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Warner Bros. Chairman Says DC Films Are Focusing Less on Shared Universe Due to Aquaman

January 20, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Aquaman Arthur Mera

Warner Bros. Chairman Toby Emmerich says that with Aquaman’s success, the studio is focusing less on DC’s shared universe. Emmerich spoke with THR about the studio’s year and, when asked about Aquaman’s box office success, said that the film is an example of how they’re no longer beholden to copying what Marvel is doing.

“We all feel like we’ve turned a corner now,” Emmerich said of the DCEU. “We’re playing by the DC playbook, which is very different than the Marvel playbook. We are far less focused on a shared universe. We take it one movie at a time. Each movie is its own equation and own creative entity. If you had to say one thing about us, it’s that it always has to be about the directors.”

None of this means that the films are going to stop being connected, of course. Aquaman clearly features the same Arther and Mera from Justice League for example, which puts them in the same universe as the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984. The implication seems to be more that the films will not try to consciously make sure that connections are built to lead one franchise into another and then into another, the way the MCU has done. Instead, each film will be its own thing which may (such as Shazam!) or may not (Joker) connect to the already-existing DCEU.

Aquaman has grossed $304.3 million domestically and $1.063 billion worldwide thus far, making it the sixth highest-grossing DC film in the US and second-highest worldwide, behind only The Dark Knight Rises’ $1.085 billion. It will almost certainly beat DKR to hit the #1 spot worldwide by the time it’s done.

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Aquaman, Jeremy Thomas