Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Batman Expanded Warner Bros.' DC Film Strategy In A Major Way

At this point, it's no secret that the DC Extended Universe (DC Comics' answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe) has had a hard time finding its footing. Just like the MCU, the DCEU is set in a shared universe that follows some of DC Comics' most iconic superheroes as they team up in various crossover and spin-off films. And yet, while the MCU has continued to flourish for more than a decade, the DCEU has consistently struggled to find the same kind of blockbuster success, both critically and commercially.

For an example of the DCEU's struggles, look no further than the fact that the latest DC Comics and Warner Brothers production, "The Batman," is actually set in a universe entirely separate from the DCEU. Despite the film's standalone nature (or perhaps because of it), "The Batman" has been incredibly successful thus far, pulling in an eyebrow-raising $128 million at the domestic box office during its opening weekend, a number that has already made it the second-highest-grossing movie of 2022 in the U.S. behind "Spider-Man: No Way Home" (via Box Office Mojo). The film has also been lauded by critics and audiences alike, and it seems as though this initial success may be an indication of how DC's film strategy will shift in the coming years. 

Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman believes that quality trumps interconnectivity

During a recent interview with Deadline, Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich explained why he thinks "The Batman" was so successful, and alluded to how that success might affect future DC film releases down the line. "The secret in the movie business is quality," Emmerich said. "The movies don't all have to have the same tone, or interlock with other DC movies, or have an easter egg that sets up another film. Quality is the most important factor for a studio."

It would seem that Emmerich was making a reference to the MCU and its heavy focus on interconnected storylines between its different films and TV series with his comments. Furthermore, they seem to imply that, going forward, future DC Comics' films from Warner Bros won't try so hard to replicate that feeling of a shared universe, and will instead focus on higher-quality standalone films. We saw that strategy at play with 2019's "Joker," which was a standalone movie (per CinemaBlend) that intrigued critics and brought in over $1 billion at the global box office. Joaquin Phoenix (who played the film's titular clown prince of crime) even received the Oscar for best actor in a leading role for his performance in the film.

The DCEU has several upcoming projects set to release in 2022, including the highly anticipated "The Flash," and the Dwayne Johnson-led "Black Adam." If they can replicate the quality we saw in "The Batman," there's a chance that Warner Bros' DC Comics movies might finally start to compete with the success of the MCU.