DC Comics Restructures as DC Entertainment, Paul Levitz Out as President
Following the recent news that Disney will buy Marvel for $4 billion, DC Comics had some big news of their own to announce today. DC Comics will be restructured into DC Entertainment, and current President and Publisher Paul Levitz will step down, returning to his former role as an editor and a writer, taking over the scripting of “Adventure Comics” from Geoff Johns.
Diane Nelson, who currently serves as President of the Warner Premiere direct-to-video division and also handles the “Harry Potter” franchise for Warner Bros., will take over as the new President. Both Levitz and Nelson have written public statements about the restructuring.
The gist of it is this: the new company will focus on lots of things that aren’t comics! Or as they put it, “building and sustaining franchises and prioritize DC properties as key titles and growth drivers across all of the Studio, including feature films, television, interactive entertainment, direct-to-consumer platforms and consumer products,” which then made the obligatory comment that the comics are still important. But let’s be honest: what’s valuable about DC is the same thing that was valuable about Marvel for Disney — the movies and merchandising of their franchises.
DC’s market share has lagged behind Marvel for years now, and it’s hard to imagine a more pressing case for change at DC than the news that Disney enormous media empire was acquiring the dominant company in the comics industry. Still, this change has likely been in the works for some time; the fact that Warner Bros. put all the DC movies on hold back in January was probably the first sign that they were putting more thought into the DC branch of their business after the enormous bags of money they earned from “The Dark Knight.”
One of the biggest problems for DC in terms of making movies had been that while Marvel had their own film division, Marvel Entertainment, DC didn’t — and their ability to champion their own films suffered for it. Fortunately, it seems Warner Bros has finally figured out that this isn’t the most efficient structure for creating blockbusters. Now, the new DC President will “report to Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in order to best capitalize on DC Entertainment’s theatrical development and production activities,” which seems like a pretty direct nod to creating a more streamlined movie-making process.
All in all, it seems like a tremendously positive step forward for DC, and one that is likely to have a very positive impact on their business and on the movies they already have in the pipeline. And much like the Marvel/Disney deal, my impression is that it will not impact the comics very much if at all, because the comics are a separate niche product, don’t make as much money, and the big corporations really don’t care.