Management of the valuable Warner Bros. Discovery franchise may have been messy, but demand for its movies and shows remains strong
DC Entertainment is looking to rethink its operating model, with DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran advancing “one creative vision,” as Safran recently put it. This means, among other things, that the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery unit will oversee the development of different types of content instead of having the development process spread along several subsidiaries.
It’s far too early to anticipate how the restructuring will affect demand for new titles from the DC franchise — that will take years — but we can look back at how the franchise’s shows and movies performed over the last year under the older, more fragmented structure. The fact that audiences retain strong underlying interest may highlight why getting DC right is so important for Warner Bros. Discovery.
According to Parrot Analytics‘ data, which takes into account consumer research, streaming, downloads and social media, among other engagement, “The Flash” was the most in-demand show from the DC Universe in 2022, with 36.8 times more demand than the average show over that year. It’s also one of two top DC shows available on Netflix, not HBO Max.
The ranking shows the strength of shows based on characters from the Teen Titans team, a sub-group of the DC Universe. “Titans,” “Teen Titans Go!” and “Teen Titans” appeared in second, third and fourth place respectively, making them the top DC shows available on HBO Max. Two of these shows are animated, which highlights the importance of animated shows to the DC franchise. Four out of 10 shows on the ranking are animations, with the other shows being “Young Justice” and “Harley Quinn.”
It’s also worth noting how decentralized DC content production has been. Of the top 10 shows of 2022, half were originally released on Cartoon Network or the CW, while the other half premiered on HBO Max.
“The Batman” was by far the most in-demand DC movie in 2022, with more than twice the demand for second-ranking “Wonder Woman 1984.” “The Batman” was one of DC’s main releases of the year, alongside “Black Adam.” The latter movie, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, ranked fourth.
“Wonder Woman 1984” was followed by “The Suicide Squad,” a movie that has been able to keep high levels of demand more than six years after its release. The 2016 movie had more demand in 2022 than even recent spinoff “Birds of Prey.”
Other DC movies have been able to keep audiences interested even years after their release. The oldest movie on that ranking, “Man of Steel,” still shows outstanding demand almost 10 years after its release.
Of the main movie franchises, DC has the second-highest average movie demand, behind only the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As of the last quarter of 2022, a movie from the MCU saw 16 times the demand for the average movie, while a movie from the DCU had around 9 times the average. In 2022, both franchises had slightly lower demand than in 2018. Besides the decline in demand, the DC Universe managed to surpass other franchises like “Star Wars” and Harry Potter by the end of 2022, largely due to an increase in demand that started at the beginning of 2022 following the release of “The Batman.”
Parrot Analytics is the industry leader in global audience demand measurement. The company measures global supply and demand for entertainment, capturing over 2 billion audiences expressing demand for content and talent in over 100 languages, across all platforms, in 200+ countries. Parrot Analytics' partners use this knowledge to help better understand global supply and demand across all platforms to value content and talent, drive better production, distribution, acquisition and marketing decisions, as well as increase D2C growth and retention. For more information, see www.parrotanalytics.com.