The Future of DC Films: Theatrical and HBO Max

by Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr
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Article by Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr

When compared to their “competition across the street”, DC Films has not found the same movie success in recent years, though all that could be changing from 2021.

Walter Hamada, as president of DC Films, is beginning to chart a new course for Batman, and his fellow DC Comics superheroes. What will be intriguing to see is whether his non-fanboy personality and management will be successful. According to The New York Times, his home office is modest and light on “cape-and-cowl collectibles”. While Marvel’s success comes from a singular, fanboy-like, vision; DC Films has always left the vision with its movie’s directors.

That model works well when telling individual stories and sequels, but when building an interconnected universe? Not entirely. Although it was exciting to see the studio attempting a different approach, and Hamada’s style, while not necessarily one that comes from a fanboy-like vision, seems to be a melding of the two. With contradicting storylines and multiple incarnations of certain characters in the modern era, he had to figure out what to do: make them coexist, or start over.

As we know, The Flash’s solo movie will be based on Flashpoint, and will introduce Hamada’s solution: the multiverse. While a common trope used in comics, we’ve only begun to see this used in live-action with The CW’s Arrowverse; specifically on The Flash but which has also bled into the other shows, and ambitious crossovers. While Hamada has said:

I don’t think anyone else has ever attempted this

By the time DC Films introduces their multiverse, audiences will have been introduced to it by Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse and Madness. Maybe even in Marvel/Disney+’s WandaVision.

Hamada’s right though:

Audiences are sophisticated enough to understand it. If we make good movies, they will go with it.


Hamada has big plans to build out the DCEU. Starting in 2022, HBO Max will release four movies a year designed for a theatrical release, but he’s aiming to have less expensive endeavors, likely with riskier characters, arriving exclusively on the streaming service (the goal being two a year). Not surprisingly, he’s also working with filmmakers to develop TV spinoffs for HBO Max that will interconnect with their big-screen counterparts (see Matt Reeve’s The Batman spinoff, and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad spinoff, Peacemaker):

With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, “What’s the potential Max spinoff?”

While all of this is very exciting, it does seem like familiar territory. Justice League (and the greater DCEU in general) seemed like a play to catch up to Marvel and their MCU. At face value, this seems like a play to catch up to the next phase of the MCU, which involves both the multiverse and TV shows on Disney+, but things seem different now.

DC Films has had success with their latest releases (Aquaman, Shazam!, Joker, and Wonder Woman 84) and has shown they’re willing to give fans what they want (the Snyder Cut). Couple those things with a more singular vision with Hamada, and we could see a well thought out and more fruitful DCEU in the future.

What do you think of the future of DC Films? Are you excited to be getting more? Do you think they should build out the DCEU or stick with singular stories that aren’t bogged down by greater story? Let us know in the comments!

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