WB Reportedly Frustrated With Lack Of DC Projects From J.J. Abrams
Warner Bros. is reportedly unhappy that J.J. Abrams has not produced any DC Comics adaptations three years into Bad Robot's five-year contract.
Warner Bros. has reportedly become frustrated with J.J. Abrams's lack of projects based on DC Comics for HBO Max. J.J. Abrams is one of the most prominent writers, directors, and producers globally, thanks to his work on successful film franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible. Before his film work, Abrams was known for hit TV shows like Lost, Alias, and Felicity. It appeared the filmmaker had the magic touch, and every studio was looking to bring him on board to help start, relaunch, or assist in their franchise.
In 2019 Abrams and his production company Bad Robot signed a five-year deal with Warner Bros. to produce several properties, with the studio hoping he could help revitalize their DC brands. Abrams announced plans to develop properties based on Justice League Dark characters, including a series for the characters John Constantine and Madame Xanadu. He's also a producer on the upcoming Zatanna movie with Promising Young Woman filmmaker Emerald Fennell set to pen the script. He also signed on as producer of a new Superman movie with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates focused on a black Superman. However, three years into the contract, none of these projects have materialized, and with the contract set to expire in 2024, the studio appears to be concerned.
According to THR, sources say Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly frustrated that Abrams has laid claim to many DC characters but has yet to get anything on the air for them at HBO Max. The studio has reportedly seen scripts for Constantine and the pilot of Madame X, but there appear to be no planned production start dates. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is reportedly frustrated by the lack of output from Bad Robot, and Zaslav is putting all of the studio's overall deals, including Bad Robot's $250 million deal, under the microscope as he looks to trim $3 billion.
In the wake of the Warner Bros. merger with Discovery, the studio was looking at a major overhaul for its DC films and television series. The Wonder Twins movie for HBO Max was already canceled for being deemed too expensive, and popular series like Legends of the Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Naomi were canceled at the CW. It was reported that the studio was looking to revitalize the character of Superman in DCEU, but Warner Bros. gave no word on the status of the rebooted project from Abrams and Coates.
Unless Abrams can get his projects moving along soon, the deal will likely end in 2024. While the filmmaker probably will have no difficulty finding work with other studios, his departure could be bad news for these various Justice League Dark projects. Zatanna and Batgirl were announced together, but the latter film has already been filmed, with the movie now rumored to be eyeing a theatrical release. Meanwhile, Zatanna's screenwriter is busy directing Saltburn, which will begin filming in the summer of 2022. History appears to be repeating itself as when Warner Bros. was acquired by ATT, several DC Comics projects, including Deathstroke with Joe Manganiello, were canceled. It seems Warner Bros. Discovery could also potentially end some projects before they get off the ground and if they find the mystical side of the franchise less a priority without Abrams.