Why Warner Bros.’ Big Change Won’t Disrupt the DC Universe

With “Aquaman” and the upcoming “Shazam,” Warner Bros.’ superhero films have some momentum

Last Updated: March 18, 2019 @ 6:03 PM

The exit of Warner Bros. CEO and chairman Kevin Tsujihara came just as the studio’s DC films are gaining momentum with the success of “Aquaman” and high hopes for “Shazam.” But the departure isn’t likely to stop the progress.

Tsujihara wasn’t actively involved in the day to day management of the DC brand, according to three sources familiar with the situation. So his exit won’t be too disruptive.

“They will not be affected by his departure,” said one insider with knowledge of the situation.

Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros.’ motion picture group, already had the power to greenlight films, and will keep it. Walter Hamada, the president of the DC Films production unit who oversees the development of the DC Films properties, reports directly to Emmerich.

Meanwhile, Richard Brener oversees projects like “Shazam” and the upcoming “Black Adam” as the president and chief creative officer of Warner Bros.’ New Line unit.

John Stankey said in a memo to employees that an “interim leadership structure” would be announced on Tuesday. The interim leadership team will most likely include Emmerich.

Tsujihara’s tenure included films like the successful “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Wonder Woman,” as well the disappointing “Justice League.” It’s biggest success, last year’s “Aquaman,” has earned $1.1 billion worldwide.

Tsujihara, who has worked for two decades at the studio and served as chairman for the last six years, stepped down Monday, ten days after The Hollywood Reporter published texts indicating that actress Charlotte Kirk sought his help landing acting jobs while they were in a sexual relationship. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Tsujuhara said in a memo to staff Monday that his leadership could become a “distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success.”

“The hard work of everyone within our organization is truly admirable, and I won’t let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing,” he said.