10 Things We Learnt From WarnerMedia’s Ann Sarnoff About Justice League

10 Things We Learnt From WarnerMedia’s Ann Sarnoff About Justice League

Talking DC At Warners

Currently Zack Snyder’s Justice League is engaging with audiences on HBO Max in the US and on Sky Movies and NOW TV in the UK. Here’s Warner Media’s CEO Ann Sarnoft offering a few clues about future plans for DC-related films and other ancillary product from our friends at Variety…


  1. Warner Bros. decided to release the Zack Snyder Justice League for very specific reasons: “We wanted to give Zack the opportunity to complete his vision in a four-hour movie, which is impossible to do in theaters. We’re happy that we have HBO Max to let the rope out as it were and allow the fans to see all four-hours of Zack’s vision.”
  2. Sarnoff sees her role at WarnerMedia as a very specific one: “We’ve got an incredible group of creators — television series creators, Max series creators, feature film creators — who are basically broadening the base of the talent that we work with on DC because we’re so excited about the potential to build out the DC multiverse. It’s one of the reasons why I was hired almost two years ago. The before-and-after was it was a very siloed organization with no connectivity between the businesses. DC was being developed, but in a kind of monolithic way in each division. My mantra coming in was to make it bigger and broader and we really want to surprise and delight the fans with more connective tissue across the various media and platforms.”
  3. The Justice League film got released because the company feels that it is important to hear what the fan community has to say, Sarnoff explained: “We’re always going to listen to our fans, but we are in service of the broadest fanbase and we owe them an integrated, holistic strategy. We are the shepherds of the franchise and hopefully when the fans see what we’ve got in store they’ll know that DC is in good hands across many different platforms with many different creators. We want different voices in the mix.”
  4. She also revealed that they weren’t interested in encouraging the more negative side of DC fandom: “We’re not tolerating any of that. That behavior is reprehensible no matter what franchise you’re talking about or what business you’re talking about. It’s completely unacceptable. I’m very disappointed in the fans that have chosen to go to that negative place with regard to DC, with regard to some of our executives. It’s just disappointing because we want this to be a safe place to be. We want DC to be a fandom that feels safe and inclusive.”
  5. People have now been clamouring for more films that follow Snyder’s take on the characters and she sees this as something positive: “I appreciate that they love Zack’s work and we are very thankful for his many contributions to DC. We’re just so happy that he could bring his cut of the “Justice League” to life because that wasn’t in the plan until about a year ago. With that comes the completion of his trilogy. We’re very happy we’ve done this, but we’re very excited about the plans we have for all the multi-dimensional DC characters that are being developed right now.”
  6. She sees diversity as an important part of their development process: “It’s super important to me and it’s in line with what we want to do. We want to branch out and let creators interpret parts of the universe in unique and special ways. Ta-Nehisi working on Superman is incredibly exciting, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with, and [director] Andy Muschietti on “The Flash” or Patty Jenkins. Matt Reeves just finished filming “The Batman” against the odds of COVID. We’re so excited to finish that movie and have people see it, because Matt’s take on Batman is different than other takes. Even familiar characters have lots of possibilities.”
  7. For her, having a long-term plan is essential:”My role is to pull people together towards a vision that can make the whole more than the sum of the parts. One of the key aspects of that is having a long-range plan. These movies and TV series can take two-plus years to make, so if you’re not planning out and bringing other people into the plan that further accentuates the silos. It’s having the plan and then it’s having the strategy where all of the various businesses work in harmony to create the plan.”
  8. Sarnoff also spoke about Ray Fisher’s accusations he has levelled at the company: “Our investigator, Judge Katherine Forrest, has issued statements specifically about [DC Films president] Walter Hamada, saying that there was no evidence of interference by Walter in the investigation. She said that the cuts made in the Joss Whedon version of “Justice League” were not racially motivated.”
  9. She also confirms that DC Films president Walter Hamada didn’t have anything to do with the original Justice League:”Walter had nothing to do with “Justice League.” He was not running DC Films in 2017 when “Justice League” was completed and released. He wasn’t put in charge of DC Films until the following year. About a year ago, Walter, [Warner Bros. Pictures Group head] Toby Emmerich, me, [former WarnerMedia chairman] Bob Greenblatt, [former HBO Max content chief] Kevin Reilly, and [HBO Max original programming head] Sarah Aubrey sat around the table with Zack and greenlit the Snyder cut. That cut includes Ray Fisher’s entire story as Cyborg, which is something that he had been disappointed had been cut from the Justice League movie three years ago.”
  10. She also admitted that DC’s Jim Lee was still at the heart of the company: “The connective tissue in the middle is Jim Lee, who oversees DC Comics. Jim lives and breathes the canon of DC and he works with all of the divisions to make sure the storylines are true to the canon. He helps them come up with ideas for new storylines. Jim is very much in the middle of everything. But the group together helps spur on new ideas.”


Read the whole chat here


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