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Warner Bros. shuffles its DC film executive ranks after ‘Batman v Superman’ criticism

May 17, 2016

In the wake of poor reviews for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Warner Bros. is making significant changes to the oversight of its DC Entertainment film slate. 

Warner Bros. Vice President of Development and Production Jon Berg and DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns have been tapped to lead the newly created DC Films brand, according to a person familiar with the matter who did not want to be named discussing internal matters at the company.

The changes come in response to the lukewarm reception for “Batman v Superman,” the $250-million superhero mashup that was intended to set up a series of films including “Wonderman” and the two-part “Justice League.” 

Berg will continue to report to Warner Bros. production President Greg Silverman, while Johns will continue to report to DC Entertainment head Diane Nelson. 

Warner Bros. declined to comment.

Although the movie was not considered a financial disaster, its $870-million worldwide gross is a mild disappointment for the studio, according to analysts. Meanwhile, Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War” is expected to cross the $1-billion global box-office mark this week. 

The critical reception for “Batman v Superman” was decidedly negative, with reviewers and fans highlighting its dark and gloomy tone. 

Berg and Johns had already been considered part of an unofficial “brain trust” for the DC Comics franchise. The unofficial brain trust was also said to include “Batman v Superman” director Zack Snyder, his producer-wife, Deborah, and Charles Roven, producer of director Christopher Nolan‘s “Dark Knight” trilogy.

But the reorganization officially designates the two executives with leadership roles related to the upcoming Warner Bros. superhero films. 

Some industry insiders have suggested that the divergent results between the steady run of hits from Disney’s  Marvel Studios and Warner Bros.’ rocky start with its DC cinematic universe can be traced to the different ways in which creative decisions are made at the two studios.

Marvel’s movies are all personally overseen from start to finish by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. Analysts have noted that Warner Bros. has so far had no such single figure creatively overseeing its DC films.

Warner Bros.’s next DC film is “Suicide Squad,” which recently underwent reshoots. “Wonder Woman” is now in post production, and “Justice League” is in the midst of shooting. 

The changes at Warner Bros. were first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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