It’s a great time to be a fan of DC films.
The studio just pulled off something few would’ve thought possible a few years ago by delivering a film about Aquaman that is the toast of the town. No, forget that. The town? More like The World.
And they’re set to follow that up with a Shazam! film that I’m supremely confident about based on everything I’ve heard, and a Joker movie I’m convinced is going to surprise moviegoers everywhere this fall. They’ve got Birds of Prey actively filming, and chatter about The Batman has reached a bit of a fever pitch of late.
So if you’re someone who was sounding the death knell for DC on film after Justice League, I hate to break it to you, but it’s alive, well, and prospering.
That’s why I have one simple wish for the folks running- and working at- the studio:
Get a grip on all of the leaks.
Last year, at virtually this same time, I published a column about the studio’s messaging problem; The fact that there seems to be a new rumor every other week about a DC project. And I was given hope that they were on the case. With DC Daily, the idea was to be able to control the narrative. It was going to be how DC would silence or confirm what’s out there, transforming that show into the ultimate source for DC news.
But up to this point, with regard to taking hold of the narrative, the show’s been a bust. It hasn’t become this authoritative, definitive news outlet it could’ve- and should’ve– been.
So here we are a year later and there’s still new scuttlebutt about what’s going on with DC projects floating around all the time. And it’s a problem that I would say is systemic. Because I don’t think any other studio deals with half of this Loose lips, Sink ships nonsense. There appears to be a culture at WB/DC that doesn’t do nearly enough to dissuade employees and independent collaborators from blabbing online about what they’ve heard.
The result is this undercurrent and narrative that the studio is all over the place.
Take, for example, the stories I covered yesterday. A gentleman who’s an independent freelance market research analyst went on some podcast and was able to divulge all kinds of inside dirt about Justice League and Aquaman. And they’re apparently still working on Shazam! How is that sort of thing okay? Why didn’t WB make them sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
It’s that kind of stuff that perplexes me about the studio’s culture when it comes to leaks. That should’ve never happened.
You don’t see anyone who works for Disney-owned studios spilling those kinds of beans (cause trust me, there’s drama there, too. You just don’t hear about it). You don’t know the INs and OUTs of everything going on at Sony. When Paramount announces a new Mission: Impossible movie, you don’t see a million rumors about what it might be about or who some insider thinks could be the villain. Because by and large, most of the major studios have a way of staying out of the headlines.
Yet when it comes to DC, many of the folks who work there even on a freelance basis seem to feel totally emboldened and okay sharing any nugget they hear about in the hallways. To me, it’s just bizarre.
That’s why I’m going to do my best to keep rumors and the spreading of leaks to a minimum this year. Because yes, it’s fun to talk about this stuff, but not when it gets to the point that we’re making it damn near impossible for the filmmakers working on the projects we love to do their jobs in peace.
While I have no control over DC or how they handle leaks, I have full control over what’s published on this site. So I’ll do my small part by trying my best not to contribute to the noise out there.
Because yesterday was a perfect example of how it’s all a double-edged sword. I enjoyed sharing some insights shared by someone who actually worked behind the scenes on those films, mainly because that stuff fascinates me and I think it’s cool to ponder What Ifs?
But then I turn around and see how people take that knowledge and weaponize it towards WB/DC and I’m filled with regret.
So I’ll do my part but to avoid that in the future, but here’s hoping someone at DC finally changes the culture over there because right now is a time for celebration; For victory laps; For glimpses at an exciting future. Not for more moaning and complaining about the past and how that makes you uncertain about the future.