Time Warner Chief Jeff Bewkes on DC Comics Movies: 'There's a Little Room for Improvement'

Cynthia Littleton

Time Warner chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes told investors Wednesday that there is “a little room for improvement” in the creative execution of Warner Bros.’ DC Comics movie slate. But he stressed that the two titles released to date have been financially successful and have achieved the larger strategic goal of reinvigorating classic DC characters for a new generation of moviegoers.

Referencing the lukewarm critical response to this year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, Bewkes admitted during his Q&A at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia investor conference: “The DC Comics characters … have a little more lightness in them than maybe what you saw in those movies, so we’re thinking about that.”

Bewkes said the studio has enlisted DC Comics entertainment president Geoff Johns and production guru Jon Berg to take a firm hand in guiding the upcoming DC releases. But he sees no reversal in Warner Bros.’ ambitious plan for releasing a string of DC-branded tentpoles through 2022, with Wonder Woman and Justice League to come next year.

“The strategy worked,” Bewkes said. “The execution did deliver what we wanted to do. We can do a little better on the creative. … We’re right on course or better” with the plan, he said, citing Suicide Squad’s legs at the box office. To date the pic released in August has grabbed about $720 million at the worldwide box office.

“The main thing was to launch DC and reinvigorate it with the fan base,” he said. “The reboot of Batman with Ben Affleck (in the role) was a big success.” He also noted that the fan reaction to actress Gal Gadot’s debut as the Wonder Woman character in Batman v Superman has been positive.

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