With a box office total of more than $1 billion, Aquaman continues to represent a big win for Warner Brothers. However, Ben Affleck’s Batman exit and the mere existence of Todd Phillips’ Joker spinoff prove that the DC Extended Universe remains in a state of flux. But according to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, that’s not such a bad thing. During an interview with the L.A. Times (via Newsarama), Tsujihara explained that the studio plans on moving away from the shared universe model in favor of standalone films.
“The upcoming slate, with Shazam, Joker, Wonder Woman 1984, and Birds of Prey feels like we’re on the right track. We have the right people in the right jobs working on it,” said Tsujihara. “The universe isn’t as connected as we thought it was going to be five years ago. You’re seeing much more focus on individual experiences around individual characters. That’s not to say we won’t at some point come back to that notion of a more connected universe. But it feels like that’s the right strategy for us right now.”
Tsujihara famously came under fire in 2016 for his studio’s handling of superhero properties. Shortly after Suicide Squad hit theaters, an alleged former WB staffer penned an open letter to the CEO lambasting him for the botched releases of their DC films. Of course, this was before Wonder Woman and Aquaman signaled a potential change in the company’s fortunes.
“What Patty Jenkins did on Wonder Woman illustrated to us what you could do with these characters who are not Batman and Superman,” continued Tsujihara. “Obviously, we want to get those two in the right place, and we want strong movies around Batman and Superman. But Aquaman is a perfect example of what we can do. They’re each unique and the tone’s different in each movie.”
What do you make of Warner Bros.’ decision to focus on its individual characters rather than world building? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!