the new heads of DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran, have called their new position(s) “a passion project, not just a job,” and he held both up as the primary example of what it means to be an executive in the new WBD. “I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months talking to James and Peter, talking about our strategy and long terms plans for the future of DC across TV, animation and film. They have a powerful vision and blueprint that will drive a more unified creative approach that will enable us to realize the full value of one of the world’s most iconic franchises. They’re hard at work right now.”
Elsewhere on the call, Zaslav specifically named Superman as one of the Warner Bros. Discovery franchises that hasn’t been appropriately treated in recent years, saying, “We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years, we haven’t had a Harry Potter movie in 15 years.” (His dates are somewhat off; Man of Steel, the last Superman solo movie, was released in 2013, just nine years ago.)
The mention of Harry Potter wasn’t an accident, with Zaslav suggesting that the studio could be looking to expand that franchise beyond the existing Fantastic Beasts spin-off franchise. Zaslav mentioned that WBD would be interested “if we can do something with J.K. [Rowling] on Harry Potter going forward,” although it’s unclear what that something could be.
Moving forward, Zaslav told investors, he wanted WBD to “have a real focus on franchises,” though he did not provide any more detail as to what exactly that might mean.
Back in August, Zaslav said that DC was “top of the list” in terms of priorities for WBD.