Let Disney (NYSE: DIS) have Spider-Man … Warner Bros. wants to make sure that it’s generating the most revenue possible from icons like Batman and Green Lantern. So, it has restructured DC Comics and launched DC Entertainment, a new standalone unit that will focus on creating TV shows, movies, video games — and of course, comic books — based on brands from the DC universe.
Warner vet Diane Nelson will serve as president of DC Entertainment, taking the reins from Paul Levitz, who’d been serving as president and publisher of DC Comics since 2002. Levitz will serve as contributing editor and consultant at DC Entertainment; he’ll still write — but will also help manage the writing team, rights negotations and other business issues during the transition.
Nelson most recently served as president of Warner Premiere, the studio’s direct-to-DVD division; the company plans to announce her successor shortly. She’s also been managing the Harry Potter franchise since 2000, and will continue to do so in her new role. Her experience with the multi-platform Potter business, including managing the rights negotiations with author JK Rowling, makes her an ideal pick to head up DC Entertainment.
Warner currently has nearly a dozen DC-branded properties in development or production, including the The Green Lantern, a film slated for release in 2011; Human Target, a series slated for a mid-season debut on Fox; as well as the newly-launched Batman: Arkham Asylum game. Nelson’s job will be to make sure that there’s synergy among all the properties, so that Warner is deriving the most revenue possible from across the disparate media channels.
The studio has shown its willingness to “break the silos” between its music, movies and online business units with recent efforts like the One Eskimo project; the launch of this new DC Entertainment division is akin to a cross-platform marketing experiment on a massive scale.
Will having all the DC-branded projects spearheaded (at least at the start) by a single unit foster a steady stream of Harry Potter-like successes? That seems to be Warner’s thinking. Nikki Finke has more details on the climate at Warner leading up to the launch — as well as her take on why the news has nothing to do with Disney’s Marvel (NYSE: MVL) buyout, here. Release.