David Zaslav Thinks DC, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings are “Underused” Franchises

Warner Bros. Discovery has been a media conglomerate since 2022, but the company has already made waves throughout the entertainment industry. As new comments from Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav reveal, they would like to take the same approach to some of the company’s biggest franchises. At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology Conference (via The Wrap), Zaslav argued that the company is underutilizing franchises such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and the DC Universe, especially following the smash success of Barbie earlier this year.

“One of the other real strengths of Warner Bros. is we talk about the great IP that Warner Bros. owns,” Zaslav explained. “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,” Zaslav added.

Will There Be New Live-Action Lord of the Rings Movies?

In addition to the upcoming animated film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, Warner Bros. has teased plans to work on new live-action films with New Line Cinema and Embracer Group, which currently owns the franchise’s rights.

“David made a promise, quote unquote, very early on to revitalize some of that iconic, tentpole IP and we’re starting to make progress,” Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels explained earlier this year. “It’s exciting to see how people are coming in and out and how the creative community is embracing this opportunity to work with us. That’s going to bear fruit, over time.”

What Is On the DC Universe Slate?

As DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran revealed earlier this year, the initial DC Studios slate for “Gods and Monsters” will include movies for Superman: Legacy, The Brave and the Bold, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, Swamp Thing, and The Authority. It will include the HBO Max television shows Waller, Booster Gold, Lanterns, Paradise Lost, and an animated Creature Commandos series.

“If you look at the MCU, there are very few traditional superheroes,” Gunn previously said of the DCU’s approach. “There was never a guy with a secret identity until Spider-Man in the MCU. Their Cap was turned into a soldier even though he wears a mask. Iron Man outed himself at the end of the first Iron Man because they don’t want to deal with the whole secret identity stuff. But there is a bit more of a fantasy element to DCU, because there are these larger-than-life superheroes and for me, there’s Superman and Clark Kent. They’re two different characters, and you have to find a way to deal with them that’s as grounded as possible within this world of DC. One of the things that I love about DC, that excites me about DC, is that in a way it’s another alternate history. It is Gotham City and Metropolis and Star City and Bludhaven, and all these different places in this other reality, and it makes it a little bit like Westeros in some ways. I love it in that way. I love that we get to create true worldbuilding in DC, it isn’t just ‘we’re throwing some superheroes on Earth.’ I think right now, that’s one of the key differences.”

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