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Warner Bros. Discovery to Send DC Characters to Amazon as New Streaming Strategy Begins to Emerge

David Satin

Warner Bros. Discovery’s plans for its DC Comics properties are beginning to take shape. After the company put director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran in charge of developing the DC cinematic universe (also called the DCEU), many fans wondered what the future of the franchise would be on WBD’s streaming service HBO Max, especially after the company mothballed the nearly-finished “Batgirl” movie that was intended for the platform.

Now, the future of DC is becoming a little clearer. A report from Deadline indicates that WBD is close to a deal that would allow Amazon to develop animated DC series that will go to its streaming service Prime Video. The news signifies that while WBD is still looking to keep DC content coming, it is also willing to become an arms dealer in the name of boosting revenue.

“With animation we used to be about staying in-house but now we are doing it on different platforms,” Warner Bros. Television Group chairman Channing Dungey said at the Content London Conference this week. “HBO Max is the first stop but we are in the process of closing a big deal with Amazon featuring DC branded content in animation.”

The announcement came on the heels of news this week that Gunn intends for the DC universe’s content to all be interconnected. According to Variety, Gunn confirmed in a Twitter Q&A that he intends for much of the DC film and TV content to take place in the same universe. He also stated that there would continue to be a few DC projects that existed outside that universe, such as “Harley Quinn,” the animated show that currently streams on HBO Max.

It’s less clear whether or not the new animated shows in the early planning stages at Amazon will fit into that connected universe. If WBD CEO David Zaslav has his way in the matter, the answer could get even more complicated. Zaslav insisted earlier in November that “there’s not going to be four Batmans” in reference to the company’s plans for its DC movies and shows.

That could mean that the Amazon animated shows will share the same universe as other DC properties that stay on HBO Max and go to the big screen, in order to keep from duplicating characters as Zaslav specifically indicated he didn’t want to do. On the other hand, it could mean that the potential Amazon series will stand alone as their own separate entity, and the larger DC universe that WBD develops will move forward as if they don’t exist.

The sale of DC-branded content to a company with its own streaming platform could be a major indicator of the direction WBD intends to head. Zaslav has insisted that profit generation should be the company’s main focus going forward, not simply pumping more and more expensive content onto its streaming services, which means that it may license out even more intellectual property to other companies in the future if it feels the money is right.

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