Warner Bros CEO says studio has underused Harry Potter, DC, Lord Of The Rings

Warner Bros Discovery
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David Zaslav states that Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings and even DC superheroes haven’t been used enough. 


Warner Bros CEO David Zaslav has been talking about the future of the studio at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology Conference, once again outlining his vision for the future of the company. Unsurprisingly, it seems to be laser-focused on the studio’s most recognisable properties including Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings and DC superheroes.

Zaslav argues that these properties have been ‘underused’ and are the future to leveraging huge profits for the company. Obviously, he’s choosing to skim over the fact that we’ve had 15 DCEU superhero films in the last 10 years, not to mention three Fantastic Beasts films (situated firmly in the Harry Potter universe) in the last seven.

Here’s Zaslav’s thoughts:

“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. We think there’s a lot of shareholder value in attaching a 10-year DC — a real plan around DC, bringing Harry Potter back to HBO for 10 consecutive years, doing multiple movies of Lord Of The Rings.”

Never trust people who call movies ‘content’. Small rule of thumb, there.

We can’t help but wonder if Zaslav is not reading the room well here. There’s a reason the 007 franchise has been successful for decades. EON Productions ‘rests’ it by only working on one film at a time and largely refusing to explore other avenues such as TV shows or spin-offs. Overexposing your IP is a guaranteed way to slowly kill it, a lesson Disney is slowly and painfully learning.

Zaslav also added that if you consider the performance of Warner Bros. over the last 20 years without accounting for those properties, “it’s relatively flat.” To him, that seems to indicate that non-franchise movies have no value in the new look Warner Bros Discovery but once again we’re not sure this is the right conclusion to draw.

If non-IP films aren’t making money, consider the reasons why audiences aren’t drawn to cinemas to watch them – perhaps because they’ve been trained to feast largely on a diet of franchise movies for the last two decades? Perhaps because you’ve started putting them straight onto your streaming platform at the same time as they debut theatrically? Like we said: Sigh.

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