DC Studios
FormerlyDC Films (2016–2022)
Company typeDivision
Industry
GenreSuperhero fiction
Founded
  • May 2016; 8 years ago (2016-05) (as DC Films)
  • November 1, 2022; 20 months ago (2022-11-01) (as DC Studios)
Founder
Headquarters4000 Warner Boulevard, ,
United States
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • James Gunn (co-chairman and co-CEO)
  • Peter Safran (co-chairman and co-CEO)
  • Chantal Nong (EVP)
  • Candice McDonough (EVP, publicity and communications)
  • Galen Vaisman (VP, creative development)
Products
  • Motion pictures
  • Television shows
Brands
Parent
Websitewww.dc.com/movies
Footnotes / references
[1][2][3][4][5][6]

DC Studios (originally known as DC Films from 2016 to 2022) is an American film, television, and animation production company that is a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD). The studio has been led by filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran as its co-chairmen and co-CEOs since November 2022. It is responsible for the production of live-action and animated films and television series based on characters appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.

The studio was initially formed in May 2016 as DC Films and was led by comic book writer and producer Geoff Johns and producer Jon Berg as part of Warner Bros. Pictures to oversee the DC Comics–based film productions, primarily those in their flagship media franchise and shared universe, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). After several DCEU films were met with poor reception and underperformed financially, Johns and Berg left by the end of 2017 and the studio was reorganized, with Walter Hamada hired as the president of DC Films in January 2018. After WBD became Warner Bros.' owner in April 2022, DC Films was overhauled and Hamada left in October 2022. Gunn and Safran, who had both worked on some DCEU media, then assumed control of the company, when it became DC Studios, and the duo began work on a new franchise, the DC Universe (DCU), to serve as a reboot of the DCEU.

From 2016 to 2023, the studio released 13 films within the DCEU, initially as DC Films from Suicide Squad (2016) to Black Adam (2022), and after becoming DC Studios, it released Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023) to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023). DC Studios is set to begin releasing films within the DCU, starting with Superman (2025). The first television series originally produced by the studio is the animated Creature Commandos, which is set to premiere in 2024. Since 2023, DC Studios also inherited and produces content not set within the continuity of the DCEU or the DCU as part of the "DC Elseworlds" label, and has produced several films part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner.

The studio's films Aquaman (2018) and Joker (2019) are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, with Joker becoming the first R-rated film to gross over $1 billion. The studio has been involved with the production of other DC Comics character–based film franchises that have grossed $1 billion at the box office, including the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman multi-film franchises.

Background

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During DC's National era, the company licensed Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (and other All-American Comics characters) to Republic Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures for advertising serials, shorts and feature films. Other comic characters, such as Fawcett Comics' Shazam and Quality Comics' Plastic Man (which ultimately sold to DC), also had a serial short.

After the release of the first feature-length Batman film, Kinney National Company (later Warner Communications) purchased National Comics Publications in 1967 and then Warner Bros.-Seven Arts in 1969. This purchase meant that the comic company's television and theatrical distribution turned over to Warner Bros., which led to the launch films and television series based on DC characters. In the late 1980s Warner Bros. acquired a full distribution rights after the release of the Superman and Swamp Thing films. The Batman films once again marked a return to the big screen.

History

Further information: Development of the DC Extended Universe and DC Universe (franchise) § Development

Formation as DC Films and initial developments (2016–2022)

Geoff Johns at Midnight Comics in 2011 for a comic book signing
Geoff Johns, the co-founder and former co-chairman of DC Films who oversaw the DCEU from 2016–2017

After the divisive reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Warner Bros. Pictures made moves to stabilize the direction of its unofficially named media franchise and shared universe the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The studio reorganized in May 2016 to have genre-responsible film executives, thus DC Entertainment franchise films under Warner Bros. were placed under a newly created division, DC Films, created under Warner Bros. executive vice president Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, the chief creative officer of DC Comics. This was done in hopes of competing more directly with Marvel Studios' franchise the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Johns also kept his existing role at DC Comics.[3] However, the division's formation was not designed to override the "director-driven" mandate.[7]

Justice League (2017) had one of the biggest film budgets (nearly $300 million) but grossed about $96 million in its opening weekend. An analysis in The Washington Post expected that there would be a course correction again, with a possible change in leadership.[8] Forbes contributors felt that the course correction would be for DC Films to give up on the shared universe, while continuing with the Wonder Woman films and occasionally other films, as Warner Bros. has other franchises they can work with.[9] Despite this, in December the studio reiterated their current film slate for the unofficially titled DC Extended Universe.[10] That same month, Warner Bros. announced that a new strategy and organization of DC Films would occur with Berg leaving his position as the studio's co-president of production to form a Warner Bros.–based production company with Roy Lee, the producer of the Warner Bros. films The Lego Movie (2014) and It (2017). In January 2018, Warner Bros. executive Walter Hamada was appointed as the new president of DC Films, to oversee the films in the DC Extended Universe. Hamada was closely associated with New Line Cinema, and helped develop horror films, such as It and The Conjuring film franchise.[11]

Restructuring and immediate changes (2022)

In April 2022, after the merger between Warner Bros.' parent company WarnerMedia and Discovery, Inc. to form Warner Bros. Discovery, the new CEO David Zaslav was exploring a restructuring of DC Entertainment, including having a creative leader akin to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to lead its film and television projects.[12] Later in July, Toby Emmerich stepped down as the head of the Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group. The group was restructured to give DC Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, and Warner Animation Group respective leadership. Former MGM executives Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy became the co-executives of Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema. They were also temporarily signed to oversee the remaining units of the group until the new positions were filled.[13][14]

When the release of the film Batgirl was canceled by Warner Bros. Discovery in August, Hamada was reportedly not consulted regarding the decision and only learned about it when De Luca and Abdy informed him at a test screening for Black Adam (2022). Hamada was upset and considered resigning, but agreed to stay until Black Adam's release.[15] Later that month, Dan Lin entered talks to oversee DC's film and television divisions. From this position, Lin was expected to report directly to Zaslav, while Hamada would depart the studio.[16][17] In September, Lin and Warner Bros. Discovery ended negotiations and agreed to part ways.[18] During Black Adam's Times Square premiere in October, star and producer Dwayne Johnson said he could be a consultant at DC Films, helping the studio find its next creative leader.[19] Later that month, it was reported that De Luca had been effectively running DC Films in place of Hamada.[20] On October 19, Hamada departed from the company, just two days before the release of Black Adam.[21]

Rebranding as DC Studios and new leadership (since 2022)

James Gunn smiling wile on set filming the 2025 film Superman in 2024
Peter Safran smiling in a photo portrait in 2008
Filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran were named co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios in October 2022 and began planning the new DC Universe.

Shortly after Hamada left his position, James Gunn and Peter Safran – who previously worked together on the television series James Gunn's PG Porn, DC Films' The Suicide Squad, and that film's spin-off series Peacemaker – were revealed to serve as the co-CEOs and co-chairmen of the studio, and DC Films was rebranded as "DC Studios". The duo was tasked to oversee the production of films, television, and animation under the DC label, reporting directly to Zaslav, while also working alongside but independently of heads of other divisions. Gunn oversees the creative development on DC projects, while Safran oversees the production side. Their roles began effectively on November 1, 2022.[1][22][2][23]

In November, Gunn said that the studio would focus on multiple DCU live-action and animated projects, but also stated that they would acknowledge fan responses and complaints,[24] and confirmed all subsequent DC projects would be released under the DC Studios banner, including those that were filmed prior to the rebranding.[25] In December, Gunn announced that he was writing a new Superman film that feature a younger actor in the role. Henry Cavill was not set to return as Superman, while Ben Affleck, who portrayed Bruce Wayne / Batman in the DCEU, was reported to be in talks to direct a new DC Studios project, before Affleck stated that he was not interested in directing a DC film.[26][27] Gunn later revealed that new DC films would have an equal focus on popular and obscure characters, drawing inspiration from the DC animated series Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006) and Young Justice (2010–2022).[28][29]

Gunn and Safran announced the first chapter of their universe titled "Gods and Monsters" on January 31, 2023. They also assembled a writers' room that included Drew Goddard, Jeremy Slater, Christina Hodson, Christal Henry, and Tom King.[28] Projects that are not a part of the shared universe will be branded as "DC Elseworlds".[30] The following month, Gunn confirmed development for animated films within both the DCU and DC Elseworlds.[31] Gunn said in March that they were working on potentially incorporating characters from DC's Vertigo Comics imprint beyond the Swamp Thing film,[32] and said the following month that there were plans to incorporate characters from the DC-owned Milestone Media, such as Static.[33] In February 2024, Gunn and Safran worked with Warner Bros. Discovery corporate siblings to acquire the Christopher Reeve documentary Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story (2024).[34][35]

Management

Current

Former

Production library

Films

For a more comprehensive list, see DC Extended Universe § Films, DC Universe (franchise) § Films, and List of films based on DC Comics publications.

Live-action films

All of the live-action films by DC Films and DC Studios are distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Released films by DC Films
Title Release date Director(s) Production partner(s) Franchise
Suicide Squad August 5, 2016 (2016-08-05) David Ayer DC Extended Universe
Wonder Woman June 2, 2017 (2017-06-02) Patty Jenkins
Justice League November 17, 2017 (2017-11-17) Zack Snyder
Joss Whedon[a]
  • RatPac-Dune Entertainment[b]
  • Atlas Entertainment
  • Cruel and Unusual Films
Aquaman December 21, 2018 (2018-12-21) James Wan
Shazam! April 5, 2019 (2019-04-05) David F. Sandberg
Joker October 4, 2019 (2019-10-04) Todd Phillips Joker film series
Birds of Prey[c] February 7, 2020 (2020-02-07) Cathy Yan
DC Extended Universe
Wonder Woman 1984[d] December 25, 2020 (2020-12-25) Patty Jenkins
Zack Snyder's Justice League[e] March 18, 2021 (2021-03-18) Zack Snyder
The Suicide Squad[d] August 5, 2021 (2021-08-05) James Gunn
  • Atlas Entertainment
  • The Safran Company
The Batman March 4, 2022 (2022-03-04) Matt Reeves
The Batman shared universe
Black Adam October 21, 2022 (2022-10-21) Jaume Collet-Serra
DC Extended Universe
Released films by DC Studios
Title Release date Director Production partner(s) Franchise
Shazam! Fury of the Gods March 17, 2023 (2023-03-17) David F. Sandberg
  • New Line Cinema
  • The Safran Company
DC Extended Universe
The Flash June 16, 2023 (2023-06-16) Andy Muschietti
  • The Disco Factory
  • Double Dream
Blue Beetle August 18, 2023 (2023-08-18) Ángel Manuel Soto The Safran Company
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom December 22, 2023 (2023-12-22) James Wan
Upcoming films by DC Studios
Title Release date Director Production partner(s) Franchise Status
Joker: Folie à Deux October 4, 2024 (2024-10-04) Todd Phillips
  • Bron Studios
  • Village Roadshow Pictures
  • Creative Wealth Media
  • Joint Effort
Joker film series Post-production
Superman July 11, 2025 (2025-07-11) James Gunn DC Universe Filming[45]
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow June 26, 2026 (2026-06-26) Craig Gillespie Pre-production[46]
The Batman – Part II October 2, 2026 (2026-10-02) Matt Reeves
  • 6th & Idaho
  • Dylan Clark Productions
The Batman shared universe In development[47][48]

Documentary films

DC Studios documentary films
Title Release date Directors Production companies Distribution partners
Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story September 21, 2024 (2024-09-21) Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui

Animated films

For a more comprehensive list, see DC Universe Animated Original Movies.

Overview of DC Studios animated films
Title Release date Director(s) Production partner(s) Franchise Distributor Status
Legion of Super-Heroes February 7, 2023 (2023-02-07) Jeff Wamester Warner Bros. Animation Tomorrowverse Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Released
Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham March 28, 2023 (2023-03-28) Sam Liu and Christopher Berkley
Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen,
Part One
April 25, 2023 (2023-04-25) Kerry Shawcross
RWBY
Justice League: Warworld July 25, 2023 (2023-07-25) Jeff Wamester Warner Bros. Animation Tomorrowverse
Scooby-Doo! and Krypto, Too! September 26, 2023 (2023-09-26) Celica Aranovich Hamilton Scooby-Doo
Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen,
Part Two
October 17, 2023 (2023-10-17) Kerry Shawcross, Dustin Mattews, and Yssa Badiola
  • Warner Bros. Animation
  • Rooster Teeth Productions
RWBY
Merry Little Batman December 8, 2023 (2023-12-08) Mike Roth
Bat-Family Amazon Prime Video
Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One January 9, 2024 (2024-01-09) Jeff Wamester[49] Warner Bros. Animation Tomorrowverse Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Two April 23, 2024 (2024-04-23)
Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three July 16, 2024 (2024-07-16) In production
Watchmen: Chapter 1 August 13, 2024 (2024-08-13)[50] Brandon Vietti[51]
TBA
Watchmen: Chapter 2 2025 (2025)[50]
Aztec Batman: Clash of Empires[52] TBA Juan Meza-León
Max Latin America
Batman Ninja vs. Yakuza League[53] TBA Jumpei Mizusaki and Shinji Takagi
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Television

For a more comprehensive list, see DC Universe (franchise) § Television series, and List of television series based on DC Comics publications.

Live-action series

DC Studios live-action television series
Series Released Showrunner Production partner(s) Franchise(s) Original network(s) Notes
Peacemaker 2022–present James Gunn DC Extended Universe (season 1)
DC Universe (season 2)
HBO Max (season 1)
Max (season 2)
Season 2 onwards
The Sandman Allan Heinberg
  • Warner Bros. Television
  • PurePop Inc.
  • The Blank Corporation
  • Phantom Four
The Sandman shared universe[54] Netflix
Dead Boy Detectives 2024 Steve Yockey
The Penguin 2024[55] Lauren LeFranc
  • Warner Bros. Television
  • 6th & Idaho
  • Dylan Clark Productions
The Batman shared universe Max Miniseries; Post-production

Animated series

DC Studios animated television series
Series Released Showrunner(s) Production partner(s) Franchise Original network(s) Notes
Teen Titans Go! 2013–present Aaron Horvath
& Michael Jelenic
Warner Bros. Animation Cartoon Network Season 8 onwards
Harley Quinn 2019–present Justin Halpern
Harley Quinn universe DC Universe (2019–2020)
HBO Max (2022–2023)
Max (2023–present)
Season 4 onwards
Batwheels 2022–present Michael G. Stern
  • Warner Bros. Animation
  • Bang Zoom Ltd.
HBO Max
Cartoon Network
Season 2 onwards
My Adventures with Superman 2023–present Jake Wyatt Warner Bros. Animation Adult Swim
Kite Man: Hell Yeah! 2024[56] Justin Halpern
  • Warner Bros. Animation
  • Yes, Norman Productions
  • Delicious Non-Sequitur
Harley Quinn universe Max In production
Batman: Caped Crusader 2024[57] Bruce Timm
Amazon Prime Video
Creature Commandos 2024[58] James Gunn Warner Bros. Animation DC Universe Max
Bat-Family TBA Mike Roth[59] Warner Bros. Animation Bat-Family Amazon Prime Video In development[59][60]

Notes

  1. ^ Whedon was hired by Warner Bros. Pictures during post-production to significantly alter the film. He is credited as co-screenwriter, while his directing was credited theatrically as executive producer. Despite this, Snyder retains sole credit as director of the film.
  2. ^ In home release, RatPac-Dune Entertainment was replaced with Access Entertainment (RatPac's current owner) and simply Dune Entertainment, following the rape and sexual harassment allegations against RatPac-Dune's CEO, Brett Ratner.[42]
  3. ^ Also known as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey or the full title of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).[43][44]
  4. ^ a b Released simultaneously on HBO Max
  5. ^ Released as an HBO Max exclusive

See also

References

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