In shocking news, Warner Bros. Discovery president David Zaslav believes that the studio would make more money if it made better use of its most popular franchises (without overdoing them) and by teaming with talented people to make the projects. No wonder he gets paid the big bucks! As reported by The Wrap, Zaslav stated during a technology conference that properties like Harry Potter, DC, and Lord of Rings have been “underused.”
“One of the other real strengths of Warner Bros. is we talk about the great IP that Warner Bros. owns. But, for us, the challenge is that our content, our great IP — Harry Potter, DC, Lord of the Rings — that content has been underused.”David Zaslav, President of Warner Bros. Discovery
While speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia, Zaslav pointed to the problems plaguing his studio. “One of the other real strengths of Warner Bros. is we talk about the great IP that Warner Bros. owns,” Zaslav said. “But, for us, the challenge is that our content, our great IP — Harry Potter, DC, Lord of the Rings — that content has been underused.”
Zaslav pointed out that it has been 10 years since the studio made a Superman movie, over a decade since fans saw Harry Potter, and that Lord of the Rings movies have laid dormant even longer. Spin-offs like the Fantastic Beasts and The Hobbit gave the franchises they sprang from a pulse for a while, but these storied worlds are suffering from atrophy compared to their heights.
Zaslav said that when the studio’s key franchises are firing, Warner Bros. is the most profitable game in town, and he is ready to ascend once again to the highest of IP peaks and make his shareholders happier than ever.
According to Zaslav, Warner Bros.’s performance is rather unimpressive without its tentpole franchises. An onslaught of familiar stories in new forms is his proposed solution. The plan includes “multiple movies of Lord of the Rings,” as well as a reboot of the Harry Potter story in series form over the course of 10 years, and a decade-long roadmap for the DC universe, courtesy of James Gunn and Peter Safran.
David Zaslav wants “multiple movies of Lord of the Rings” to be released from Warner Bros. Discovery.
One of the exec’s most fascinating comments was his plan to partner with “the best creative people in the world” to pull off his epic Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and superhero revivals. Normally, this would be a meaningless sentiment, but in the context of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, the statement assumes an ironic shade.
Zaslav, along with Disney’s Bob Iger and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, has been painted as a villain in the current Hollywood narrative. Warner Bros. scrapping projects and deleting titles from Max for tax reasons brewed bad blood between Zaslav and the public before the strikes. Now, the story of labor unions versus increasingly greedy, overpaid studio heads is basically canon in the public eye.
More Lord of the Rings movies sound like an exciting prospect, but Zaslav and seemingly every other studio bigwig seem to be ignoring the growing signs of franchise fatigue. Superheroes and galactic rebellions are losing their luster; will more wizards and elves be embraced, or has the moment for Harry and Frodo already passed?
It is often best not to judge a movie or television show before it releases. Zaslav’s upcoming Lord of the Rings movies could be an exciting elaboration on Middle Earth lore; a return to Hogwarts could feel like seeing an old friend after a long absence; the new DC universe may finally be the counter to Marvel that superhero fans long for.
More Lord of the Rings movies sound like an exciting prospect, but Zaslav and seemingly every other studio bigwig seem to be ignoring the growing signs of franchise fatigue.
Or all these movies could play like horse carcasses mercilessly beaten by cash-clutching fists.
In either case, Warner Bros. Discovery seems adamant about blowing the dust off their biggest IPs, which means more Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and DC superhero stories are inevitable. As the studio looks to capture the magic again, fans will continue to hope for the best and prepare for corporate conglomerates’ barbaric ravaging of childhood memories.